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7 February 2012

10 Tips to Create a Winning Virtual Tour

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Savvy real estate agents know the power behind a winning virtual tour.  They know that creating a visual slideshow for each of their listings improves visibility and allows for easy distribution to sites like Youtube, Facebook and now even Pinterest. Thought by many to only offer benefits to upper-tier homes, virtual tours are now used universally.

A virtual home tour can piece together static photos and transform them into a unique slide show.  The beauty in this type of visual tour is that you do not need to be a professional photographer to create the required effect.   In fact, many virtual tour systems not only produce a customized virtual tour, but also host the listing through a unique web address and then promote and distribute to various real estate portals, search engines and social media sites.

The virtual tour can also aid in the home preparation process for the seller and give them a glimpse into what their home looks like from the buyer’s point of view.  Get started with a few simple tips!

Create a Winning Virtual Tour

  1. Remember that your photography skills matter less than what’s visually covered on the tour. Try to get all major rooms and use the highest resolution for images allowed. A couple of photos of a living room are better than none at all.
  2. Vary the length and number of photos and scenes from tour to tour, depending on how much zoom, panoramas and other effects are used.
  3. Treat the photo session for a virtual tour like an open house. Start with a clean, inviting and decluttered home.
  4. As a general rule, begin with the most sellable features first, putting the best images toward the front. Or, start with the front of the home, then the backyard, followed by the kitchen and any “grand” or large rooms, following by bedrooms and bathrooms or other small areas.
  5. Lighting matters: use incandescent lighting for the best look and avoid harsh fluorescent lighting. Don’t shoot into an open, bright window.
  6. Do include photos of the community, schools, parks, shops, restaurants or other neighborhood amenities.
  7. Put away expensive items such as jewelry and expensive paintings. Make the home as generic and safe as possible.
  8. Use voice narration to engage viewers. Tell potential buyers what has been recently remodeled, or point out details on cabinetry or other design elements or room features of interest.Use text narration to point out less obvious amenities or other details of the home.
  9. Use panoramas only for more spacious rooms. Use 360-degree panoramas for outdoor scenes, such as backyard and even showing the surrounding neighborhood.
  10. Add text to each picture, telling the story of the space as the tour scrolls through the home.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate offers a number of virtual tour and slide show products. Information can be found on the GreenHouse, in the Digital Marketing Center and through the Approved Supplier program.

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