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Author: benhancockjr Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 127729  
Subject: Virtual Tours Date: 8/16/2006 9:51 PM
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Any opinions on the effectiveness of using a virtual tour when marketing listing your house for sale? My wife and I are getting ready to put our townhouse on the market. We are using an agent, but she does not typically use virtual tours as part of her marketing package.

Thanks!
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Author: ToddTruby Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 97968 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/16/2006 9:58 PM
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When shopping for a house, the fact that it had or didn't have a virtual tour made absolutely no differnce to me. I surfed for hours and hours from 1200 miles away and found many houses that met my criteria and subsequently had my realtor show me.

Ultimately, I bought a house that my realtor found for me without any help from my online search.

I think pictures, especially multiple pictures are helpful because I often wouldn't even click on a listing without pictures, but the virtual tour was fairly useless. The few that had them do not in any way give a realistic picture of the property.

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Author: bpeli Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 97971 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/16/2006 11:30 PM
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When I was looking, I appreciated the virtual tours, but a picture of every room was just as good. I hated getting a look only at the outside, because I was never able to get a feeling for how well the house was maintained. Also, all the houses with virtual tours just happened to be the best looking places.

Ben

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Author: Watty56 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 97976 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/17/2006 12:26 PM
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The quality and quantity of the photos was by far more important.

Keeping the photos current is also important. It is surprising how often you see photos with things like; snow on the ground, leaves on or off the trees when that season was several months ago.

My other pet peeve is pictures taken on overcast days. While it might be necessary to get the photos online quickly, they should updated with sunny pictures as soon as possible. The sunny pictures show much better.

The last time I was house hunting, I really tried to not use the photos very much because even with a good photographer, some house photos just don't do the house justice because of difficulties in getting the right perspective.

Greg



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Author: LLRinCO Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 97977 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/17/2006 12:45 PM
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I hate it when the pictures show a pretty sunset (does that come with the house??) Or pictures of a pool that turns out to be a community pool, a huge yard that turns out to be a nearby park or view pictures that aren't even taken from the property. Another annoyance is a picture of a bed or other furnishings that aren't included with the house and don't really show the room at all.

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Author: zol Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 97981 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/17/2006 2:43 PM
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What do you find useful when viewing pictures? I ask because I'm taking pictures of our house for the listing and found some challenges. For instance, one of the rooms is empty (no furniture, only a lamp). What do I include in the picture - the carpet, the ceiling, the window...? Trying to give perspective as to how big is the room is a little tricky since the camera is not a wide-angle camera and there are walls that would block the view from farther away.

I think that the pictures that showed more details were the ones that I took from above (standing on a chair or a step ladder) and from a distance. Unfortunately, that is not possible for every room. Any other tips?

- zol

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Author: JEDIKNIGHT Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98003 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/17/2006 7:24 PM
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Ben...

FWIW...

As a prospective buyer, I love virtual tours on websites and say "10" homes come up in a search, I do click the ones with tours 1st. My Wife also likes them because while nothing substitutes the real walk-thru, you can really "picture" the house.

Even when buying a house for investment purposes, I really appreciate the virtual tour feature. I feel that we Americans are a virtual consumer. SURE SURE SURE we like to go see the house, or kick the tires at a car dealer's showroom, but we love getting as MUCH info as we can beforehand. It's an information society. It's a "I want it now" consumer in my opinion.

If the house has some unique features to it, or certain rooms look really cozy or nice I'd go virtual. If it's vanilla, i'd not worry about it.


Good luck!!! Hope the sale does you right!

jedi

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Author: JEDIKNIGHT Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98006 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/17/2006 7:31 PM
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One more thing.

This will sound goofy but I believe in old fashioned marketing.

On a virtual tour, the scenery, the feel, small things count.

Pretend you looked at...the "foyer" of 3 different homes. But say ONE Virtual tour has a lovely, perfectly colored bouquet of flowers in the foyer, looking sharp on the picture. Sub consciously, people note that in their overall 1st impression. IMO, the internet is not to SELL a house or car, but to sell the appointment. To produce a live prospect.

Same way in cars, a business where 70% of buyers now check the 'net before shopping. The best internet-saavy dealers have multiple pics of the car. The background is a planned one, not the darn garage. The really good ones actually hose-down the pavement where the car sits, cause the wet pavement enhances the look of the car.

just my 2 cents. I'm no realtor...



Jedi

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Author: LLRinCO Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98013 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/18/2006 3:04 AM
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Zol -

Take a picture of the home's features. Fireplace, any built-ins, kitchen for sure, master bath, any room that is newly remodeled or updated or unique (sunroom, sauna, game room, etc). Exterior front and back showing any decks, patios, landscaping, pool, pond, view from house if there is one. Avoid steet scene with cars (people will think it's off of a busy street) the neighbors house if it's really close, weedy yards, dead plants, cluttered table tops and rooms, trash, dirty dishes, overflowing trash cans, etc (I have seen all these in house pictures and it doesn't help!).

Stage the room for pictures - remove the chair from in front of the fireplace, furniture blocking a window or crowded in, refrigerators full of pictures and magnets (somehow that becomes the focus of the picture), clothes on the floor or thrown over furniture, etc.

I like to take one from the top of the stairs looking down or bottom looking up if it has high ceilings and shows the home's openess. Picture of basement if there is one. I have been known to stand on a ladder in the corner to try and capture a rooms size. Key is to get far back and shut the window coverings to block out incoming light. Inside use a flash, of course.

Linda

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Author: coolnewbie One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98018 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/18/2006 3:08 PM
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Zol,

Being in the market for a house I will share some of my experiences when searching for homes online.

I usually like to see different pictures of the home (both from the inside and the outside) that is for sale. By that I mean it will be very nice to include a picture of all the rooms in the house. I would recommend taking one shot from the entrance to the room and one from the diagonally opposite (or the farthest corner from the entrance to the room) to give a good idea of the size of the room and also to cover everything possible in the pictures. And as some of them have already mentioned, its better to keep the pictures current as it saves time both for you, your agent, the buyer and the buyer's agent. This gives a realistic picture of what the buyer is getting as compared to pictures that are out dated. Also I might be going a little overboard here by stating this following line: If the house is clean, looks well maintained, with less clutter, it goes a long way in tilting the balance, simply because that tells me at least for the sake of taking pictures the owners are going that extra mile to ensure that the house is appealing. This is just me and I know I cannot read too much into just pictures and make a guess, but it helps!

Make sure the rooms are well lit, I have seen pictures that have been taken in absolute darkness and those are real turnoffs. It doesn't necessarily have to be sunny outside and the sunlight be streaming in through the windows. A well lit room with most of the details covered will be sufficient.

To your point about not having a camera with a wide-angle lens, I'd say if you have a friend that's more than just a point-n-shooter in photography, ask him/her to do you a favor and take some good pictures (don't mean to offend you or your photography skills here). If you have furniture in the rooms, it gives the prospective buyer an idea of what can fit and how the rooms can be decorated. But again, this is just me.

Regarding virtual tours, I have a mixed opinion about them. Some of the tours I have looked at have helped me picture the layout and also given me a very realistic idea if all my stuff can fit into the house thereby saving me sometime. However, I should say that pictures are definitely better than tours. If you can take a couple of shots that give the buyer an idea of how close your neighbors are (if you happen to be in a subdivision), that can be helpful too. I had seen a picture of a lovely house in a subdivision and was quite interested in it from the pictures I saw. However, a drive to the place put me off totally, because the house was sandwiched between two other houses and I could see what the neighbors were doing when I went to see the house. The parking in and around the house was totally opposite from what I had expected to see. The roads were very narrow with very limited parking (which can be a big issue sometimes).

These are just a few thoughts that come to my mind but again as someone has said, it is totally dependent on the buyer and his/her/their interests. However, pictures and virtual tours do add that little "extra" which might help in selling your house faster. Good luck with your sale!

Cheers,
Coolnewbie
Smile and be happy :)

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Author: zol Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98027 of 127729
Subject: Re: Virtual Tours Date: 8/18/2006 5:20 PM
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Thanks Linda and Coolnewbie. I need two more pics (master bedroom and master bathroom) to add to the listing.

- zol

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