Attracting Attention With Real Estate Virtual Tours

by : Cole Stevens

Online virtual tours are the wave of the future for real estate advertising. They allow prospective buyers to view a home 24 hours a day, attract attention to your listings, and even appeal to prospective clients and home sellers looking for a real estate agent willing to go the extra mile.

So, how do you create a virtual tour, and what goes into making a good one? For the answers to these questions and more, keep reading.

Capturing and Creating a Virtual Tour

In the past, real estate agents who wanted to create virtual tours had to go through expensive graphic design and video editing firms. Today, there are a number of inexpensive software programs and even free online services that will create the virtual tour for you if you provide the photos.

To capture the photos, you'll need a digital camera and a tripod. By capturing each shot and rotating the camera approximately 15 to 20 degrees between each shot, you'll have enough photos to create an accurate and compelling virtual tour.

Then, you can use any of the following services or products to stitch together your tour:

FlyInside.Com ()

Totally free and easy to use, this simple website allows you to create a virtual tour using their basic online wizard. You can add your own branding for a small, additional fee.

TourWeaver ()

This software is expensive ($200 to $700, depending on the edition), but it creates fantastic virtual tours that also allow you to create clickable hot spots right on the tour. So, for example, you can add roll-over pop-up windows to the kitchen to tell prospective buyers about the new gas hood range or a hot spot in the bathroom to highlight the spa shower.

MapWing.Com ()

MapWing allows you to create free, basic virtual tours which can then be shared on the web. You can upgrade for a more customizable, branded look.

Tips For Shooting a Virtual Tour

Try to get at least two or three hours in the home with no other activities for your photo session. You want your shots to look great and you'll need time and privacy to get it that way.

When shooting the outside the house, remove all the cars from the driveway, shovel or sweep the walkways, remove the garbage cans, and tidy up the garden. Also, try to shoot the home on a sunny day. The appearance on the shots should be as attractive as possible.

When shooting the inside, try to get as much natural light into the home as you can, and turn on all the interior lights. Then, turn off all the TVs, appliances, and ceiling fans. Next, declutter the property by clearing countertops, making the beds, tucking away clutter and straightening any errant items.

Once you're ready to shoot, focus on steady shots that are most flattering but also clearly visible, and take each shot four or five times to ensure a good shot.

Take your time to ensure your shots are clear and attractive. High quality virtual tours are a great selling tool.