Over the last 5 years, virtual tours have become more and more common but whether or not is you should pay to have one created when trying to sell or rent your home is something not well understood.
On the surface it seems like a good idea; if you are trying to sell or rent your home, providing clients with a virtual tour will weed out the tire kickers and slim down actual viewings to only really interested parties.
Traditionally I’ve had two problems with 360 tours; up until very recently, the technology just wasn’t there to accurately represent the interior space. Agents and property managers who were early adopters found that the finished product did not represent at all on screen what is was like to actually be in the property.
However this problem has fixed itself with the increase in camera and rendering technology that can reasonably represent the space.
Which brings me to the second point; while the technology has increased, it still brings about a problem where in the effort to slim down viewings to only interested parties, I’ve found that the 360 video actually stops inquiries coming in at all (or at least to a very low level).
No matter how well the technology gets, nothing is as accurate as standing in a property. You smell the materials, see the actual natural light at different times of the day, hear the outside noise or lack thereof.
While I look like I’m being negative on 360 tours, I’m not. I’m saying it isn’t a blanket technology to be used in any situation.
For example, if you purchased a tenanted property you most likely purchased the unit sight unseen. When the current tenant leaves and you are searching for a new tenant, investing in a 360 virtual tour is a good idea because when you wish to sell your investment property, it most likely will be tenanted and having that tour will help make buyers more confident in their purchase.
Another situation where virtual tours work very well are for properties like hotels or serviced / monthly apartments where the tenant reserves the space without actually being able to view the property.
You could have a virtual tour created and not published anywhere, only to be used for prospective tenants or buyers that are overseas. In this way your agent can send along a link once they receive an inquiry like this to further whet the appetite of the overseas party.
Virtual tours are like any other tool; they have serve a specific purpose. Just like you wouldn’t use a hammer only to build a house, marketing tools are just as differentiated. It is important you choose an agent that not only knows their documentation well but is also knowledgeable about what tools to use for which situation.
For those wishing to discuss the topic further, we are only an email away!
See the virtual tour in it’s intended environment by clicking here.
Editor’s Note: Adam German is Vice President of Business Development at Housing Japan and a well-known figure in both the marketing and sales side of Tokyo real estate. Originally from Canada, Adam has been behind some of the most successful international residential property services in Tokyo.