The Art of The Virtual Tour

Washington_Real_EstateWhether you’re a real estate agent, a hotel owner, property manager or private homeowner, virtual tours expand the reach of your for sale, for rent or summer rental properties. With virtual tours, you can open the demographic of your buyers’ pool, tempt those from across the country or simply make it easier for someone just down the road to remind themselves how much they like the property you have on the market. Here are some virtual tour tips, and how you can utilize them.

Picture Tour

There are a couple different types of digital tours. The most common is the picture tour. Many resorts and real estate agents use picture tours for online markets. You’ll need two essential pieces of equipment for a picture tour — tripod and a digital camera. While the tripod is important, you can get an adequate one from a electronic store, like Best Buy, or even order one from Amazon. Just make sure it has a 10- or 15-pound weight limit. The camera is a bit more difficult as digital SLRs are expensive and there are many on the market.

Nikon D810: One of the best DSLR cameras on the market. The D810 takes some of the best resolution pictures money can buy. While it’s one of the best DSLR cameras, it’s not the most expensive. It shoots 36.3 megapixels and can shoot video in 1080p.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II: An even more affordable DSLR, this Canon has the capacity of a pro camera, but is priced for amateurs. If you’re most ambitious projects are still shots for virtual tours, this camera will certainly get the job done. With a 20.2 megapixel capacity, and 10 frames per second for continuous shooting, this Canon is an inexpensive, yet solid option.

There’s one other piece of equipment you need for virtual tours; a wide-angle lens. Wide angle lenses are essential as it lets your camera capture the full room, corner to corner, or an inclusive shot of the surrounding landscape of the property.

Third-Party Creation

While you can load your pictures onto a website, a gallery of panoramic photos won’t give potential buyers the immersive experience they want. With a third-party program such as YouVisit or MakeVT, you can create your own interactive tours with the photos you take. These tours allow potential buyers to explore, look around in 3D environments, and click on photo icons, all from their computer or mobile device.

Video Tours

Video tours are the most immersive type of virtual tour. You don’t need a DSLR for this, in fact you can even use a high-end smartphone, like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. With a 5.1-inch screen and a 16 megapixel camera, and a 5 megapixel front-facing wide-angle lens, this phone can take the video and pictures you need for your virtual tour. This state-of-the-art phone can also utilize Google Hangouts or Skype, so you can give a live tour via the Internet for parties interested in the space.

You can also make a video tour and load it on your website. First take quick video clips of each room, and the surrounding land or the neighborhood. You can use iMovie or Movie Maker to compile your clips and any still pictures you’ve taken. After you have the video, add commentary about the house, rental or property. People who want a closer look at the house you own or represent will then be able to get a feel for the house even if they live across the country.