In the past century, technology has continuously cemented its place in our lives. It is now an essential part of society. The internet, computers, and gadgets are able to connect people together and make work easier.
One of the positive impacts of technology is the use of virtual tours. Through the use of video equipment, investors, property managers, and buyers are able to ‘interact’ with properties.
A virtual tour is essentially a visual walk-through. It allows prospective buyers to have a virtual inspection of a property. Typically, virtual tours are used by agents/ landlords as marketing tools to out-of-town buyers and also to differentiate themselves from the competition.
The use of virtual tours has seen a substantial increase due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prospective investors want to sink their funds in real estate but are limited by health and safety restrictions. A virtual tour allows both buyers’ and sellers’ market and interact with properties in a safe manner.
Some landlords and agents avoid using virtual tours, citing high costs and a laborious exercise as the reasons. To help them out, the real estate experts at Home Choice Property Management have compiled the following guide!
The Proper Hardware and Software
The idea that virtual tours are very costly is a common misconception. The reality is, you don’t need expensive video and photography equipment for this task. What you need is a panoramic camera.
Compared to the high-end, expensive photography gear, panoramic cameras are more affordable and also more user-friendly. You would only need to read the instruction manual and conduct a test run or two. In terms of specification, choose a camera with high-resolution depth, stabilizer options, and remote operation.
For a virtual tour to be an effective marketing tool, the quality of the picture/ video must be top-notch. Software plays a big part in this as it can help to accentuate the colors of your pictures and create a more interactive virtual experience.
Lastly, you must invest in a stable tripod, possibly one with a panoramic mount. A tripod will allow you to film your videos at a uniform height and provides a stable image. The end product will be a seamless virtual tour!
It is recommended that you create a shot list before filming a virtual tour. Itemize the important spaces/ rooms that will matter to a prospective renter. Walk through the space and put yourself in the renter’s shoes. Which space is a draw for them? Are there any specific features/ details that would interest them?
Once you have created the list, it is time to plan your camera shots. As you walk through each room, look for a spot that will enable you to capture the highlights of a room. Once you have identified that spot in each room, mark it with some like chalk or tape but nothing permanent.
Take a few photos with your camera as you try to find the perfect spot. Make sure the lighting and colors look good in the test shots. Once you’re satisfied with the setup, you can start shooting your virtual tour!
Even with high-end photography and the best software in the market, you need to make sure that every room is perfect. Call in a professional cleaning service to ensure the space is spotless. Once you set up the lens, you should get a flawless shot.
You should also remove any distracting obstacles or objects from the room. From the viewfinder, you have to have an uninterrupted view of the room.
There is also the issue of lighting to consider. If a room has poor lighting, you’ll either need to bring your own additional lighting or you might need to consider hiring some for the shoot.
Moving down your shot list, take a test shot of every room. Study it and ask yourself if it highlighting the prominent features of the room. From there, adjustments can be made in terms of placement of props, lighting, and camera settings.
One important tip during the test shot is to check the tripod level. The tripod level should be uniform as you move from room to room. Otherwise, the final placement of photos will be misaligned, which can interfere with the seamless nature of the virtual tour.
Taking The Photo
Once everything is ready, you can move through your shot list and take the photos. Locate the best spot in every room, set up your tripod stand, adjust the camera settings and take the photos.
Always check each image on the camera screen and verify the image quality. Don’t be afraid of taking several photos in the same room. For the purposes of editing using the software, it’s better to have many options.
Virtual Tour Software
Once you have selected your final shots, it is time to create your virtual tour. There are a lot of software options available on the market but they all essentially offer the same thing.
The software will prompt you to add the still images to the program. The images will be stitched together to produce a virtual tour. For your panoramic photos, these can be assembled into a 360-degree tour.
To make your virtual tour memorable, you can add in some extra features. The software you use should have add-in functionalities which can include music, hotspots, text, or an audio description.
While it may sound straightforward, this process can be daunting. To win over a potential buyer, there is no room for compromise in the quality of the final product. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, look for an experienced freelancer who can offer the service at an affordable fee.
A virtual tour is an innovative way through which potential buyers can view the property. A virtual tour could enable reach more prospective tenants, lock one down and get some stable revenue.
If you need help with the video tour, marketing your property, or managing it, you should consider hiring a professional property management company. To get the most out of your rental property, call Home Choice Property Management today and we’ll work together to make your property investment thrive!