As a Realtor and Virtual Tour Provider I want to add a couple of comments. First of all, it is wise of you to question every marketing and expense dollar you spend and to track the results. Keep spending where you see a return and stop spending on those that do not. Having said that, there are some marketing expenses you do that are for the benefit of the sellers, some for the buyers and some for yourself.
Virtual tours and professional photography are tools that can be used to both impress your sellers and drive buyers to your property. However, only if done right! Rather than rely on what I say or any others for that matter (and there are some great comments you received!), here are some facts to review (most recent study and should be higher today):
54% of home buyers who are searching for the next home on Realtor.com only view properties with featured tours or multiple images. (2007 NAR Survey)
On a typical day, more than six million people are taking virtual tours in cyberspace, up from roughly two million in 2004. (2007 Pew Internet & American Life Study)
In cyberspace, a listing with a virtual tour will receive 38% more views. (2007 Pew Internet & American Life Study)
For more information, read my recent blog titled "East Bay Virtual Tours - Worth the Money?" at http://www.EastBayVirtualTours.com
Thank you for the post and Happy Holidays!
Property Marketing Studios