Best practice for virtual tours

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With physical viewings a little more difficult at the moment, it's becoming increasingly important to offer potential buyers and renters the option to view a home virtually, and to reassure your vendors that you're promoting their properties, solving for the current situation.  

You can host a pre-recorded virtual tour on any of your Zoopla listings.  And this article will give you some tips to make sure yours stands out.   

This article includes: 

What's the difference between virtual tours and viewings?

  • Virtual Tour is a pre-packaged interactive digital video, where the user controls their view of a property. For example, 360° Virtual Tours let the viewer zoom in or out, move around the property and view it from different angles, giving the feeling of being inside it
  • Virtual Viewing is a live walk-through of a location with an agent via video call. This allows the person at home to view a property without physically being there

Why a virtual tour

Before offering virtual tours, it’s important to think about the specific needs of your audience, and how offering virtual tours could help them. They’re useful if your audience is worried about safety/maintaining social distancing, or short on time.

It’s also still worth asking all the usual fact-finding questions before offering a virtual tour. Finding out what they want to get out of the tour and why they’re moving in the first place is an important place to start.

Example tour solutions

Video formats for tours  Virtual tour providers
Focal Agent* Matterport*
Vimeo* Spec
YouTube* Revolution Viewing
VistaBee* Eye Spy 360
Property Tours* Giraffe 360
Vieweet* Immoviewer

*Natively supported video formats, these play within your listing as opposed to opening in a seperate tab or window improving the user experience

Checklist before you start filming a virtual tour

  • Choose the right software. Many different software options are available to help shoot a 360˚ tour.  Make sure you choose one that meets your business needs and capabilities.
  • Prepare your smartphone to capture the property. Ensure you use the back facing camera and you wipe the lens down
  • Tidy each room. Turn on all interior lights and turn off fans, TV’s or any moving objects
  • Open all interior doors. This gives the viewer a smooth transition and ensures natural light filters through the entire property
  • Plan your route through the home. Ensure there is a sensible flow through the property, mirroring how you would conduct a physical viewing

During the virtual tour

  • Start your tour from outside the front door to help orientate the viewer.  This gives potential buyers the full tour of the property
  • Try to capture panoramic shots. Where possible take panoramas of each room and connecting hallways
  • Camera angle is important. Ensure your phone is positioned vertically and keep it level. You can hold your phone in front of you as you capture each room. Alternatively, use a mount or gyro to keep the phone steady if available to you
  • Take it slow! Whilst standing still, turn slowly to give the viewer a full view of the room.  This can be sped-up when editing, but the slower you go, the easier it will be for potential buyers to see all the features.

Tips for capturing rooms of different sizes

  • Small rooms - stand in a corner, or the doorway and hold your phone lower to capture the entire space
  • Medium rooms - Stand near the centre of the room to capture the entire space in a single shot. A panoramic shot will work well
  • Large rooms - Take shots from more than one point in the room to highlight special features

Hosting and uploading

If you are creating the video entirely yourself, you can host on YouTube (or any 3rd party video channel) by creating an account.

Edit and Share

Some softwares will automatically create your 3D tour for you. In the software, you may also be able to edit your video. Ensure you check everything is built and labelled correctly and the direction of arrows between shots is clear.

If you are doing this without a 3D software, there are various editing platforms for videos.

Use editing tools to add music, overlay voice narrations, animations or text (such as subtitles or room titles).

Make sure you add a call to action at the end of your tour.  Our research has shown that soft language such as “find out more”, rather than “book now” is working well at the moment (Zoopla AdReach research April 2020).  

Share your video on your listing and social channels to let everyone know you are open for business!

 

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