Disruptive innovation infiltrates all industries through technology. The real estate market resisted for some time, but wisdom prevailed. Realtors, brokerages, and entrepreneurs now take advantage of the newest technology to gain an advantage in an otherwise competitive and nearly indistinguishable field. In special cases, some have even innovated technology. Today, the newest trend has blossomed: real estate virtual tour.
As globalization showcases its impact, foreign buyers are becoming increasingly influential in the real estate industry. Chinese buyers have led the Vancouver markets to skyrocket. Prosperity litters the trail behind the movement of these wealthy foreign investors. Even more prospective clients are scouting homes to establish as permanent homes, the foundation upon which families and legacies are built.
However, thousands of listings are posted every single day, while time is becoming more valuable to every individual. It is nearly impossible to view every potential house, to wade through the white noise of the market, and to make every appointment at times convenient for the buyer, the seller, and the realtor. This evokes the question: does a realtor need to be present at a house showing?
As it turns out, the realtor is immensely valuable to the process of real estate transactions, despite prevailing beliefs that the agent can be skipped. With that said, a realtor is not as crucial at a house showing than people historically believed either.
Real estate virtual tours have become a fitting and effective improvement upon old-fashioned show-and-tell. Hundreds of prospective buyers can view the same house, for as long as they want, however they want, whenever and wherever they want. In some of the following cases, real estate virtual tours allow clients to view every inch of a property – all before it is even built.
Social media may be the present of the industry, but real estate virtual tours are the future. Below are eleven of the most innovative real estate virtual tour companies. Next time you sell a house, remember them – they can be the difference between mediocrity and over-asking.
Realtors have stressed the importance of staging for years, with tremendous results proving their advice correct. However, short-sighted clients are reluctant at times to spend the additional investment, often in the thousands of dollars, for a sale. Openhouse has developed a brilliant solution to simplify the argument for realtors: virtual staging.
The process is convenient. A photo of the rooms needed to be staged is taken by the realtor and sent to Openhouse, which has a professional team to digitally render the image. Staging requests are then given through a template on the mobile application, and within two days, the photo will be filled with the appropriate furniture in the right places.
With an endless variety of staging options, prospective buyers can visualize the listing as their future home. Openhouse combines the best of real estate virtual tours with the realization of a client’s imagination, and there is no stronger method of persuasion than seeing your dream home unfold before you.
- Real Tour Vision (RTV)
When a realtor chooses to develop a virtual tour for a listing, what is the ultimate goal? Undoubtedly, it is to reach more prospective buyers and show the insides of the house than humanly possible if the realtor were to host open houses and book viewing appointments. With Michigan-based Real Tour Vision, the house tours can be shared with ease through social media, which is the best way to generate buzz around a sale.
When the tour begins, soothing music accompanies the experience while the buyer navigates the property. Panorama and play mode are two of the several ways the viewer can virtually interact with the house, and personalize the tour experience. With RTV, a couple from North Carolina can walk through the halls of the home just as easily as a family from Michigan.
While RTV does not offer ground-breaking technology or compete at the forefront of the ever-developing industry, the company is perfect for realtors specializing in properties that are more affordable for the public. Virtual reality may evoke images of an obscene amount of money being burned, but Real Tour Vision proves that even the smallest of homes can benefit from a virtual tour.
Up until two years ago, the use of drone technology to produce a bird’s-eye view of properties was nearly unheard of. In the time it takes for a new edition of the Olympics to be hosted, drones have taken off, figuratively and literally. Hailing from The Six, Imaginahome is one of the first companies to be fully licensed for the use of drones in aerial photography. Recognizing the tremendous potential of the real estate industry to use a new perspective of touring, Imaginahome catered to “high-end realty professionals” with resounding success.
As a graphic design firm that evolved with the times, Imaginahome could not have imagined that drone services would be their ace in the hole back in 2002, when it was founded. Since the incorporation of the new technology, few competitors in the Greater Toronto Area have been able to keep up with the blistering pace of the company.
In addition, Imaginahome also develops 3D immersive tours that are stunningly beautiful. The virtual tour allows potential buyers to view the entirety of the house on their computer screen with a unique dollhouse feature. Once viewers have analyzed the house as a whole, which, as we all know, buyers are notorious for doing so, they can explore the house with step-in accessibility.
For more luxurious listings, Imaginahome can make a significant difference on the offer sheet values, making it worthwhile to spend the initial investment to reap the benefits on commission.
As aforementioned, some realtors will always be skeptical of showing a house without their personal presence as a salesperson. Imagemaker360 solves that problem. Offering its service to both the United States and Canada, the company offers a branded virtual tour experience. This allows realtors to use personal branding, images, and colour schemes to customize the tour, making each listing special to the home.
Realtors can also choose to write a script, with the help of Imagemaker360’s staff, that is narrated by a professional narrator. The audio accompanies the tour as the viewer navigates through the property. With a strong sales pitch from a smooth voice, Imagemaker360 increases the probability of an offer sheet being submitted right away.
To put the cherry on top, the company also provides tour traffic reports for each listing. Realtors can analyze the performance of a virtual tour, and improve for future listings, becoming more proficient each time. An experienced realtor with Imagemaker360 increases his or her value to a client tenfold.
From one of the fastest-growing real estate markets in Ontario, Markham-based Houssmax offers interactive virtual tours with a complement of features to streamline the viewing process. Much like Imagemaker360, Houssmax also offers agent narration. The deviation from a professional narrator may be more advantageous in some cases, as a warm and imperfect voice could make the tour appear more real.
Beyond that, Houssmax also embeds features such as property information, open house schedule, nearby information, bird’s-eye view, street view, and feature sheet, ensuring that viewers do not need to be redirected elsewhere to obtain all the pertinent details. The tour experience with Houssmax is nearly the equivalent of exploring a property with Google Maps, except much more fine-tuned and in-depth, but just as knowledgeable.
When viewers can find all the information in one place, and study the data while a professional tour unfolds before their eyes, chances are low that they will be able to resist making an offer.
With a sense of homogeneity to the real estate virtual tour industry as of late, as competitors try to level the playing field by offering similar features, innovation becomes one of the greatest competitive advantages. Michigan-based BlueLaVaMedia accomplishes just that, by offering full motion video introductions to virtual tours. These interactive introductions allow the tours to be personalized, and removes some of the alienation that clients may feel without having a realtor to present the tour.
In addition to taking the next step in tour introductions, BlueLaVaMedia is also one of the first companies to use fusion exposure engine to distribute to portal sites for high levels of exposure. This, much like PropertySpark’s revolutionary digital platform, allows the content to reach more people than ever before.
As a bonus for working with the company, BlueLaVaMedia also develops QR code printable flyers, launching listings well into the forefront of the industry. With a complement of unique features, BlueLaVaMedia is undoubtedly one of the most innovative real estate virtual tour companies in North America, let alone Michigan.
Aside from an excellent company name, Planitar offers its virtual tour in the form of iGuide. Yes, another product that begins with “i” has succeeded. The virtual tour has an autoplay feature to display the property on its own, allowing viewers to sit back and embrace the comfort of the home.
The iGuide also boasts a unique measure mode, in which the viewer can click anywhere on the virtual tour, and click a second time to measure the distance between the two clicks in real space. For example, if prospective buyers wanted to determine the size of a flat-screen TV to place above the fireplace, they can click from one end of the fireplace to another, and a measurement will be given. Truthfully, not even a real tour allows buyers to start planning the interior design of the house without getting judgmental looks from others!
The measure mode is truly one-of-a-kind, offering the sort of benefit that sets Planitar apart from its competitors, and the type of advantage for which realtors are in constant search. Well, look no further than Planitar!
- 3D Scan Experts
Experiencing virtual tours on a computer screen is one thing, but when a company can place the prospective clients into the virtual property, realtors obtain a brand new advantage. Virtual reality is undoubtedly the leading edge of technology, and 3D Scan Experts is one of the companies to bring it to the real estate industry.
Based in Alberta, 3D Scan Experts offers tours in virtual reality, through the use of a Google Cardboard Viewer. The device allows prospective clients to virtually walk through the property, forming an unforgettable first impression of the home. The Google Cardboard Viewer is not an expensive piece of equipment, making it a lot more accessible to the general public than the concept of “virtual reality” would imply.
The first of several in this list that employ virtual reality, 3D Scan Experts is perhaps the most ideal resource for realtors who would like to capitalize on the cutting edge technology for smaller listings. The effect will undoubtedly be greater client satisfaction and a heavier commission cheque.
- ADhoc Studio
Another real estate virtual tour company from the city of Markham, Ontario, ADhoc Studio is perfect for builders and high-end realtors. The company accepts unique listing jobs, creating interactive touch screen displays and 3D rendering for homes that are not yet built or are currently under construction.
The proactivity nature of the creation allows prospective clients to envision the property before its finish. ADhoc Studio can also build various options for a certain room for the client to compare. By using the services of ADhoc Studio, a builder can save a lot of money from building model homes. Instead of simply having floor plans with various interchangeable options, buyers can now be enticed by virtual reality.
Without question, ADhoc Studio is not suitable for every listing. However, for the crucial sales of off-plan, the investment in ADhoc Studio’s services is miniscule compared to the benefits of multi-stage development projects.
- Start VR
Few real estate companies are closer to the spearhead of innovation than Start VR. As its name suggests, the company is the embodiment of virtual reality in the real estate industry, using both Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard Viewer to display virtual reality tours. Prospective clients of the company’s listings can visit the offices to use the equipment, and get a feel for some of the most luxurious properties the firm has to offer.
In addition, Start VR is the first company in the world to use Nokia OZO, a new stereoscopic virtual reality camera that captures both video and audio all at once, with seamless stitching due to the 360-degree nature of the camera. The result is a beautiful virtual tour without the hours of post-production.
For the best experience in real estate virtual reality that the industry features, Start VR is definitely the firm to visit. With its innovative technological equipment and years of experience with virtual reality, few, if any, leave disappointed after collaborating with the company.
At last, the coveted top spot of the list, and the honour is awarded to New York City-based Floored. The company was featured in the Wall Street Journal for its innovative software that incorporates virtual reality for commercial office space rentals. Among its proprietary 3D software are Protofit and Luma.
Protofit is described by the company as “a breakthrough marketing and leasing tool for office space.” The software allows the developer to create layouts with precise measurements for undeveloped commercial office spaces, and convey the plans to prospective clients through an immersive tour featuring “accurate panoramic views from every floor.”
Luma boasts an unprecedented virtual experience with real estate buildings before they are built. With a “video game-like” method of exploring the property, prospective clients can gain an understanding for the interactivity and layout of the office building. Imagine all of the benefits that comes with an upgrade of office space, but without any of the hassle of figuring out employee placement and interior design associated with the post-rent process.
For real estate companies specializing in commercial space, Floored is a clear winner for superior performance. Complement the modernistic style of metropolitan office buildings with the advanced technology of Floored, and leave your clients floored today!
With the increased profitability of the real estate industry due to the influx of domestic and foreign investment, the field is becoming more and more competitive each day. To stay ahead of the competition, realtors and companies must turn to innovation, and lead the creative destruction to avoid being left behind.
For real estate professionals, this has led to the popularization of real estate virtual tours, and those who do not adapt to the changes of the industry will be at a severe disadvantage. Try working with one of the companies on our list, and realize that the benefits will almost always outweigh the costs.
Then, let us know about your experiences in the comments, and lead the newest wave of change!