It’s finally occurred– prospective home buyers everywhere are choosing real estate virtual tour inspections (aka: 360° virtual tours) (VT) of a home before visiting it in person. The post-pandemic new normal for real estate marketing was disclosed in a Forbes magazine story in late January 2021. It stated that although virtual property tours weren’t uncommon before the epidemic; the majority of people still preferred to visit a property in person.
Today, that thinking has evolved, with a growing number of home buyers opting for virtual property tours before visiting a house in person.
In an August 2020 interview with CNBC, Zillow CEO Rich Barton hinted at a “tech-tonic change” five months before the Forbes report.
Virtual inspections undoubtedly kept the property market alive during the pandemic with sellers embracing the use of 3D tours to attract interested buyers. Interest in virtual and 3d tour technology has risen to the point that 75% of house buyers now use the internet when searching to buy a house. They frequently look at personal real estate agency websites and/or large real estate portals like Domain and REA.
The New Reality Is a Virtual Reality
It is a virtual reality that has become the new reality in real estate marketing. The rising popularity of real estate virtual tour inspections has exceeded physical ‘open home inspections’ in real estate marketing. Virtually nobody saw this coming– the idea of property buyers preferring virtual tours of properties to real-world tours would have been laughed at a few years ago.
Are In-Person Open Homes Now Obsolete?
Although real estate virtual tour inspections are leading the way, the traditional real life open home inspection is still useful when buying and selling real estate. There are still plenty of people wanting to attend an open house in person. Many potential home buyers like to visit multiple properties in an area at once. The other advantage to attending an open home is being able to speak to a real estate agent about any questions they might have about the property or about buying a house in general.
How & Why Did Real Estate Virtual Tour Inspections Skyrocket? (USA)
Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has regularly been in the news as its value skyrocketed very quickly. There has been a similar trend with 3D house tours in the real estate market. It’s fascinating to look back at how VTs have evolved over the past three years.
Spanning 2018 – 2019, virtual tours (also known as virtual walkthroughs, 3d house tours, etc) became popular, maintaining and increasing traction within the real estate industry. Virtual-tour software creators soon realised the potential scope of real estate virtual tour marketing within the digital age.
According to PropertySpark, a reknown social media for real estate company in the US– social media is the present, but virtual tours are the future. Demand for property virtual tours appeared to have peaked after achieving such industry acclaim and respect.
Results of a 2018 poll carried out by the National Association of Realtors in the United States of America (NAR) stated that in 2018, 46% of home buyers said virtual tours were Very Useful. This is an impressive degree of awareness for a marketing tool that had only been around for about two years at the time of the poll.
Results in the NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends 2019 Poll showed similar figures of about 48% of buyers between the ages of 39 to 63 rating virtual tours as “Very Useful”. Not much change– but an impending explosion was about to occur!
Covid-19 Not the Only Thing Going Viral!
Given the current reality of the world, it is perhaps questionable whether “going viral” is still an appropriate term to describe something that explodes in popularity. However, that is exactly what happened to virtual real estate tours over the course of 2020.
Given the current state of the world, it’s debatable if “going viral” is still an acceptable term to describe something that literally explodes in popularity. However, this is precisely what happened to real estate virtual tour demand during 2020.
The facts and figures on virtual tours during the pandemic are as follows:
The “Very Useful” metric used in the previous two years was not followed up on in the NAR’s annual report in 2020. It did, however, conduct a “Market Recovery Survey” that incidentally revealed a skyrocketing surge in demand for 3D Virtual Tours.
As the virus pandemic spread, NAR found that 25% of agents expected VTs to remain popular into 2021.However 66% of real estate agents anticipated that the use of 3D Virtual Tours would grow in the coming year.
Even more startling statistics were reported by Redfin, a North American real estate listing site with a massive internet reach. In May 2020, their research confirmed that since the pandemic first began, 3D virtual tours (3d virtual walkthroughs) had increased by more than 300%.
More home buyers are putting in offers without having visited a property in person. Redfin real estate agents report that in general one in ten home tour requests is for a remote video tour. Also, a Redfin survey of 1,900 home buyers across 32 key real estate markets, 63% of them made an offer on a property before seeing it in person. That number is double what it was the previous year. Our local sources (Property Brokerage) have had similar experiences with properties for sale in Hervey Bay with several buyers making an offer in writing to secure a home (making it subject to a physical inspection).
Canadian Statistics Also Confirm Property VR Experiences Increased
The Canadian government acknowledged a surge in real estate virtual tour immersive experience by way of online real estate inspection (online tours) in 2020. Builders and property buyers shifted to both virtual display homes, online home tours and digital signing of contracts. The most obvious change, clearly inspired by the pandemic was a shift in interest to suburban homes.
At the close of 2020 NAR proclaimed in their blog ‘Commercial Connections’ that “Virtual Tours with 360° cameras have gone through the roof”. The piece entitled “Getting a Reboot from Virtual Tours” was effusive in its assertion that virtual tours had not only transformed, but also saved the entire real estate sector. The article quotes Dan Palmeri as saying, “Every significant landlord is now requiring that their brokers put up virtual tours, and they don’t really care how they do it as long as they get it correctly.” Palmeri works for Cushman & Wakefield in Las Vegas as a senior director.
Australian Statistics On Real Estate Virtual Tours
Sure, these statistics are from the USA and Canada, but Australian reports indicate the same results here. Nowadays buyers in the United States no longer look at property listings that do not feature a virtual tour. That’s how it’s also heading here in Australia as well!
Domain: The giant real estate portal has recorded an 18% increase in virtual tours during the last four weeks to 29 August 2021 compared to the previous month.
Property Tribune Article: Virtual Tours Rise by 18%
- 79% of repeat home buyers and 84% of first time home buyers use the internet to search
- a property listing with a real estate virtual tour gets 87% more views
- Virtual tours keep people looking at a website 5 to 10 times longer
- Online, Houses with a Virtual Tour get 40% more interest than those without. It’s true!
- In August 2010, realestate com au virtual tour had 400,000 hits.
- The internet was used by 78 percent of property buyers to find their agent.
- The internet is used by 84 percent of first-time house purchasers in their hunt for a property.
- A real estate virtual tour is an open house that is available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, promoting a better qualified buyer locally, interstate, and internationally.
- Virtual Tours can help you improve your Search Engine Optimization and website rankings.
- Increases the company’s competitive profile and image
Virtual Tours are increasingly becoming “vendor driven,” with vendors requesting a Virtual Tour as an integral part of their advertising campaign to appeal to interstate and international buyers.
- The Internet is used by 80% of your potential clients to conduct research (Rockpoint Marketing 2008)
- Virtual tours receive more than 6 million daily hits in 2006, up from 2 million in 2004.
- Virtual Tours are used by 78 percent of consumers in the 30-49 age bracket, and they expect to see one for a property.
- Viewers will spend 300 percent more time looking at a listing that includes a virtual tour than one that does not (www.realtor.com)
Interactive Open Homes #1 Hervey Bay Real Estate Virtual Tour Provider
We do it right at InteractiveOpenHomes.com. Our website is a growing resource designed to not only educate real estate agents through the process of creating a 360 Virtual Tour but to also showcase how effective digital tours are.
Because 360 Virtual Tours are still relatively new, the information and expertise our website provides is just as important as our technical services.
Agents who have had trouble meeting the increased demands of the past year have found our step-by-step instructional videos and blog postings on how to put together a 360 Virtual Tour to be a lifesaver.
We also invest a lot of time and space on our website for equipment reviews, suggestions and samples of virtual tours. Our expert in-house team is able to create a 360 degree virtual tour utilising quality cameras and state of the art VR 3dvista software. (a high-quality alternative to Matterport)
Many agents are just getting started with virtual inspection software and rely on our site for the information they need to create a professional virtual tour for their listings. Of course, we offer our services to all real estate agents throughout Hervey Bay, Maryborough, and nearby other Fraser Coast regions.
When it comes to real estate marketing, having reliable information is vital. Like most new commodities that are doing well, the industry has become saturated with opportunists wanting to profit from the frequently ambiguous terminology surrounding virtual tours.
Because “real estate virtual tour can be an imprecise descriptor for many distinct things,” as Medium.com points out, agents must have a fundamental understanding of virtual tours.
Many people attempt to pass off image slide displays as photography virtual tours since viewers are walked through photos in a natural sequence. These photographic video walkthroughs, 3D graphics and video real estate tours are not the same as virtual inspections that are created using 3d Vista or Matterport software.
Virtual Tours: Imperative Now & Into the Future
Forbes magazine not only declared that virtual tours are now the favoured starting point for property seekers in their January 2021 article; they also claimed that once the pandemic is over, the virtual tour’s appeal is unlikely to wane.
COVID-19 isn’t the only reason for the increase in demand for 360 virtual inspections / tours. According to Forbes the maturation of Millenials and Gen Z’ers is another factor fueling the trend.
These two specific generational groups have grown up with the expectation of having virtual options for everything from shopping to banking to dating. “These generations have evolved to expect virtual options for practically everything, and home buying is no exception,” according to Forbes.
Another reason virtual tours are here to stay, according to the Boston Globe, is that technology and the tours themselves have improved so much.
“Virtual tours were generally unsteady a decade ago, with grainy, inconsistent visuals. They’re now gleaming and polished, and they’re frequently on par with a professional television or streaming production. These tours threatened to eliminate agents from the home-buying process ten years ago, but now the real estate industry is embracing them.”
Interactive Open Homes 3dvista Virtual Tours & 3dvista Hosting. Book a Video Call. Book a Virtual Tour.
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Interactive Open Homes is Hervey Bay’s leading VR / virtual inspections property marketing business, specialising in providing cutting-edge real estate experiences. Send us your ideas, and we’ll assist you in bringing them to (VR) life.