Here’s 7 Reasons Why Housebuilders Need to Offer Virtual Tours
If you’re a house builder, property developer or in marketing & sales at an estate agent, you’re always looking at the best way to position your real estate to the buyer – whoever that may be.
Like any industry, we’re all driven by the end-customer and to offer the best experience for that business or individual, we need to adapt to their wants, needs and requirements.
A Remote Working World
In a world where technology has accelerated our digital economy and with swathes of the UK population now working remotely, property-tech has seen a boom in the last year as the sector looks to acclimatise to a market that wants more digital accessibility. The end-customer has been conditioned by other platforms they use on a daily basis; think about it, Amazon Prime, Deliveroo, Netflix, Spotify and more have provided instant gratification and instant accessibility for everything from content to groceries.
These platforms have created an end-customer that seeks more flexibility and accessibility in the property search and buying process. A key part of that process for any buyer is viewing a potential home and virtual tours are the perfect tool to offer a buyer more flexibility and the ability to view a place from home.
7 Reasons why Virtual Tours are the Answer
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together seven compelling reasons as to why everyone from housebuilders to house-sellers need to consider virtual tours in their marketing toolkit. Now, that’s not to say we aren’t big fans of getting hands-on with a property, but these seven benefits show how virtual tours can support your in-person offering.
Done well, virtual tours are a great way of elevating any property’s online profile and giving potential buyers a thorough look through the window from the comfort of their sofa. But, how can a virtual tour help sell a property?
Reason 1) Starting Selling Earlier
For a property developer or housebuilder, we know the planning process takes months of hard work and can often be an arduous process. With virtual tours, as soon as planning permission is achieve, you can accelerate your route to market through the power of CGI virtual tours. With this type of virtual tour, you can recreate a digitally-real interpretation of your development, giving a potential buyer the foretaste of an in-person visit.
Reason 2) Customer Convenience
Virtual tours ensure your prospective buyers can view the entire property remotely, not just a selection of rooms and angles dictated by a photographer like a typical online listing. This gives prospective buyers full viewing control from the comfort of their sofa and they can take a virtual tour at a time that suits them, in amongst a busy schedule.
With in-person viewings, there can be significant cost and time investment for potential customers. This can actually alter how their mindset approaches a new property. If a prospective buyer has paid a significant amount in travel expenses, then the viewing experience needs to match that investment – the pressure is on and viewers turn up with higher expectations! With virtual tours, prospective buyers don’t need to invest money into travel to view a property. Enabling the buyer to view a property, in a thorough and controllable fashion, from the comfort of their home gives them the trust and confidence to purchase.
Basically, virtual tours are just more convenient for the customer. It means if they do turn up in person further down the line, you know they are more likely to be interested having scoped out the property online first.
Reason 3) Save Your Resources
On the flip-side, virtual tours also ensure your internal resource isn’t wasted on hosting hours of in-person viewings. Estate agent and property developer teams spend much of their weekly schedule booking in and hosting in-person viewings that often lead nowhere. This is costly for your business, as staff aren’t spending their time on reaching out to leads and focusing their efforts, energy and expertise on closing valued sales and generating crucial revenue. A virtual tour ensures customers are receiving the same level of expertise and the same level of detail, without demanding the time of your employees.
This unlocks minds in the business to spend their time focusing on what drives revenue for the business and following up on leads that have already completed a virtual tour and therefore warmed up to purchasing real estate.
Reason 4) Qualify Leads
We’ve touched on this in the reasons above but virtual tours are a great way to qualify a lead, if they turn up in person after viewing a virtual tour, they’re already a few steps further down the sales funnel – which is good news for those of you selling property! It’s just like selling a car, if they come back after a great test drive, everything is looking rosey.
With housing, unlike most purchases, prospective buyers usually visit a property only once or maybe twice. But for many people this isn’t enough to nudge them over the line to purchase. With virtual tours, customers can revisit the property and every detail of every room, at any stage of the purchase process.
Reason 5 ) Content Marketing
The king of marketing is content. The best way to sell a house is to let it sell itself and virtual tours are a brilliant showcase of your best listings. If the virtual tours are top draw quality, any listing suddenly becomes a walking promotion online.
Real estate agents invest thousands every year on promotional material and advertising campaigns to promote their listings. Virtual tours have the dual benefit of being a powerful tool to showcase a property whilst also being promotional and quantifiable advertising for your listings. All good marketing will drive revenue.
A virtual tour can also be cut-down into bite-sized-chunks and reshared across your various channels such as on-site, social, paid media and even inside sales centres. They are very versatile.
Reason 6 ) Build Less Showhomes, Invest in Virtual
Virtual tours are there to enhance the customer experience, not replace the tried and tested methods of getting footfall into show-homes. However, show-homes are costly to build and pick up wear and tear quickly. Usually, up to five are built per development. With a blend of showhomes and virtual tours, that count can come down to one or two. This ensures customers can still experience that vital physical touchpoint of a property but also get the feel and scale of a home through virtual tours.
Reason 7 ) Learn More About Your Customer
If you told our Grandparents that they could learn everything about their customers, the most popular plots, the preferred kitchen layouts, the rooms that caught the most interest, before a customer even stepped in the building – they would have laughed us out the door.
With virtual tours, like any good digital tool, you can analyse the data and performance to generate learnings from your customer set. These learnings can be vital insights on what plots of the development draw the most eyeballs and even show you how to optimise future developments towards customer needs.
How does Performance Data Support Virtual Tours?
Unlike in-person viewings, virtual tours are quantifiable and measurable. They can be measured and optimised, as dwell times and completion rates are captured. With a virtual tour, the marketing team can see which rooms prospective buyers are dwelling on, how long they are spending with the virtual tour and at which stage they ‘bounce out’.
“Real estate agents are reporting figures in the range of 30% – 70% drop in wasted viewings” (that was pre-lockdown).
Digital in the Round – here
Qualitative results have also been clear: applicants view more properties online, visit only properties that they are really interested in, and arrive at a deal faster when virtual tours are employed as a marketing strategy.
“On average, when viewing a 2 bedroom apartment online, people spend 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Property photography gets 3 seconds’ attention and video 48 seconds.”
Digital in the Round – here
EyeSiteView and Virtual Tours
At EyeSiteView, we specialise in virtual tours and providing your end-customer with the richest digital experience of your plot or development.
Photo-real or CGI tours will never fully replace the need to get a customer into a physical showhome. With our seven reasons we’ve shown how virtual tours can complement your existing marketing efforts to save money, time and provide valuable material for content marketing. A good virtual tour will enhance the customer experience and accelerate their journey to purchase.
If you’d like to find out more about virtual tours and the different ones on offer, get in touch with us today to book a demo.
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