Home Selling in Los Angeles>Question Details

Jeff Turner, Other/Just Looking in Los Angeles, CA

How important is a virtual tour in selling a home?

Asked by Jeff Turner, Los Angeles, CA Tue May 15, 2007

Help the community by answering this question:


All of my listings have virtual tours. It is a decision we made months ago. First of all this gets the listing viewed more often on Realtor.com. As an agent, I am frustrated when I see a listing in the MLS with only one photo. I chose just the pictures that highlight the best features about the home. If it is the yard, then that is what I use. We even use them for vacant land and tear downs.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2007
Maureen Fran…, Real Estate Pro in Birmingham, MI
Online viewers are highly visual and want to see as much as they can about products--and especially real estate. That makes it more important than ever for real estate listings have excellent photography and presentation.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 15, 2007
Roberta Murp…, Real Estate Pro in Carlsbad, CA
Wow - lots of agents answering here. Just to be a lone consumer voice...I don't care about virtual tours. Frankly, I find them annoying and usually they are pretty poorly done.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 28, 2007
Thank you for your feedback, I think as agents we often over think. Everyone is busy, I can agree that you just want to see the home's photos at your own pace.
Flag Mon Jun 22, 2015
I feel that it is essential in selling a home and a neighborhood as evidenced by the link below.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 15, 2007
You have gotten this answer before. All of my listings have virtual tours and their own web site. Buyers search on the internet they need pictures.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 20, 2007
These days it is very important to have a virtual tour. First, everyone has one. Second, almost everything is done on the internet these days, including house hunting. So, the more information and media you can put out there the better. Pictures can be deceiving, the virtual tour is usually more true to the house.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 4, 2008
They are nice....but not near the top of the list. In order of priority for the current market:

1) Priced about 10% below the competing listings on similar property in your immediate neighborhood, by an agent who really knows how to adjust for differences between your property and the competing ones (few are really good at this).
2) Clean, Inviting and in good condition always help a property show well, and photograph well.
3) Having multiple ways of marketing the property, as well as many photos in all forms of marketing (at least 10 GOOD photos on the MLS) and as many photos as possible on any other forms of media and marketing.
4) Having a good virtual tour...especially on higher end property.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 15, 2008
Virtual tours work. Over 80% of buyers use the internet to look at homes before they purchase. There are so many homes on the market right now -- a virtual tour will make a house stand out.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2007
Homes with Virtual Tours get substantially higher web hits and generate more out of the area buyers interest than homes without Virtual Tours. The bottom line is going to be the bottom line. Once a buyer is attracted to an area or a home, and contacts a Realtor, the Realtor will probably show them other similar properties to compare too. The Virtual Tour may have been what lured them in, but what home stands out as the "Best Buy" or "Best Value" will get the offer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Photos? VERY important!! You need a good photo of the front of your home (clean it up first: close garage door, remove trash cans, trim landscaping, add mulch, etc). and interior photos that show your home in its best light. Add photos of any special features. For a virtual tour (360 degree tour of home, street, rooms), it depends on the house. These tours tend to load slowly and many folks will just pass them by. Unless you have an extraordinary home or view, it's probably a waste of time and money.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Virtual tours are very important. Buyers want to see the yards and interior shots of properties before they invest their time in personally visiting the home. Part of the time and money spent by a professional Realtor is invested in getting lots of photos of their listings onto as many websites as possible. The National Association of Realtors has found in surveys that prospective Buyers look at dozens of homes online before even contacting a Realtor. If a property doesn't have photos they typically skip over that home.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Over 30% of the people buying homes in the Bryan/College Station market are relocating from another state. This is similar to the statistics I've seen for other markets. Imagine that you are one of these future buyers. We know that over 80% of homebuyers are searching the internet first, before they contact a Realtor or even take a trip to the location. Many of them know nothing about the styles of homes available or the areas. They want to know what type of home they can get for their money. Virtual tours can give them a much better idea of what the home looks like, and used properly, even what the town is like.

They aren't just for the relocating homebuyer by any means! Realtor.com offers real estate professionals the option of uploading a virtual tour. This pushes your home higher than the homes without extra photos or tours, thereby gaining it more notice and a better ability to attract buyers in the homes price range.

Personally I love Real Estate Shows, Jeff Turners company. It gives me the ability to add information about the listing, (more than just the five or six lines many virtual tours provide, it provides a map of the area to that listing, school information and the ability to add as many photos as I'd like.

Chris Tesch
RE/MAX Bryan-College Station
526 University Drive East
Suite 101B
Web Reference: http://www.ChrisTesch.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
I hate them because they are somewhat misleading. Usually the pictures get distorted as you pan either left or right. I have had buyers look at them online and then when we get to the house they swear it isn't the same house. They also tend to make the yard (and other outside shots) look substantially larger than it really is. I prefer to take several "still" photos and post them on my website and/or mls website. Stills are much clearer and more indicative of the actual subject at hand.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 28, 2007
It is obviously extremely important to market your home on the internet. Having said that, how a home should be marketed on the internet depends on many factors. Virtual tours are good for trying to figure out the floor plan of a home, but houses don't sell because they have a good floor plan.
I have found that high end homes tend to suffer at the hand of so-called virtual tours. On the other hand, professional quality photos, especially when presented on proprietary web sites, tend to convey a lot of the excitement in a house, and begins the process of appealing to the emotions. If your house is high end, I would skip the virtual tour and hire a professional photographer to do a bang up job on a website for your property.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 13, 2007
The web drives most marketing these days and the virtual tour drives online listings to the top of the biggest search engines, so in that respect I would say virtual tours are essential in selling a home. However, looking deeper into the tours themselves I question the value of many tours. Some provide a disjointed fish bowl look at a house, others just don't show you enough. Video tours are the wave of the future and the best ones incorporate more than just the house, they show the neighborhood, local shops and restaurants, schools etc. Think of the virtual tour as an opportunity to provide a video job reference with your application. Make it interesting and address the concerns of your target audience and you'll strike a chord.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2007
I think a home tour is very important for people searching for homes via the internet. One of my favorite companies is Real Estate Shows. They offer a quick and easy way of showing off the best features of a home without that bubble look you get with some of the video tours.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2007
Kaye Thomas, Real Estate Pro in Manhattan Beach, CA
It is very important. In our area listings without pictures and virtual tours don't get sold. When 85% of all people seeking to buy a home in the Silicon Valley start online, they want to pre-screen the property before going out to see it. Pictures are worth a 1000 words.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2007
Now that just about everyone is traveling full speed down the information highway, any digital enhancements to a listing are a big plus. Multiple photos loaded onto a listing along with the virtural tour, slideshows and even video (think youtube) clips of the home help to get maximum exposure. Priced right and with more virtual exposure, the faster your home should sell. If you interview an agent and they are not using all the latest digital/web bells and whistles to market homes, call another. Print ads are not cutting it anymore.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 15, 2007
Jeff, I think it depends on the house. I actually got more showings on a listing when I removed a VT from the mls and from my site...it just show the house in the best light.
Web Reference: http://www.judygraff.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 15, 2007
Hey Jeff,
Not very. Sellers love them. Especially if you get a domain name for your property. I think great photos on a personal domain for a property is best. Virtual Tours do not sell houses. Photos sell houses. I'm becoming a big fan of floor plans. There are some companies that do floorplans vs. virtual tours on property websites. I'm finding these are becoming more and more popular.


Monique Carrabba
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 17, 2008
I actually have a very strong opinion about Virtual Tours and their use in real estate marketing in particular. Coming from an SEO Marketing background, I understand the importance of proper presentation and how a well done virtual tour not only may help you sell an individual listing but with regards to marketing, places your contact information, you company branding and markets you to the rest of world better than most other avenues. I am particularly fond of the new layout that justsnooping.com has. They did a very good job of displaying large images in flash but the coolest part of this new layout is the html hidden underneath the flash tour! The reason it is so important, is that with very little effort on my part, I can get it listed and placed very high int he search engines because the html is search engine friendly and includes all the listing information and the contact information about yourself that you also want to market. I am not saying that justsnooping is the only virtual tour company I recommend, but for the purpose of search engine optimization, it is the one that I prefer. My point is simply that you can't just not say "I'm not doing virtual tours because they don't look good" or "they have never helped me get or sell listing ". In my opinion, Virtual Tours are a very desirable complement to your existing Internet marketing strategy and I wonder how you compete in today's market without that. So that I am not marketing myself here, I will put a link to justsnooping.com below as I did reference and recommend them in my post.
Web Reference: http://www.justsnooping.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
Jeff, what a great question. I never thought much about pictures of houses on the Internet till I needed to sell my home. FAST! My agent explained how important having a virtual tour was, I listened but I did not have a clue... then I experienced the response of interested home buyers... coming in to my home and enthusiastically recalling pictures and scenes they saw on line before arriving... they stated how the pictures on line truly represented the features of my home. Also they noticed that the moving images on line had little to no distoration or curvature. One buyer commented that the moving pictures of my back yard were great and that they did not make her dizzy. My agent used a company here in Atlanta called HomeScenes.com My agent tells me that thousands of home buyers visit this web site, this is one of the reasons why she uses them for all her listings. My agent ordered moving images mixed with still images with music, and they also took pictures of the community lake and clubhouse/tennis. I also got a weekly report telling me how many visitors saw my tour... I only needed it for a few weeks! I was told at closing by the buyer that he shopped the Internet for months before he spoke to an agent! He said he passed by dozens of listings that did NOT have pictures or a professional virtual tour and said when the day comes to sell his new home he will have his agent order a tour like mine. To me the virtual tour got the job done and life was easier for all concerned. I can't understand a professional agent not doing something so simple and afordable. Think about it, if your agent refused to put a for sale sign in your front yard or refused to put a lockbox on your front door or refused to put your property in to the multple listing service... would that be acceptable marketing? Would you want that agent? I feel a professional virtual tour should be required with every listing? I hope I have answered your question. Have a nice week in Los Angeles!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 20, 2008
Personally, virtual tours make me dizzy. I think that good pictures give the same result minus the dizziness factor.
Web Reference: http://www.Kathy-Carter.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 20, 2008
It's mandatory in my opinion . I don't use virtual tours anymore, rather I opt for a property website with each listing, such as http://www.123mainstreet.com, which takes the viewer on a scenic tour of the entire home. We want to attract as many live buyers into the home as possible by making it look as nice as possible online, therefore worthy of their time to visit. I can also track how many hits to the site, therefore the level of interest. Example below:
Web Reference: http://www.1801oldranch.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 6, 2008
I can track on my web site how many hits my listings receive, how many of those people look at the additional text and photos and how many run the virtual tour. I've been seeing less then 1% of viewers are running the virtual tour. Having great photos seems much more important. Once a saw the stats I quit during virtual tours unless the seller really wanted it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2007
It's at the top of my list with adding as many professional pictures to the MLS. With most people searching online for a home, its a must! You can see a sample of my virtual tour for one of my listings.
Web Reference: http://www.5224nagle.com/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 22, 2007
Hi Jeff,

Lots of Realtors will say it is vital but I disagree. Pictures are very important to a property but the bottom line to most properties is the price. When I list a home and price the home compettivley I also add 9 to 12 still pictures to the lisiting. I have found this to be successful.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Statistics prove that over 80% of Buyers start their homesearch online and the homes that get the most views are those with the most pictures- including virtual tours. Definately will drive traffic to your home listing and the more people that view the details the more that will want to take a look in person. Of course the price has to be right, it must show well and be a value to sell but there is no doubt that the more people who see it the sooner it will sell!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Hi Jeff:
I see you are in the Los Angeles area. There are a great number of homes for sale in your market. If you are selling a home - the goal is to stand above the crowd... The virtual tour is one means of doing this.

To be fair - one man's tour is not equal to another. Today's software affords the seller a multitude of choices. In the end all the bells and whistles will not do a thing if you don't start the race with the clearest brightest pictures.

So; in conclusion to your question - YES!! YES!! YES!! The virtual tor is vitally important to your SUCCESS in selling a home.

Nuf' said.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
I believe virtual/video tours absolutely adds a lot of value to most properties. I always think of virtual/video tours as mini-trailers to the feature movie (the home for sale). If its done right, more often than not, it will elicit more showings than a home without a tour. However, the technology or provider you choose also makes a huge difference. I've seen virtual tour programs make a property less appealing (i.e. - spinning tours at 80mph) and I've seen tours that was the procuring cause of the purchase. The best tours in my mind are not true video per se but video-like just like RealEstateShows. My only question is why aren't more sellers and listing agents using virtual/video tours when selling their properties ?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Virtual tours are a solid tool provided that they are not of the "fish eye" variety where you get no depth perception. I have an excellent resource that I use for all of my listings. Pictures are great, but I find most buyers have come to expect, and want to see, a tour as well. Still pictures can't give as good of a representation of the floorplan, either. I disagree with the notion that one exterior picture is adequate because the buyer immediately wants to know what's wrong with the inside of the house. If there is a large surplus to choose from, a listing without multiple pictures and a tour (to a lesser extent) runs the risk of getting passed over. Perception important in selling a home, and a listing with multiple pictures, virtual tours, etc help convey the impression that this is a home of which someone is quite proud.
Web Reference: http://www.RayandPaul.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 12, 2007
I recently started tracking my up-calls and showings for my listings where I used a virtual tour versus ones where I used an elevated photo because their cost is comparable. It is clear that my level of activity for listings where I use the elevated photo is much higher. And no, I don't own any stock in the local elevated photo company - I just love and believe in the product!

Kimberly is absolutely correct though - sometimes there are listings where a virtual tour is ideal and there are even instances where the elevated photo is not appropriate.

All in all, it comes down to what best suits the property.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
I think it is a mixed bag with the virtual tour. If I have a high dollar listing that shows like a model home, yes a virtual tour will help that listing. However, if I have a tiny home, may not be stages as well- My goal is to get showings.

If the virtual tour is not flattering you won't even get them through the door. One agent in our office does a front picture and no more. He says if someone wants to see the house they will get in the car for a showing.

I am somewhere in between. I like to photograph my own listings and control angles and lighting. I have seen some REALLY bad photos and some that have kept a house on the market for twice as long as it should have been on.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
Yes they are very important. Buyers want as much information as they can get and want to see as much as they can from the comfort of there own place. Picture say more than words.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
Virtual Tours get people to see the home before getting in the car and driving to it. When I do open houses and a buyer walks in and tells me he saw the virtual tour online, i know he likes the house and just needs to see it in person to make sure its the right fit.

But what REALTORS® need to keep in mind is that not everyone has high speed internet or DSL. People useing video will lose out on a number of buyers who have not upgraded yet. I love how video looks but I still use photos just because it is faster to upload. Try Visualtours.com. Its cheap and works well.
Web Reference: http://www.4saletours.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
I've found that visual tour gives a realistic view of the house that's adequate enough for a consumer to decide if this is a property that they would like to tka ethe time to go out and physically view in person. Because they are panoramic shots sticthed together, there is no distortion and with the use of a wide angle lens, most room sizes can be shot well enough for the viewer to get a realistic picture of the interior and exterior neighborhood.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
I think that a picture is worth 1000 words, BUT video virtual tours are an amazing tool when listing a home. 85% of home buyers shop online for a home first. For real impact, a web listing needs to generate an emotional response and the best way to do that is with video. More than any other medium, video creates emotion. People will never respond to written text or static pictures like they do to an audio/video combination. And that's what gives a listing the impact that it needs.

I do a video open house on every single one of my listings and this generates interest not just from the local area but from all over the country. I recently sold a house here in LA to a couple from CT because they had seen the home's video.

Tracey Thomas, GRI, SRES
Broker Associate
Keller Williams Realty
(818) 652-2937
Web Reference: http://www.vidioh.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 9, 2007
Hi Jeff,

IF A VIRTUAL TOUR IS DONE CORRECTLY!!!! and a considerable aamount of time is taken to do it right - it is the most valuable piece of exposure you can have. When we do a virtual tour we take over 100 pictures and spend over 3 hours editing the photos stitching them and writing the dialog. Then the virtual tour is linked to every internet site possible. I have sold homes to clients in Russia who were moving back to the USA and bought the house completely on line and via fax and mail because of the virtual tour. I have sold the same way to many people throught USA. Virtual is the bast tool when it is done RIGHT!

Good Luck,

Linda J Sears
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty
(352) 205-0713
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 3, 2007
I think we are moving from virtual tours to VIDEO tours. Both are important since some websites (REALTOR.COM) can make it a searchable option. I believe it's more useful to buyers out of the area wanting to get a better feel of the property. It also allows buyers 24/7 access.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 2, 2007
Herman Chang, Real Estate Pro in Palm Beach Gardens, FL
From my perspective, they're pretty useless as long as there are enough pictures. Nothing can take the place of actually seeing the property in person, and a virtual tour has never made me change my mind one way or another once I had decided to go see a house (or to pass on that house). The fish-eye effect is particularly annoying.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 2, 2007
The newest trend for Virtual Tours is online video. I produce them myself and really enjoy the finished product. Standard virtual tours made from panoramic pictures are good, but they tend to distort the view and not give you a good feel for the size and layout of the room or home. I have a sample video that I produced in a Window Media format. Check it out and you decide.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 2, 2007
Virtual tours give visual impact to the marketing of a property. They can become heavy handed and more information than necessary. They can become distracting if not edited and presented properly. I find slide shows or visual still photos work as well to help generate interest, but virtual tours/photos/slides will not sell a home, it will compliment a well priced home and generate interest. It's all part of marketing strategy to get your home presented and get them in the door! Then the offers can come!
Web Reference: http://www.century21.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 28, 2007
It does depend on the house. If there are good looking features and scenes, it is very helpful. If it is not well cleaned or taken care of, it is detrimental.
I've sold several homes from the website I create for my listings. I always put a notice of open houses and one time, a couple were waiting for me when I got there. They had been visiting the website and were ready to make an offer.
Web Reference: http://coronasbesthomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2007
Hi Jeff,

Can be very important if your house shows well, if its a dump maybe not.

I would be happy to work you. Please feel free to contact me anytime
if you have questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 12, 2016
Hi Jeff,

A virtual tour can be useful, but if it is just a slideshow of still pictures rather than a video or something more interactive, it can have minimal benefit over a large number of still photos in Some cases.

Kind regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 11, 2016
In the era of the internet and viral marketing, where the customer experience comes first, there is hardly any other more engaging marketing tool in the real estate domain than the virtual tours.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 11, 2016
A virtual tour is great when you have a home that needs showing off, if done right, they can be very useful,

I would be happy to work you. Please feel free to contact me anytime at (310) 584-7721
if you have questions.

Daniel Castiel
GoldStar Realty
(310) 584-7721
BRE #01023338
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 20, 2015
Hi Jeff,

Virtual tours are very important. Buyers may be able to look at a house and get a better feel for it, especially when they are looking at the virtual tour from out of the area when relocating or when they are on a busy work schedule.

Kind regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 17, 2015
The Power of a Video Tour is based on a series of Combinations. I have been a Video Tour producer since 1999 (before Broadband, on DVD and VHS).
First, you need someone that really knows how to handle the camera, equipment and thinks real estates. Then, you need a Video Editor that thinks as a potential Client, that its able to create a Tour as it was an Open House.
Third, the agent can use the Video Tour in different ways beyond Social Media. If a agent or a realty company have video libraries of their listing, they can save tons of time and resource by showing the properties on video to the clients, and from those videos, the client could decide witch property to visit. From 10-15 properties, it could be reduce to 2 or 3. Video Tours can be used to promote itself and acquire new clients and create portfolios.
A well done Video Tour is like having an Open House for 24 hours the entire week. On my experience, I know the story of a Realtor that email his client the Video Tour I did of a property of $17 Million here in Miami, FL, while the client was traveling to Hong Kong. Arriving to Hong Kong the client closed the deal and purchased the property. It all depend what the Agent does with the Video Tour.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 17, 2015
I love em! I think anything you do to enhause the ability for consumers see the house and/or area is a benefit. I think both still and vitural tours should be posted so they can choose what they like to look at. I just got a new camera and can't wait to use it and see if there is a big difference. Never had interest in photography much before real estate. Funny... now I see many see so many thing I would like to photograph.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 7, 2010
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