Sellers August 10, 2022

Do You Need a “Virtual Tour” in a hot sellers market?

Woman wearing a virtual reality headset to view a virtual tourI hear agents say, “we don’t need to have a virtual tour on our listings; we get plenty of activity without them.” Hmm, so do we need pictures of the property? Maybe we just need 1 picture of the front of the home to at least meet the minimum requirements of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Of course, no listing agent will limit the number of pictures to one. Most listings have at least a dozen pictures, and many have far more. We take great pride in providing our clients with top-notch, often professional pictures of the home. So why do we do this?

Short Virtual Tour clipThere are multiple benefits to having lots of great pictures for our listings. We want the buyers to get a feel for the home and decide if they want to see it in person. In this fast-paced market, we have buyers making home offers, sight unseen, using just the information provided within the MLS.

So, for all the reasons that we need pictures in our MLS advertising, I believe that a fully immersive virtual tour is even more important. Why would we want to show a few pictures of a home when we can allow the buyers to walk through the home at their own pace, on their schedule, and not inconvenience the sellers unless they already love what they see and want to go in person?

We often expect the first offers to come in on a new listing within hours of publication. History has shown us that the most motivated buyers tend to be the first ones to send us offers, and they tend to be the strongest offers presented. Why not give the buyer that isn’t able to see the property in the first day or two a chance to submit the highest and best offer?

There tend to be two reasons that agents opt not to provide a virtual tour for a seller. The first reason tends to be the price! Why would a listing agent spend a couple of hundred dollars if they don’t have to? I’ll tell you why, because it gives our sellers the best chance of truly getting the highest and best offer in that first batch of offers. The next reason I hear is that the seller is rushing to get the home on the market, so there isn’t time to get the tour created and published.
Given that a full Mattorport tour can usually be ordered and created within three days, it seems difficult to understand this objection. Just for clarification, I should mention that I am referring to only a full Matterport virtual tour. There was a time when we would string pictures of a home together into a slideshow with some music and call it a virtual tour. Those days are over (at least they should be). If the tour doesn’t allow the prospective buyer to walk around, specifically look at the features that interest them, and even measure walls and openings, it isn’t much of a virtual tour!

We know buyers spend more time looking at listings with lots of pictures. They will spend even more time looking if that listing has an immersive virtual tour with it.

NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers