Should You Use a 360 Degree Virtual Tour Software?
When most real estate agents think of the term virtual tour, they think of those 360 degree images that let you pan around the room (as opposed to single property websites, which may or may not have a 360 degree virtual tour in addition to photos). When these first came out they were incredibly popular, but they’re still only used by a relatively small percentage of real estate agents. At first glance it makes perfect sense to use 360 degree virtual tours, but it’s not necessarily that clear.
More immersive than photos. Being able to move and pan the camera online can help many potential buyers get a better sense of the space than through photos alone. This is by far the biggest (and most obvious) advantage of using 360 virtual realty tours.
More credibility with your seller. Let’s face it: sometimes certain marketing is done more to please the seller than to actually sell the house. 360 degree virtual tours make a great impression on sellers.
Potentially more qualified showings. While not all buyers will look at the virtual tour before scheduling a showing, those that do will likely be more qualified and serious about the home. They’ve had a chance to examine the space online, and already have a rough sense of whether the layout and space will work for them.
Cost. With all marketing choices, you need to balance the cost versus the benefit (in this case, selling the home/ pleasing your seller/ generating more buyer clients). While not prohibitively expensive, photography costs for a 360 degree virtual tour can run anywhere from $40-$100 or more.
Less control than photos. Letting potential clients pan and zoom around the house is certainly more immersive than photos, but it can also be a double edged sword. Even the best photo stitching programs still distort the picture somewhat, and if it’s a funky layout buyers might get the wrong impression. As they say with online dating, “you’re only as good as your worst picture”. Again, this is a rare occurrence, but something to keep in mind if you have a difficult or odd space.
Overall, I’d recommend adding 360 degree virtual tours to your higher end listings, or if it’s hard to get a sense of the space from still photos alone. As with all marketing, though, it’s important to consider them fully and make sure they fit in to your marketing plan and “earn their keep” on your carefully chosen list of marketing expenditures.