Category: Videography

Vlog: How to manage local info icons


A new addition to TourVista’s apartment websites are these local info icons that show over here on the side bar. The user is able to click on these icons and link out to the appropriate websites. And let me show you how, as the administrator, you can control which icons show and which links they go to.

So, when you log into your website, you’ll see a new section at the bottom left called Website Settings. Right now there’s one tab for local info. So, these will be which icons show. You can see, there’s six of them right here and they’re all showing as default. Click the drop down menu to hide any one of the icons you wish not to show. Then save changes. It’s that easy to determine which ones will show and which ones do not show. And then, if you also want to change the link, by default we have pre-populated a link for each icon. But, you can override that. To do so, click the drop down menu of the icon you’d like to change, and select Custom URL. Lower on the page with the corresponding icon name, there will be a space for you to type in the custom URL of your choice. Return to your website to test. Piece of cake!

Photo Faux Pas?

Is your home or apartment more cozy than the pictures convey? You have to think… Why are they buying the house? What are they looking for in the house? And do your pictures show the best possible image of your home to buyers? If you’re having trouble with your digital photos, MSN Real Estate has comprised a list of 6 tips for drawing in buyers through your photos online. This is especially applicable to anyone using Craigslist or the TourVista Craigslist templates.

  1. Lighten up your subject – don’t take photos at night or try to use dramatic lighting. The clearer and the more professional looking, the better the photo.
  2. More is better – take as many pictures as possible. The more you show, the more your buyer will feel better about wanting to see the house in person.
  3. Get a clear shot – clean up your house or have it “staged” for the photos – clean area, no clutter, no trash outside, etc.
  4. Go Pro – If you can’t seem to take great pictures on your own, consider using TourVista’s Professional Services.
  5. Give it your best shot – borrow a friend’s camera or try to rent one from a local shop.
  6. Edit – using Flickr or Photoshop to edit your photos can make a world of difference.

Paying attention to buyer turnoffs

When you pay attention to the details of your real estate listing, your buyers will too. But when you don’t pay attention to the details, they may end up standing out in a bad way. A few quick care chores to your home such as: touch-up paining, cutting grass, doing the dishes, or hiding the old lawn furniture, can have a lasting impact on your buyers and the way they view your home – or themselves in the home. Don’t cheat yourself when it comes to the value and beauty of your real estate listing. Putting your best home forward will not only bring buyers in the door, but it will ultimately lead to a buyer who will stay (in the door). And this article:  Pay attention to buyer turnoffs in your home. will help you anticipate what your buyers are looking for from the moment they walk in.

TourVista’s suggestion: When it comes to your virtual tours and Craiglist adds, do your touch-ups before your photo shoot! Don’t take pictures of a leaking gutter, hole in the wall, or missing woodwork from a door. Take the time and a little extra money to always make sure you’re putting your best home forward. A little love = a buyer loving your listing.

Videos from YouTube no longer showing Related Videos

If you have a video of your listing, be sure to include it on your TourVista virtual tour.  Here’s how:

  1. Upgrade your virtual tour to Premium
  2. Upload your video to your YouTube account
  3. Copy the video ID from YouTube
  4. Paste the video ID into the Video section of your virtual tour

Now a Video tab will show on your virtual tour page & widgets that includes your video from YouTube.  

Plus, thanks to the suggestion from Phyllis R., the “Related Videos” from YouTube are no longer showing when your video finished playing on your virtual tour.  Not only is this a better experience for your viewers (no need to show them content that is not specifically about your property) but if your property is in an MLS you don’t have to worry about getting any fines.  Some MLS’s are very strict about what you can and cannot show about a property online.

Add a YouTube Video to Your Virtual Tour

Today we launched an update to TourVista’s real estate marketing platform that allows our Premium users to include a YouTube video on their virtual tours.  This is a fantastic enhancement and we encourage everyone to take advantage of using video for marketing their properties online.

What if I don’t have a video of each property?
No problem! Instead of a property video, many real estate agents include a short personal video.  Doing so allows them to add additional personalization to their virtual tours and helps to generate new customers.

Do I have to upload my video to YouTube first?
Yes, you do not upload your property/personal video to TourVista.  Instead, upload your video to your YouTube account, then copy/paste the YouTube video ID on to the Video page of your virtual tour, as the above video tutorial demonstrates.  If you don’t have a YouTube account, set one up — they are free and it only takes a few minutes.

Does it benefit my and/or my property to post the video on YouTube?
Yes! Absolutely!  YouTube is one of the most trafficked websites on the Internet.  Many people use the search tool on YouTube to find videos to watch.  While at this time, YouTube is not what we would consider a “real estate search portal”, it doesn’t hurt to have extra exposure for your properties and your business online.

Plus, YouTube has a world-class hosting platform and converts your videos so they can be seen on mobile browsers, too.  Add to that “video streaming” (which means you can jump to a section of the video that hasn’t downloaded yet) and there’s really no reason to not publish your videos to YouTube.

Remember, the Internet is a tool that you can use to better market your properties and your business. TourVista helps you do both!

Real Estate Video Tours with Interactive Floor Plans – The Ultimate Virtual Tour

More information is better for the buyer AND the seller
Shopping online for real estate has always been a guessing game. The buyer is left to make their best guess about which homes are actually worth seeing in person. An online listing can increase the quality of its leads generated by providing as much information as possible. A virtual tour with interactive floor plans helps to minimize the guesswork and provides prospective buyers with the next best thing to actually being there in person.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million
Online videos for marketing real estate make sense because video provides more information than photos alone. Photos show the quality and craftsmanship of a home, but there is no connectivity between the rooms. The buyer has no idea where they are when looking at photos, and is left to guess how the rooms relate to each other. The overall “flow” and feeling of the home is missing in photos alone.

A video walk through provides the buyer with the sense that they are actually walking through the home. It is a continuous experience that simulates what it feels like to tour the home in person. Video tells a better story about the layout and connectivity of a home by providing a more interactive and informative viewing experience.

Video is good, but something is missing
What’s missing is a viewer-controlled navigation or “map” that allows the buyer to see the layout of the home and provides the ability to jump to any scene in the video. Without this map, navigating a 2-4 minute video of an unfamiliar home can be quite awkward. Unless one is paying very close attention during the entire video, it’s easy to get lost.

It’s also difficult to navigate a video using the time bar. Imagine watching a video of the perfect home, and wanting to show the kitchen scene to another person. How does one know where the kitchen scene begins in the video? Individual scenes must be manually located by dragging the time bar back and forth, a tedious process.

The Interactive Floor Plan Saves the Day
Both problems of getting lost and jumping to a specific scene in the video are solved when using an interactive floor plan. The floor plan graphic “lights up” to show the buyer the current room as shown in the video. A quick glance at the highlighted section of the floor plan orients the buyer and improves the touring experience.

Additionally, buyers can jump to any scene in the video tour by clicking on the interactive floor plan. Buyers take control of their video tour experience, seeing the specific rooms of the home in their desired order. One can jump from the master bedroom to the kitchen and then out to the back yard, all with a few clicks of the mouse.

Online real estate shopping has never been easier nor has it provided the audience with as much information as contained in a video tour with interactive floor plans.

View a video tour with an interactive floor plan and experience the difference compared to a regular listing of just photos or video alone.

Which is better for online real estate marketing – photos or video?

It’s all about providing useful information.

This is obviously a tricky question and a matter of much debate today. Which is better for showing potential customers an online preview of a home: photos or video? As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Both have some strong arguments for and against, and at the moment I believe the correct answer is that it comes down to personal preference.

Let’s examine Photography.

For marketing homes online, it’s hard to go wrong with some quality photos from the best angles of the home. Some of the main advantages of photos are:

  • You get high resolution for the relatively small file size.
  • The digital photo output is easily manipulated for the web and rarely needs much editing.
  • Cameras have been around for awhile now. Remember blowing on the film that came out of your Polaroid or when you got your first Kodak? If you choose photos to create your tour, odds are you are much more likely to be able to shoot some great shots on your own than if you choose to create your own video. Bob Sagat might like your home video, but I’m not sure potential buyers out there will.
  • Affordability and high quality of a professional photographer. There’s been a need for professional photography for a long time, they are much easier to find than professional videographers.
  • Digital cameras are abundant and affordable. If you don’t already own a decent one, it’s not hard to get your hands on a good one, and you know professional photographers will be equipped with some of the best!

Nevertheless, still photography has some major shortcomings when showing off a property. We’re not talking about showing images of artwork or sweeping views of beautiful landscapes. Home shoppers want to find out as much as they can about the honest truth of a home before dedicating their time to viewing it in person.

  • Photos are static, stationary. One photo will give you one view. But rooms have many views from many angles you would have to supply several photos per room to accomplish what video can.
  • Sometimes a photo of a room can feel misleading or distorted. Haven’t we all seen the photos with a nice telescopic or wide angle lens that shows some grand living room or entryway, only to arrive in person and wonder where the home we looked at online has gone? In order to effectively market properties there is a need to show them in the best light to entice viewers, but beware of manipulating or deceiving potential customers to get them in the door. This can foster resentment and ill will and ultimately lose the sale.
  • Depending on your choice of equipment, angle, and number of photos per room, there’s only so much that you can effectively show with photos.
  • Professional photographers can be overpriced. I’ve seen amazingly detailed, beautiful photos created by some photographers, but they can charge over $300 for their real estate shoots. With the quality you can get these days using your own affordable personal equipment, it’s hard to justify spending that kind of money per shoot. Why not do it yourself? My mom is creating a website using her iMac and it looks like she paid someone $3,000 to build the site, create the media, and weave it all in to a great looking site. The tools are out there today for us to grab hold of and do it ourselves including digital photography!

Let’s take a look at what video has to offer.

Using video to show a home online has some inherent advantages over photos, but it’s still in its infancy on the web. People are continually becoming more comfortable with what video has to offer them on the internet. This is clearly illustrated by the explosion in numbers of users of sites like YouTube.

We are a society that grew up around television and we know that video on the internet, like TV before it, can give us much more information in a shorter period of time than still photos or plain text you’d find in newspapers, magazines, and books. Here are some major reasons for using video:

  • A video tour more closely shows the images of the way we would see them in person. We move through the home walking and turning our heads, we don’t stand in the middle and spin around, or go from room to room opening our eyes, taking a peak, closing our eyes, moving the next and opening them again.
  • Multiple continuous angles and perspectives of each room – not just one or two.
  • A more honest reflection of what the home looks like if you were there in person. It’s much harder to hide or conceal with moving video images with photos you can easily show only the angles & views you want.
  • More information! Video can capture 30 frames per second, so after 5 minutes (600 seconds) video will give users 18,000 images! A video walk-through gives us a similar feeling to being there in person.

Some major drawbacks exist today in terms of video quality being played back on the web. Some people are still using dial-up to access the internet.  It doesn’t make sense for these people to download a 5 minute video that could take hours!

  • Thanks to much more data being packed into a video file, it has to be compressed significantly in order to be effectively broadcast on the internet. Much of the quality is lost in this process.
  • It can be difficult to create a high quality video due to the simple fact that you are moving. There are many devices out there that can help stability, but this is a major concern. Viewers don’t want to watch your own personal Blair Witch horror flick!
  • Video can be more expensive. Typically the tools required to shoot a high-end video are more costly than what can be acquired for photography. A high-end HD digital camcorder along with stabilizing equipment can easily cost over $2,000.
  • Video editing skills are usually required. It’s tricky to shoot a great video walk-through on your first try. Either due to awkward moments or a not so graceful step or even backtracking across a room you’ve already shown there are many reasons to want to edit your video. And this takes some practice!
  • Real estate videography professionals can be very hard to find in your area. Wedding videographers are more readily accessible, but have they gotten on board with shooting real estate video tours yet?

Right now it’s clear that if you get a fuzzy, wobbly tour that takes too long to download, viewers won’t watch your video. Pictures don’t have this worry. They load so fast that a viewer can easily browse 10-20 in a matter of seconds.

However, if video can overcome its issues of quality and size then I think it is clearly the better medium to showcase your home to buyers who are viewing online. Whether that day has come or not is up to you to decide, but as internet capacity expands, memory cards hold more data, high-quality camcorders become more accessible, and high-speed internet more commonplace, video is poised to take online real estate marketing to the next level.