The Future of Virtual House Tours

Real estate is ever-changing, and perhaps the biggest change to occur in the last few years has been the development of virtual house tours. These virtual tours allow access to homes on the market from anywhere in the world–taking the headache out of homebuying. In the past, needing to purchase a new home meant hours of screening, coordinating with an agent, and making the drive over to tour in person. If your new home was in a different state, well, good luck. Not to mention, the constant edge of anxiety present when all the home can be judged on is a few grainy pictures–meaning you’ll never really know what you’re walking into during your tour. With the advancement of virtual touring, however, buyers can perform in-depth screenings of their homes without ever needing to get off the couch. With advancing technology, you can truly see every corner of the home without having ever left yours. Just like the house itself, virtual tours are multi-faceted, and there are a few distinct technologies that blend together to create the perfect online listing.

  • 360 photography
  • Interactive touring
  • Mobile app for 360 tours

360 Photography

360 photography is changing the e-commerce business in every industry, not just real estate. Using 360 photography means catching every angle of your product. For example, in fashion photography, some companies use a “studio” in which a model can stand as a camera moves around to take photos. In real estate, this is most often done by using a specialized camera stand that allows the camera to swivel completely around. A similar feature exists on newer smartphones, under the “pano” feature in the camera app: the user is prompted to pan their phone to the side as they hold down the camera button, resulting in a photo that captures around 180 degrees. Another common use of 360 photography is Google street view. If you’ve ever tried to look at a property in Google Maps and marveled at the view of the entire neighborhood, you can thank 360 photography. Of course, Google uses a unique blend of cameras, stands, and cars to travel and take those photos, but the same concept applies to real estate.

Interactive Touring

Another key feature of Google street view is the bit where the user can choose to move either direction within the photo. You can take in the neighboring houses, or pan further on down the street to see how the whole block holds up. Within the realm of real estate, tours have taken on interactive properties as well. With a special camera stand, the photographer will move throughout the house to take 360 photos at the chosen spots. In a virtual tour, those chosen spots are the points at which a user can move to, viewing the space from a new perspective. Once the user has moved to those spots, essentially taking the place of the camera stand, they have the freedom to pan completely around in either direction. This allows the potential buyer to gain an understanding of the layout and atmosphere of the house–for example, how large the kitchen extends and how much room is allowed for a dining area. If an interactive tour is prepared properly, the user will have access to every room in the home, with plenty of vantage points. The point of virtual tours is to provide an in-depth view of the house that replicates what a traditional, in-person tour would accomplish–just removing the ‘in-person” factor. Therefore, an interactive tour should feel like a self-guided tour through the house. 

Mobile App

While it’s true that traditionally, a specialized camera stand (and a camera) are required to create a quality tour, that’s changing. The use of a mobile app allows the user to create a tour using their phone in a similar manner to the “pano” photography mentioned above. Most apps will include prompts and directions to the photography to ensure quality pictures are taken. For example, the CloudPano app will tell its user to pan up or down in order to capture optimal angles. With an app, creating a tour is possible for photographers of all levels–and with any budget.  All you need is your smartphone. Of course, if you’re looking to create a truly professional looking tour with your smartphone’s camera and the app, there are additional accessories–but again, they are optional. Just like a specialized stand exists for cameras, a stand also exists for smartphones. This would function just like the stands mentioned above, where the phone would be stabilized on top with the ability to swivel completely around. Instead of spending hours researching cameras, and then shelling out thousands for whichever one you pick, you can use the camera already sitting in your back pocket and save time and money.

Cloud Pano

When it comes to mobile apps with all the latest virtual touring software, CloudPano can’t be beat. Their app is just like your home–the best on the market–and allows for a user-friendly experience. Selling your home is stressful enough without the added pressure of professional photography. CloudPano aims to take that weight off your shoulders and put the reins back in your hands, saving time and money. For a video that shares everything you need to know about the app, check here. You can also browse their website to see real examples of virtual tours come to life, or explore stands and other accessories.

The most important thing to remember is that virtual tours aim to enhance the home-buying and selling experience–not worsen it. The goal is to reduce stress and save money, while presenting the best version of your home. If those goals aren’t met, it may be time to explore new software or consult a tutorial for helpful tips. With the right virtual tour software, you have the power to go anywhere–choose wisely!

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