Get ready to take on the future! Here are three ways you can start using VR for real estate right now to stay on the cutting edge of tech!
Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team gave developers and marketers alike a lot to think about after the F8 2017 Conference last week.
And they’ve got big plans. Not only does Zuckerberg see the smartphone becoming obsolete, but Facebook is already planning ways for people to experience social media and the digital world as a mixed-reality phenomenon.
This may both excite and frighten social media (and smartphone) users, but there are some great things happening here for you as an agent.
Last year, Easy Agent took us through a brief crash course on VR for real estate and we’re back today to give you three concrete ways that you can take action with this technology today.
Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Virtual reality is taking the world by storm. When it comes to VR for real estate, you need to know where this cutting edge tech fits in and how you can best use it to serve your clients.
Let’s get one thing straight.
Even with the rise of virtual and augmented reality and chatbots — we can’t forget all of the bots — you as the agent are irreplaceable.
You exist as the very link that can connect people to the latest innovations. You are the gatekeeper. Let this empower you.
There’s absolutely no reason to be intimidated by these technologies once you learn how to tame them.
In your workflow, technology should be used to automate marketing, lead gen, and immediate follow-up efforts. More and more, your focus should be on offering exceptional service and building relationships.
In today’s self-service economy, VR for real estate can help you do all this and more.
But how does it work?
Basically VR for real estate looks like this:
- Record a 360 video of a home
- Host it on a video platform with lead capture
- Now prospects can experience a home in virtual reality
VR For Real Estate Starter Pack
Before you can start offering VR for real estate to your clients, you should try it out for yourself.
Order the Google Cardboard headset to get a taste of the new VR tech hitting the mainstream.
Check out the price in the upper left corner.
At this price, you can even consider sending a pair or two out to your hottest leads and best clients.
You’ll also need a smartphone. Use it while you can!
Then just download the Cardboard app.
The phone connects to the headset and so begins your VR experience. Google Cardboard is supported by both Android phones and iPhones.
See it in action here:
Now, let’s talk about how you’re actually going to record 360 video of your listings to capture more leads with VR for real estate.
If you’re an iPhone user, take a look at the Splash app. It also supports Google Cardboard VR.
Android users can also experiment with Google Street View.
Lastly, you need to consider video hosting.
This goes far beyond Youtube. While we are all about putting consistent content on Youtube, it’s not necessarily the best way to push leads directly to your website to opt-in. You also don’t want to have to fight for attention between ads when trying to show a new 360 video listing.
We recommend video hosting with Wistia.
The best part? Wistia actually comes with lead capture technology. Analytics, heatmaps, CTAs, email capture, SEO…just to name a few!
You also have control over where videos are played and how they appear via search and social media.
Once you upload your video in Wistia, you can customize it, upload it to your website and share it via social. The site has a ton of video and online tips and tutorials to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
So, now that you’ve got your toolbelt on. Let’s see what we can do with VR for real estate.
Grab Homebuyer Leads Remotely
90 percent of home buyers searched online during their home buying process. This stat shouldn’t surprise you. Part of the self-service generation is having the freedom to take action on your own time and get instant results.
For most, house shopping online isn’t that different than browsing Amazon.com. The consumer expectation is the same, though you and I both know that not even the Amazon empire can make house shopping easy.
Only you can.
Think about the hundreds, if not thousands, of expired listings floating around online. Imagine how many poor photos are stacked up misrepresenting beautiful properties, while others are filtered to death to try and hide unsightly renovations along with the spots that still need some serious TLC.
With VR for real estate, you’ll be knocking listings out of the park. And forget about virtual tours. You’ll be able to give each lead a completely immersive room-by-room experience. No more unflattering photos or lighting setups.
Show 10 Homes Without Leaving Yours
Taking things a step further, you no longer have to host open houses every weekend. Or rather, you can give complete home tours from the comfort of your own.
Now, of course there is a lot to be said for giving buyers a tangible, in-person open house experience, but this isn’t always doable.
If you are having luck targeting leads remotely, there’s already a decent chance they don’t live directly in your area yet. Maybe they’re looking to move to it from a nearby town or suburb, or perhaps they’re relocating for work.
Instead of having to fly out for a weekend and quickly tour as many properties as possible, you can guide them through the perfect matches from your couch.
Heck, you can even create virtual neighborhood guides!
Stand Out With This Facebook Ad
Once you get acquainted with the technology, you can use your new skills to make a Facebook video ad to advertise and capture more leads. Facebook is clearly prioritizing videos and video ads right now, so this is a great one to make as soon as possible.
Record your 360 video and put it on Facebook. Agent Cole Holley from Holley Real Estate did it with a drone, but it’s a similar concept.
Cole actually landed a buyer and seller listing off this ad!
Just record a minute of 360 footage highlighting a recent listing. You can show off the landscape, yard and any noteable features inside the property.
Cole achieved success with this ad through interest-based targeting.
He used fishing as his targeted interest and that proved to be a powerful influencer in his campaign.
Choose 1-2 interests max on a Facebook ad to help keep it as concentrated as possible.
Luckily, it’s very common to get a cost per view of around $0.01 which is insanely cheap advertising. Even if your video doesn’t generate immediate lead generation results, they work very well for effective brand exposure.
I say this because you may have to try a few different interests before you find the one or two that stick and get you leads. Consider your location, what your area is known for and the features of the property and surrounding landscape.
Let’s do a quick review…
- Grab a Google Cardboard Headset
- And the app
- Record a virtual tour on your smartphone
- Upload it to Wistia
- Embed it on your website
- Share it on your social networks
- Create a video ad to get leads and listings
BONUS ROUND – Augmented Reality
Your brains are probably pretty full at this point, but we’ve got just one more area to cover before you dive into the possibilities of VR for real estate.
If you thought virtual reality was out there, just wait until you see what’s happening with AR!
Though if you were part of the Pokemon Go hype, you already know what’s happening here.
In application, AR for real estate is really intriguing for advertising new developments. Imagine being able to look at a photo or blueprint of a new luxury condo complex being built. You could meet with a client and turn it into an interactive home model simulation.
Of course, AR technology hasn’t come as far as VR for real estate just yet, but it’s definitely something to watch.
Realtor.com has already caught onto the trend and released two AR tools for their Android app to support augmented reality house hunting.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about VR for real estate! And let us know when you make your first video!
Owner & Operator,
The Elite Group
Largest Home Inspection Company in North America
Best Selling Author “Secrets Of Top Producing Real Estate Agents: And How To Duplicate Their Success.”