Are you trying to sell your current home? If you’re taking a do-it-yourself approach to selling, you probably already have it listed on several real estate websites. However, if you don’t have a home virtual tour set up, potential buyers could be passing right by your listing. Use this guide to help you create a virtual tour that shows off your home’s best assets.
Step 1: Plan Your Tour
Don’t jump right into filming your home. First, you have to decide exactly what you want to film. Even if you already have some ideas in mind, walk through your entire home, looking at it from the perspective of the buyer. Consider the flow of each room and which features best represent its beauty. Do the same for the exterior of your home, focusing on the areas that show the most curb appeal. Think about how your home looks as well. If there are too many personal elements such as pictures, worn furniture, messy kids’ rooms or other “lived-in” areas, consider home staging. Removing clutter and adding the right touches of color and décor has proven to bring in more interested buyers.
Step 2: Begin Filming
Now that you know which areas you want to highlight, it is time to start filming your virtual tour. Don’t rely on your phone’s built-in video recorder for this. Your tour needs to be high quality, so use an HD video recorder. If you don’t already have one, see if a friend or family member has one you can borrow, or find a local company rents them out. When filming, be sure to keep the camera steady as you move slowly from one side of each room to the other. If you don’t have a steady hand, use a tripod that allows you to slide the camera around the room.
Step 3: Take Still Photographs
In addition to your virtual home tour, you should have plenty of high-quality still photographs of the interior and exterior. Use an HD digital camera that will allow you to capture your home in the best light. Focus on any unique features or appliances in the home. Outside, take pictures of the paint, doors, windows, driveway, exterior buildings and lawn. Try to show an accurate representation of how much land is available with the property.
Step 4: Edit Your Video and Photographs
Once you have your photographs and video, you will need to transfer them to your computer for editing. This is usually easily done with a USB cable. Save everything into a specified folder, and then open your image and video editing software. If you use a Windows computer, look for Movie Maker. If you use a Mac, you will be using iMovie. Of course, if you have a preferred software of your own, you can use that. For your video tour, you will need to put the clips into a cohesive order. Show the interior rooms before moving to the exterior property, and be sure not to skip back and forth between the two. Don’t forget to edit your still photographs to ensure they are clear and easy to see.
Step 5: Add Your Narrative
Once your video clips are in order, you will need to narrate them. Speaking slowly and clearly, describe each clip, being sure to highlight special features as you go. Keep in mind that the traditional home is changing, so if you have space where a home theater system will be easy to set up, or if your home has an area that would work well as a home office, be sure to give them some focus. Mention information such as whether windows, paint or doors are new, how large each room is, which appliances are included and anything that makes the home environmentally friendly. When it comes to the exterior space, describe whether there is space to build a deck, install a pool or have an outdoor kitchen. Talk about the neighborhood as well, including information about schools, local parks and shopping.
Step 6: Upload Your Virtual Tour to the Internet
Once you’ve watched your virtual tour through and ensured everything is correct and complete, it is time to put it on the Internet. Upload your home your anywhere you have your home listed that allows you to do so. For those real estate websites that don’t allow you to upload your own tour, see if you can upload it to YouTube or another video sharing website and include a link in your sales listing.
Virtual home tours not only make your home more appealing, but it can save you time in the future. Because potential buyers will be able to get a good feel for the property before seeing it in person, they will know whether it interests them and avoid scheduling a walk through if they know it won’t fit their needs. That means you spend less time showing your home to people you won’t hear from again and more time showing it to people who are truly interested.
Jackie Lipinski is the Director of Marketing at American Classic Homes, a home builder in the Seattle, Washington area.