Pro Tip: Virtual Viewings

Posted by Chris Fenton on Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 at 3:19pm.

How times have changed. When I began my real estate career in 2003, print materials were critical to selling homes. At that time we had one computer in our office that every real estate agent shared. At that time telephones tended to be of the flip of variety, if they weren’t attached directly to a wall. Today, the Internet is king in real estate marketing, and newspapers advertising is a distant memory.  

Virtual Real Estate Viewings

As a real estate marketer this is important information, because I need to set out a marketing plan for our team that allows for maximum exposure for our clients. In the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board’s most recent Buyer Survey, it is reported that 75% of people that bought last year on Vancouver Island, were first introduced to the property through the internet. In comparison 0.7% were first introduced through a newspaper ad.

Also worth noting was our own Royal LePage survey that we did in 2016 which showed that over 40% of people buying in Port Alberni are coming from out of town. These people can only be reached using the Internet, adding to its importance.

The focal point of a successful Internet marketing campaign lies with what I call a virtual viewing.  This is where people come and view your home, without ever leaving their computer or phone.  The key to a successful virtual viewing lies in the details.  It's not enough to put a few photos and a description on Realtor.ca.  Success starts with making sure that your home looks it's best on photo day.  That means decluttering more so than cleaning.  The camera equipment used, and skill of the photographer, make all the difference. The way that an advertising write-up is composed  (to best appeal to the appropriate target market) is key. Finally, posting on one or two websites is good, put posting it on dozens is better.

When I first started in the real estate business, I remember an old timer telling me that the key to real estate marketing was holding back information.  In fact it was standard operating procedure not to post the property address in newspapers advertisements.  That way, the theory went, the buyers would have to call you...  That old school sales philosophy didn't make a lot of sense to me as a rookie, and I can say with confidence it's not the path to success now.  A great virtual viewing provides the potential buyer with as much information as possible.  My team's philosophy is to give the public the information they want, and they will call you if you can be of service.  Which is why this year we introduced Matterport 3D Tours and Floorsplans to our array of Virtual Viewing offerings.    

I can't tell you how many times buyers have told me that if a listing only has one photo online, they don't look any further.  Photography, video tours, interactive 3D floor plans, write-ups, and property specifications should all be part of a great virtual viewing experience. 

Today, buyers want to explore the property in detail online, before deciding to make that all important visit in person.  So make sure that the lights are on, and the cookies are fresh out of the oven, for every one of your virtual viewings. 

Thanks for reading - I'd love to answer any questions or receive any comments you may have.

Chris Fenton, BCom
The Fenton Team

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