If you are thinking of selling your home soon, you might be wondering if you will need to forget about having an open house. Although shelter-in-place orders are being lifted throughout the country, the fact remains that COVID-19 is still out there, with no treatment or vaccine in sight yet. As a result, people are urged by the CDC to continue practicing social distancing and frequent, thorough handwashing.

Thankfully, our agents at Scott Jones Real Estate are here to help sell your home for top dollar with the aid of a virtual tour, instead of depending on a traditional open house or showing. While virtual tours are not an entirely new phenomenon, they are gaining traction as the ideal way to showcase your home when potential buyers can’t be there in person.

What is a virtual tour?

However, let’s quickly discuss what a virtual tour is and what it is not. Virtual tours are not the same as a listing video, which people may be more familiar with. Instead of a straightforward video that depicts the interior of the home and usually has music and visual effects like zooming and panning, a virtual tour allows a buyer to control what part of the house they look at. It is a lot like the “street view” function of Google Maps. Your buyer can spend as long as they like looking at your property from the comfort of their home.

Why create a virtual tour for your home?

There are tons of benefits to offering a virtual or 3D tour of your home in your listing. Among them is the fact that a virtual tour allows buyers to get a clear view of your home, instead of depending on still photos, which can be misleading. With an excellent virtual tour, potential buyers can tell right away if the layout is right for them, avoiding wasted time on both sides of the sale. What this means for you is that you are likely to attract serious buyers with a virtual tour.

A virtual tour can also boost your agent’s digital marketing plan, which is now more critical than ever, as most real estate transactions begin online. Here are just a few benefits:

  • Increased exposure – offering a virtual tour online adds valuable information to your listing, making it likely that more people will click on it to learn more.
  • Safety and consideration – By posting a virtual tour, you are helping others stay safe and minimize exposure.
  • Appeal to out-of-town buyers – a serious buyer who doesn’t want to make the drive or risk exposure by visiting your home in person can explore your home through a virtual tour before deciding to take the next step.

What you need to create an engaging virtual tour

Not all virtual tours are created equal. Here are some aspects that every virtual home tour should have in order to add value to your listing and avoid becoming just another video:

  • The ability of the viewer to see 360 degrees around them.
  • Smooth navigation throughout the home.
  • Clear images of the home that do not feature personal items, clutter, or unkempt rooms.
  • Full functionality on desktop and mobile devices.
  • Good lighting. You don’t need an expensive set-up; shoot during mid-day if possible and open all blinds and curtains.

Creating your virtual home tour for free

Apps and tools to create a compelling virtual tour are becoming more widely available. Of course, at Scott Jones Real Estate, we are happy to put our tools and expertise to work and create your tour for you, but if you are interested in creating a virtual tour for your home, you can do so for free, and with a little guidance:

Equipment you will need – if you have a smartphone, you are in a good position. There are a number of apps that you can download that will guide you every step of the way. However, it would be wise also to use a tripod with a rotating head and phone mount to cut down on retakes due to shaky footage.

Planning your virtual tour – have a plan for every step of your tour. You may want to test out different camera angles, heights, and lighting to find which combination highlights your home the best. You should also mark with masking tape where to stand in each room, to get the smoothest possible shots. Also, work with your agent to make sure that your tour is consistent with your listing photos.

When done well, virtual tours offer a workaround to the social distancing recommendations that we should all follow to keep one another safe. Whether you decide to create yourself, hire a professional company, or work with your agent to build one, virtual tours are more critical than ever to sell a home. While it is unlikely that a virtual tour will lead to purchase sight unseen, a virtual tour may be the deciding factor on a buyer taking the next step to purchase.

Prior to the pandemic, virtual home tours were growing in popularity but were not quite mainstream. Now, however, they may become a mainstay in the real estate industry. With most real estate agents still working from home, virtual home tours are becoming an essential part of the process, from start to finish. To put it another way, virtual tours can make decisions possible.

The professionals at Scott Jones Real Estate are here to help you every step of the way of selling your home. We are working to adapt and overcome the restrictions that living through the pandemic is putting on the real estate industry. We understand the importance of staying on the cutting-edge technology to provide the best service. Although foot traffic may currently be down when it comes to physical showings of houses, buyers are still out there. Anything you can do to market and show off your listing will get your home the attention it needs to sell.