panorama software,virtual tour software
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Joined: 2005-03-09
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Posts: 67
2008-08-21
#1

real estate tours

For those getting into real estate,

I have been following other threads that mention real estate and pricing so just jumping in with some thoughts.  Price not quality is a big selling point with many agents in my area.  They are spending their own money to market the home so the less they spend then the more they make when they sell the property (if they sell).  As a tour producer you need an outlet to Realtor.com.  If you cannot post there then the agents will not use you.  In my area the local MLS also needs a non-branded or IDX compliant tour.  This tour has no reference to the agent or brokerage.  So you are really making two tours because agent wants all the branding for their local site and Realtor.com.  There are many low cost national providers that offer "virtual tours" that are really just slide shows from stills the agents upload.  Hard to compete with their pricing so be ready to show what value you bring for your higher price.  Agents also want high resolution stills (300 dpi) for print.  So you are making two sets of stills with one for web size and resolution and one for print.  You also need to get all of these links and photos to the agents.  Some want a CD while others want to download from your site.  Have a plan and service fees ready for these time consuming chores.

Good luck to all,
TTurner  

 

 


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2008-08-22
#2
Hey tturner,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I'm guessing that you or someone close to you is a realtor.   You say that the realtors in your area are more concerned about pricing than quality because they are spending their own money.

This is the very thing that sends my blood pressure soaring...(sorry jerry)

Let's take a closer look at what is really happening.   MY HOME which is for sale by owner is priced at $295,000.00
Now let's say I have some sort of brain fart and call an agent to sell my house. This agent will make %3 as the listing agent alone...= $8,850.00 Not to mention if the listing agent also becomes the selling agent who will now receive %6 which is $17,700.00.

So what was that you were saying about the agent spending their own money? I do not mean to sound like a jack a$$ here and hope that you can respect my opinion. But really let's face it, even if you are not the selling and listing agent your paycheck is still $8,850.00.

Realtors are just that...(realtors) not photographers. Except a few good ones, love ya jerry. Should I eat another bean and continue with the brain fart of hiring a realtor, I want that person to do their very best job. Doing the best job possible means researching my neighborhood, schools in the area, crime rate and host of other things that do not include photography.

Now this agent has my home to sell and informs me she has chosen company A over company B for virtual tour production. I ask agent, why company A? company B looks so much better with what I've seen on the internet. Agent looks stupid and is at a loss for words.

When everyone here figures out that they are "PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS" and not some $6.00 per hour OBEO grunt, we will all reap the benefits.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, do you take your family to the local Wal-Mart for portraits? or do you spend the extra money and take them to a professional?

My work does not hold a candle to many users on this forum. However, I will not be run over by real estate agents earning %3 - %6 on their sales.

THIS TOUR was shot yesterday morning at 0900 and was finished up and online 7 hours later. Profiting me $450.00 which is nearly $65.00 per hour...not tour

Best regards,
Pixel
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2008-08-22
#3
JMHO, but you are both right. And it wasn't too long ago that just about anyone could drive a post in the ground and sell the house. Those days are gone for a while, and a lot of realtors will be gone as well. Matthew, if you can get those prices, more power to you. But despite what you might have read lately ( ) the area that I work in is "owned" by OBEO, and Circle Pics. Low cost, high volume, no creativity. But thats OK. I don't want to own the world, I just want to do the best job I can for my clients. I'll try and find the link again, but Realtor.com is losing it's standing as the premier realestate site, being replaced by local MLS search engines, and improved local agents web sites. IIRC it was Zwillo that is being sued for providing mis-leading information. Again, JMHO, but the best thing we can do for ourselves, homeowners, and the realtors that are our clients is to continue to rase the bar on quality and service, and educate as many people as posable as to the benefits that a quality tour provides.
Vince

ETA: and be nice to each other.
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2008-08-22
#4
I think this all goes to show that every market is different. I have made a better than average living producing real estate tours and floor plans for over 3 years now and I love what I do and love working with 98% of the great clients I have. I have focused on quality, quality, quality, not quantity. Agents who don't care about a quality tour usually go with a do-it-yourself solution and there isn't much you can do to change their mind (until one of their clients demands your work).

Most Realtors are good business people and understand that you get what you pay for. All of my top clients say they like my services because I make them look good. I do good work for them and I treat their clients right and when the Realtors clients are happy the Realtor is happy.

I think that most tour providers make the mistake of focusing all of their time on their 'craft' instead of the client... All standard business rules apply here - If you want Realtors to be loyal to you and come to you for all their listings you must build a relationship with them and earn their trust. That's it. You'll have a client for life. Pat yourself on the back and repeat.
Will Best
Virtual Impressions Inc.
Real Estate Virtual Tours and Floor Plans
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2008-08-22
#5

Enjoyed the discussion. Would like your opinions on pricing for this tour and any improvements I can make on it?

HorizonTours

Your input is appreciated.

TourRook

 


TourRook
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2008-08-22
#6
Hi TourRook, I looked at your tour and if I may I am not quite sure the enduser will get it right away with the difference between stills and panos especially with the dropdown menu (even if you point out the _0360 for panos)

I would rather separate the still and the vr (especially on a drop down menu when the mix can be confusing / even for the next button). It's just a remark about the ergonomy.


thierry
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2008-08-22
#7

Hi Pixel,  when you get that brain fart please do me a favor. Call me and let me find you a Realtor. Not only will I find you a great Realtor but I will also get a referral fee from the listing agent. That is very common in the business. As a matter of fact I have two referrals setting on my desk now for over 400K in sales.
You make a good point Pixal that most Realtor's are not photographers (thanks for the exception). But by the same token most photographers are not Realtor's. When you are out looking for work do not tell them you have your house listed as a FSBO. They will take offense. Word will get out that you are trying to cut into their line of work but you want them to do business with you. I personally know of a home inspector who tried to sell his home as a FSBO. Well he almost lost his business because Realtor's would not hire him to do home inspections, and he was one of the top inspectors in the area. Statics show that most FSBO's net less than if they had listed from the start. The reason is it's not an "arms length" transaction. Let me get close to a FSBO with my buyer and I will eat them up, they will give up the farm every time. But if you do try the FSBO route please tell me that you will pay a buyers commission to a Realtor, because they have the buyers. Can't remember the exact number but it's something like only 3% of all FSBO's ever sell their homes without the use of a Realtor on one side of the transaction.
Now having said all that, in the interest of full disclosure I do have to admit that I did sell my mother's house as a FSBO before I got into real estate. But my brother is an ex-realtor.
But you know I wish you only the best in your efforts. I know everyone needs to save a buck if they can.

TourRook, It's hard for us to put a price on tours in another area. Pricing will also depend on the market. I believe Pixel gets $50 a scene in the Charlotte NC area. I could only demand that kind of money if it's an expensive home, say over 500K. And I only live 100 miles from Pixel. What equipment are you using? I do agree with tbrusson, I would can the stills and maybe put them in a slide show with a link button. To have a couple of stills of maybe the subdivision sign and the front of the home is OK. That can speed the loading time. As for the quality, the images are OK but you appear to have some smudges on the lens. You do have some blown out windows/lights issues. But that is something the members of this forum can help you over come if you ask. You are using the standard version of TW. If you want to look like a pro you have to present yourself as a pro. You need to get the pro version as soon as you can and get rid of the Easypano advertising. I understand money may be an issue but I'm sure you've heard the old saying you have to have money to make money. If you truly want to make this a profession you need to try to find the funds. It's like any other business, you have the be funded to stay in business. But if you're in it just to shoot a tour every now and then to make a buck then you're good to go.

Ok everybody that's my 2 cents worth........


Nikon D300, D3s, Nikon 10.5 lens, RingT105N+Footplate+MrotatorTCPs, Giottos MT9261 Tripod, Manfrotto 410 Jr geared head.

If you know the "secret" then everyday is a good day!
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2008-08-22
#8

No Pixel I am not a realtor or close friends with any just have some as clients.  Every market is different and the national providers also serve my area heavily.  Just did a quick check of my neighborhood zip in east Dallas on Realtor.com.  They had 180 homes listed with prices from $54,222 - $2,499,000.  Of these homes 8 had panoramic virtual tours from the nationals, 5 had panoramic vt's from local providers (1 was mine), and 4 had slideshows from national companies.  So there are a lot of agents working this area that do not feel the need for professional services.  This number goes along with what my hosting services states for panoramic VT penetration in all of the DFW area as less than 20%.  I would say most of the homeowners are not complaining about the photography or there would be a higher percentage done by professionals.  Even the "professional" work by some companies is not much better than the agent shot homes.  I started this thread to let those just getting in know that there is more to this than just good photography.  As others have stated there is constant customer service and also training on our part because the agents just do not often know all that it takes to get this done.  BTW the agents don't get to keep all of the 3 or 6 % unless they are also the broker.  Brokers here get 40% I have been told and the 3 and 6% is also negotiable downward.  Pixel if you can sell at $50 / scene then that is great.  $25 and less is the norm here so that is why I put more of my marketing efforts into more commercial type ventures.  But with so many homes in my area needing good photography I may shake a few realtors trees next week.

Good Luck,
TTurner  

 

 


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2008-08-23
#9

One more idea for realtor shooters.  If you do not take credit cards yet then get signed up.  You loose a few % on your fee but you do not have to worry about collections.  I get the agents card number before the shoot and process the billing when I am finished with the tour posting.  Two days later I have the money and send out an invoice for their records marked as paid.

TTurner


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2008-08-23
#10

As a realtor I can give you marketing tips on how to sell your tours. Very effective ones I use. You have to keep in mind the commission realtors make is not what you might think. About 90% of the time an MLS realtor will sell your listing which means 50% to the selling office and 50% to the listing office......then there is a franchise fee usually taken off the top. From that expenses, advertising, E & O insurance, MLS dues, licensing fees and usually an office bill for somethings, etc,etc,etc. Splits between office and agent. The Golden rule as a realtor IS 20% of the Agents make 80% of the money. It is not as glamorous or as lucrative as it may appear for most agents.

Keeping your costs for tours down is imperative, I think to be successful.

A trick I use often is I email each agent in their office a link to the Virtual Tour immediately after completion. It is a very competitive business among most agents. If one agent is providing a service and they are not, they lose. Tours should be built to effectively sell the house sight unseen online. I have had this happen more than once. An offer from Colorado on a house in Wis, never physically viewed until closing.  I think V Tours are the future and will eventually replace the need for showings, etc... Have V Tour flyers made up for the agents listing presentations, featuring Tour advantages, etc.. It will help them get listings and YOU Tour business. When you do your tours ask the homeowner for their email address, then send them the Tour of their home, Most sellers will rave about it and send positive comments back to you. Forward these to the listing agents and use the testimonials for promo ads. Include the testimonials in the office email circular containing the new tour. Especially if you are doing a tour for a Top Producer, most agents striving for success and remaining competitive will take note and follow suit.

I don't hold myself out to be an expert with Virtual Tours not even close but I do know a few things about marketing to agents and above all homeowners.

 

Hope this helps.....I have more tips too but I think I went too long now.

TourRook

 

 

 


TourRook