When does real estate photography go from becoming a hobby to a profession

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Being a real estate photographer for the past 14 years, I’ve seen a slow transition of adaptability.   In the beginning, most realtors were taking their own real estate photos, trying to reduce their overhead costs.  Some of them, being hobbyists, found that they were getting pretty good taking photos and decided to offer their services to their competitors.   As the demand grew for better quality images, more hobbyists/enthusiasts switched careers and started their own real estate photography businesses.

Now, with homeowners putting demands on their realtors for professional photos (trying to keep up with the neighboring listings), the once-hobbyist-now-professional photographer has other issues to deal with other than taking nice-looking photos. Some fail and a small handful break out of the pack and build a strong worthwhile business.

Other factors have come into play when offering professional photography services.

Being Responsive, Accessible and Reliable – Since the MLS requires that photos need to be uploaded within 72 hours, how quick can a professional a) get to the property to photograph the house and b) process the images and get them back into the hands of the realtor?

Provide Technical Support –  Even though many realtors are amazing sales consultants, a good percentage of them do not have a secure grasp of technology (ie. what’s a zip file; Dropbox? How do I upload my photos? How do I download my photos? How can I better expose my listing? I downloaded my photos but have no idea where they are).  The list is endless.

Keeping up with the competition – In an effort to maintain dominance, one needs to stay on top of the latest and greatest technology developments.  It’s a very competitive industry and everyone is always looking to edge out the competition by offering a better value-added solution.

Virtual Access Tours (VAT) has addressed many of these concerns and has built a strong, diversified organization, started 14 years ago with one hobbyist, one enthusiastic wife/partner, with one Olympus (1 megapixel) camera and one client.  By paying attention to the items listed above (and many more), we’ve built an amazing team of professionals to service many needs required by the professional realtor.  Please visit our website (www.virtualaccesstours.com) to find out how we can help you grow your business.

 

How do I get more leads and generate higher profit margins in real estate

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How do I get more leads and generate higher profit margins in real estateDSC_0803_4_5_6_7-2

Virtualaccestours.com is one real estate photography company which has been serving its clients for more than a decade. Photography plays an extremely crucial role in the selling puzzle of the real estates. According to a recent survey more than 89% of home buyers look up the internet while looking for a home. The advent of iPads, tablets and smart phones have prompted more and more buyers to conduct their search for homes from the internet. In the competitive market of our times it is vital for any realtor to have professionally taken photos posted on their site. A nicely taken shot would create the best first impression and help in alluring more customers.
Virtualaccestours.com comes with a group of the finest talents who will be working on your best interests at all times and help you generate quality leads and ultimately achieve a much higher margin on profit. Their team of marketing executive, copywriter, photographer, drone pilot, interior designers, graphic designers, web developers, cinematographers, animation experts and draftsmen numbers to more than 40 professionals who will be working round the clock to help you provide your potential customers with a positive impression of your business.
The team of professionals at VAT would create the most impressive virtual tour of your property be it a hotel, an apartment, a salon or a hospital in a manner which would help you get the best ROI.
Taking the photos with a plain point and shoot camera no longer suffices in our time and according to a recent survey professionally taken aerial shots of a property would lead to 139% increase in clicks. True that increasing the number of clicks doesn’t necessarily result in sales but it implies that your potential clients are viewing your listing. When you reach out to more buyers your chances of sale automatically increases.
Our team of professionals would highlight all the key features of your properties – its spaciousness and its special characteristics. We know what exactly it takes to create an image or a video which would play on the imagination of your potential buyers and intrigue and seduce them.
If you want to list a property with a higher price bracket then you surely need to use professionally captured videos and photos to match your competition.
Any realtor needs to compete with their peers to obtain the listing. Virtualaccestours.com_DSC7533_4_5_6_7Enhancer would immensely enhance your marketing portfolio and help you find more potential buyers. When you use the prompt and professional services of VAT you can be rest assured that your property is being marketed to the best of your ability. So instead of painstakingly taking unprofessional pictures of your property with a point and shoot camera you need to take a virtual tour by the best in the industry so as to get the maximum return on investment. We are always here to help you design and print your marketing materials in a way which would represent your listings in the best possible manner.

How to Captivate, Engage and Sell with virtual tours

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Selling with Virtual tours

Selling with Virtual tours

Captivate, Engage and Sell

The world of business shall be massively thankful for the ‘World Wide Web’ for being there, to provide a platform to connect with their prospects, present at any part of the world! The only thing better than the WWW itself is perhaps the Virtual Tours. While promoting your business online is a great marketing idea, using virtual tour literally brings you several steps ahead of every competitor who is not that smart. Virtual tour is the perfect way to increase your businesses exposure as well as captivate your audience eventually leading them to sale.

We at Virtual Access Tours help you offer your prospective customers with an unparalleled access to your facilities without ever having to make a visit to the location physically. Virtual tour is an excellent tool to retain the website visitors by inviting them to check out the locations without the limitation of time and space. Known as the perfect online sticky content, virtual tours are proved to educate the public, visually showing what you can offer.

Virtual Tour are superior to Flat images

Well, here`s why:

  1. A virtual tour alone is worth a thousand images! It provides your prospective clients with a firsthand view of the features and benefits your site virtually and seamlessly
  2. Makes your online shop open for 24 hours a day without any restriction on entry or on detail analysis of the site, making it a magnificent tool that draws interest and inquires that can result into new business.
  3. Virtual Tours offer amazing value in contract of the expensive printed photographs which find their way to the bins eventually and have to replace, reprinted and reissued.
  4. They also help you to Keep up with and beat the competition will a fully interactive and immersive web experience

What is better than a virtual tour! Nothing when placed in comparison with its counterparts. Businesses across all industries are accelerating e-commerce and increasing visits using Virtual Tour imaging solutions to deliver dynamic visual content.

How large of a house should you have before considering using professional photography?

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How large of a house should you have before considering using our professional services? That’s an open ended question……. We have clients using us from the small 1000 sq ft house to the 20,000 sq ft house. Check this home rehab job we photographed. Sandy Chambers, an unbelievable powerhouse of a sales rep uses us for the investment properties she represents. Take a look at this home in Plainfield NJ. 1500 sq ft……… Let me know if you like the tour!!! 

What the best photo’s to take to Attract the Best Buyers

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Really good ones!

You can have the best photographer in the world but if the subject matter is not camera worthy or ready it’s not going to look attractive especially to the critical eye of a potential buyer.  – un-clutter , clear away, hide away, throw it away.  Go online and look at other homes that are for sale – check out the ones you love and copy them. Why do you love them? fresh paint, open and bright spaces, shiny kitchen – stag your home so it looks just as good – then make sure your realtor hires a professional photographer. After all your hard work to make the place look great it should be reflected when posted to sites like Realtor.com and Trulia – good luck

Download a free home prep guide 

Does virtual staging help sell homes?

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Staging can be a crucial step if you’re trying to sell your home — especially if your home is empty when it comes time to shoot those listing photos. Unfortunately, staging can also be expensive and, depending on how much furniture-moving it entails, time-consuming. Enter “virtual staging,” a technology that enables real estate agents to stage your home with the click of a mouse. As more agencies embrace this service, the results are yielding positive results for both sellers and buyers.

When did you start using virtual staging at the agency, and why did you decide to try out the service?
We started three years ago. We always knew how detrimental an empty room was to a listing as a featured photo and the only alternative before virtual technology was traditional staging. Traditional staging is effective but expensive and time-consuming. It didn’t make fiscal sense for all price points. Virtual staging gives us the ability at all price points to creatively think for our buyers and allow them to visualize what the space can be. We can tell them where the couch could go, how big of a bed would fit in the bedroom, what to do with that open loft space. Is the room perfect for an office, or even is the room big enough for a dual purpose? That is very valuable to a buyer who is looking to emotionally connect with a home and visualize themselves living there.

We make sure that each virtually staged image is labeled as such on the photo, and the next photo in the queue of images is the empty room. So the consumer sees both.

Did you know that we provide two different sizes of all of your images to the MLS

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Did you know that we provide two different sizes of all of your images?

 

We provide small images for posting to the MLS and large images for print. We also do have an option upon request to give you a third size called “print quality”, which sends you a 300 dpi, 8×10″ set of images for larger print applications.

 

You can download all of your images at one time as a zip file to extract to your computer, or download one picture at a time.

 

For a tutorial on how to download photos, please visit http://www.virtualaccesstours.com , go to the TUTORIALS pull down menu and select  “Download Photos.”

In an effort to expand our services/offerings to you, if you weren’t aware, the VAT Marketing Group now …

FLOOR PLAN creation and integration*

Would you like potential home buyers to be able to see a floor plan of a home, but only have confusing architectural drawings? We can create user friendly floor plans and integrate them into your virtual tour. The viewer will be able to see where each room lays, and orient themselves to get a better understanding of flow and scale.

Give us a call and let us know how we can be of service to you.

* Another fine service offered by the VAT Marketing Group, providing the convenience of headache-free, one-stop shopping

VAT Marketing Group     PO Box 1351     Jackson, NJ  08527       732.534.0438    www.VirtualAccessTours.com

Where did my downloaded file go?

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WOW – I never realized that the VAT Marketing Group has become a technical call center for many of our clients. I think that once they found out that I’ve been training THOUSANDS of professionals in the use and utilization of computer technology, and can talk in plain every day realtor-eze, they’ve come to us to get help with their every-day technology issues. What is a zip file; Dropbox what? Where did my downloaded file go? My computer speaker has been talking to me …… (yikes on that one… LOL)… We’ve decided to take our skills (I’ve been training and consulting since 1980) and create a series of BASIC on-site classes specifically designed for Realtors. Each class is 2 hours long and hosts a minimum of (5) students. If your interested, drop me a line. Contact me either via phone – 732.534.0438 or by email at mike@virtualaccesstours.com.

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Frustrated Realtor

 

What are the pros of using still photos, videos and virtual tours when marketing real estate?

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My goal is to show you the pros/advantages of each type of format when listing a home.

Here are the pros of all of them

Still photography:  Still photos allow the buyer to quickly run through the highlights, helping them prequalify whether the home has the qualities needed in order to be considered. Still photos can be posted at a very high resolution and can be displayed impressively on a large format monitor. 72 dpi is the standard resolution (no need to upload anything higher because typical monitors can only show so many pixels per inch). Adding more pixels only increases the file size, ultimately slowing down load times.  Professionals will use a wide-angled lens to show as much of the space as possible (similar to what we see with our peripheral vision). The photos can be used on all of the real estate websites, put into brochures (minimum of 300 dpi for clean, crisp printed pictures) and can be inserted into all forms of media (slide shows, virtual tours and videos).

Video:  A terrific way to walk a buyer through a house. Videos can incorporate still photos (can zoom and pan images, simulating motion), motion video, allowing for zooming, panning, rolling, sweeping and forward/backward motion. You can incorporate music to create a specific mood and can also have narration incorporated into the walk-through tour. In real estate, video can be used for client testimonials, agent bios, town and home tours. Video is hands-free, allowing the buyer to sit back and enjoy the experience the videographer and director want to portray.  Some tours we’ve witnessed are extremely simple.  The videographer will use a DSLR camera with a stabilizer and walk through the house simply documenting what they’re seeing through the lens.  It’s recommended that a path be laid out so that walking through the home makes sense.  There are a few cut aways and dissolves, but overall, get’s the point across.

Another video we’ve seen utilizes still photos.  By integrating music, a professional voice overlay, zooms and pans bringing the viewer’s attention to certain features within the photo.  Different than a slide show that transitions between images with fades, etc., the video slide show is closer to looking like a video discussed above.  Also remember that any video created, regardless of format can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo and a wide host of other video players.

We have seen that most realtors post their videos on YouTube.  The YouTube link can be inserted into most real estate websites and Realtor.com.   Because YouTube is owned by Google and most of the world uses Google as their primary search engine, the real estate videos are ranked fairly high and if programmed correctly, gets found at the top of many search queries.   NOTE:  Most home buyers do not go to YouTube to look for listings.   They either visit a real estate website, go to a realtor’s website or simply go to Google and search on an address or community name to find homes in a particular area.  If the address or community information is embedded correctly in the YouTube video, it will show up with the Google query.

Virtual Tour:  A virtual tour is an interactive tour of a home/facility.  Unlike a video that’s hands free, a virtual tour engages the user and offers them to watch a guided tour hands-free or allows them to interact with the experience.  We’ve seen virtual tours that incorporate stills, panoramas (up to 360 degree sweeps) and video.   Virtual tours are like video games.  They are designed to engage the viewer in the experience.  The viewer can jump randomly from image to image, drag the panorama left or right and with some tours, select floating symbols that take them to other locations in the tour.   Some technologies also incorporate integrated floor plans into their virtual tours.  Select an icon in the kitchen and have the kitchen image show up in the viewer.

Unlike still photography, both video and the panoramas found in virtual tours help the viewer understand adjacencies (relationships between rooms – how the spaces flow together).  As discussed, the video is a hands-free, sit back and relax format while a virtual tour is an Inspection Tool, allowing the viewer to see what they want, when they want it.   Also, similar to video technology, virtual tours can also include music and voice overs to their service.   Because virtual tours are interactive, they cannot be directly uploaded to YouTube.  Most virtual tour companies will offer to convert their tours into a video format and upload the tour to the realtor’s YouTube channel for a nominal fee.

So, when deciding what media platform you want to use, consider all the benefits of each individual format listed above.  They all have strong positive results.  Also remember that a great media presentation makes the world of difference when trying to convey what you’re trying to sell.   Posting a clear and complete visual picture to the buyer will help draw them to your listing(s).

Happy selling!

Michael Basch – President – Virtual Access Tours