Twenty years ago, the idea of a 3D real estate virtual tour of a home or apartment would have sounded impossible and in the realm of fantasy. Now, in a year with an unprecedented pandemic and technology having advanced, virtual tours are the only reliable source for future homeowners to find the right home without potentially exposing themselves to a virus.
With over 93% of Americans using websites when searching for homes, now is the perfect time to do something that is in that realm of fantasy. But there is much work to be done when incorporating 360 views of your real estate properties. Let’s break down how to incorporate a 360 view of your real estate properties.
Why use virtual tours?
Virtual tours are a relatively new idea that many people are still trying to understand. But let’s break down the reasons why 3D real estate virtual tours are useful for you and your clients.
- Since the pandemic prevents people from seeing homes for themselves, virtual tours are the perfect replacement for in-person tours. They can still see everything about the apartment or house and make a sound decision in regards to purchasing the property.
- You have a better chance of attracting larger audiences by having each of your properties easy to view online. For instance, if somebody is looking for an apartment in a state they do not live in currently, virtual tours allow them to examine the space without needing to drive to the physical location.
- Instead of relying on photos for showing off homes, virtual tours are a much more inviting prospect for many people. A virtual tour of the whole home space is much more interactive than looking at a photo, and people will engage with your business more.
While there are more reasons to include virtual tours on your website, the most important part now is incorporating 360 virtual tours of your property.
Necessities for virtual tours
First, choose a 360 camera for your 3D real estate virtual tour. You can find plenty of cameras on Amazon as well as use Youtube to find the best devices for your specific situation.
If purchasing a camera is above your budget, then you can use your phone. Of course, you will need to put in more work, but the end result will be the same.
Next, obtain a tripod for your camera or phone. This is important as you need your device to sit still while it takes pictures of your room. Furthermore, position the tripod from a person’s perspective. By doing this, each picture’s perspective will come from a person’s point of view, giving your clients a taste of what it could be like if they were at the location.
Positioning of the shot
After choosing your camera and tripod, it is time to prepare shooting for your property’s virtual tour. In positioning your shot, place your tripod in the center of the room.
For 360 cameras, they only need one shot to capture an image of the entire room. With smartphones, be prepared to take multiple shots of the room. You can then combine each shot together in a 360 perspective during the editing process.
Staging your real estate property
As for staging the apartment or house, start shooting during daylight hours. You need as much natural light as possible to fully capture the location’s interior. Then, turn on every light in the room and fully maximize your potential for artificial lighting. Once these steps are done, check that all the curtains are open.
One more thing to worry about is yourself while taking pictures. With a 360 camera, make sure that you are not in the same room or else you will appear in the virtual tour. Instead, connect the camera with your phone through an application for your camera. Then, leave the room and activate the shutters remotely. For phones or if you do not want the app, then create a timer for your camera and give yourself enough time to leave the room.
Once you take the initial picture, move your camera or smartphone a small distance, and take another picture. Take a few pictures for each room so that you have a good amount of content to work with when you are editing your virtual tour.
Editing your shots
Once you have all of your pictures, it is time to use image-editing software and put everything together into a competent and coherent virtual tour. Plug your camera into your computer and make use of the hundreds of editing software available online.
One such example is Kuula, an image editing software free-to-use, but with some premium features that allow you to embed the virtual tour into your website. They all range in prices and use, so take the time and research your options.
While you are editing your shots, there are multiple ways to craft your virtual tour. You can add in a zoom feature, a map of the house for each shot, the ability to rotate each picture, and annotations.
Include your virtual tour on the web
You can either embed the virtual tour with your editing software if it supports the feature, or find other methods. For instance, this Google Help thread describes the process of adding your tour to Google My Business (GMB).