Are Virtual Home Viewings The Way Forward?


The global health situation forced real estate firms into a dramatically different and digitized world – one in which virtual visits were no longer a fancy feature on real estate websites, and instead, a key tool for survival during the global economic recession. Real estate listings providing tours obtain 87% more views than those without them, and 67% of people surveyed by Google said they wished to virtually tour properties they were potentially interested in. The statistics indicate that far from being a temporary phenomenon, virtual tours are here to stay. Below you will find a few reasons why this technology could help you achieve more success as a realtor or vendor.


Virtual Tours And SEO

Google’s algorithms are partial to interactive content. Therefore, by simply including a virtual tour in your online listings, you can ensure that they appear higher on Google’s Search results list. To add to this effect, you should use additional SEO tools – including the use of keywords in the title, and description of specific tours. You can also use backlink marketing to ensure that hyperlinks on external sites lead back to your site, enticing viewers to ‘step into’ a home and view all the details than can seal a real estate deal. Virtual tours can help improve your SEO via your thumbnails: research by marketing firm LCP shows that Google favors virtual images over flat digital photography in thumbnails by a rate of 2:1.


Keeping Audiences On Your Site

Virtual tours of available properties can keep your audience on your website between five and 10 times longer, providing you with a bounce rate as low as around 8.5%. The reasons, as found in research carried out by R Kabrovksi, include an authentic preference for media that engages. Digital marketing expert James McQuivey, meanwhile, estimates that just 60 seconds of video content is equivalent to 1.8 million words in terms of ability to communicate. Research has also shown that around four times as many people prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it. As VR becomes more common, says Kabrovski, audiences will increasingly demand immersion, and will be drawn to companies offering this and other cutting-edge technology.


Virtual Viewings: Beyond The Website 

Real estate firms wishing to save on open houses (or those in areas in which large public gatherings are as yet not permitted) can rely on specialist virtual events software that allows them to create a virtual event. During this event, guests can visit homes, interact with each other, view pre-recorded videos of a home or the construction process, and enjoy on-demand virtual tours of the home being ‘shown’. Realtors can also host live viewings of a home, streaming the tour live to a select group of clients, colleagues, collaborators, and members of the press. Virtual platforms also enable realtors to engage in Q&As (either private or group sessions), to send audiences polls, and to track registrations and engagement post-event.


Tips For Creating A Dynamic Virtual Tour Site

There are specific features you should aim to include on your site if you will be offering audiences virtual tours of listed homes. These include complete 3F exploration which the viewer can easily control. It should be easy, for instance, for viewers to ‘jump’ directly from the kitchen to the garden without having to pass through areas they may wish to leave until later. Ideally, audiences should have various viewing options – including ‘doll house’ and ‘floor plan’ modes so they can directly jump to the rooms they wish to look at. Other vital features include good load speed, clear lighting, and high image resolution; compatibility with mobile phones; and intuitive control.


Virtual reality is here to stay in the real estate world, with research showing that this technology engages customers more and improves a firm’s SEO. Virtual tours enable buyers to ‘let their fingers do the walking’ so they can narrow down their lists before requesting a physical tour. Virtual reality is currently being used successfully for online events and exhibitions as well, enabling real estate firms to engage with customers and colleagues or take live tours together.


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