How to hide the links to your other virtual tours

If you have more than one online virtual tour in your TourVista account, these tours will be shown down the left side of your virtual tour’s dedicated web page in a section titled “My Other Virtual Tours”. While this is helpful in getting extra traffic to your other listings, sometimes it would be better to not display this list. For example, perhaps your MLS requires that no other listings are shown on your online marketing.

Here’s how to hide the links to your other virtual tours.

  1. Sign in to your TourVista account.
  2. From the My Virtual Tours tab, click on the address of the tour that you want to edit.  This will load the details page.
  3. At the bottom left, below the map, you will see a section for Other Settings. Mark the checkbox for “Do not show my other tours on this virtual tour’s dedicated web page”
  4. Click Save.

That’s it!  Now, when someone visits your dedicated web page for this virtual tour, the other tours in your account will no longer show.

Special thanks to Charlene of Indiana for this suggestion!

TourVista also offers additional customization of what shows and what doesn’t show on your virtual tours.  See this blog post for examples, such as making your virtual tours non-branded and MLS compliant.

Interactive Floor Plans Make a HUGE Difference When Marketing Your Home to Out-of-Area Prospects

Really want to make your home stand out from all the other ordinary real estate marketing websites?  TourVista’s interactive floor plans let your viewers navigate themselves through your home.  Combined with photos, interactive floor plans give viewers the information they are wanting from an online tour.

Interactive Floor Plan Demo
Viewers of your interactive floor plan can see exactly where each photo was taken as they tour your property online. (click to view)

Interactive floor plans are especially helpful for out-of-area prospects because they may not have an opportunity to view the home in person before making a buying or renting decision.  Put yourself in their shoes for a second:

You’re moving to a new city and looking for a home online. Sure, you will be visiting in a few weeks and have scheduled time with your local real estate agent to view a limited number of properties. Obviously, you want to only spend your limited time looking at homes that are a good fit for you. TourVista’s interactive floor plans provide huge value to you because you can learn so much more about a home than just viewing photos.

Your prospects have a limited amount of time when it comes to shopping for a home – there’s only so many homes a person can look at both online and in person.  They have to discern which homes they can dedicate this time to…make sure they pick your home to look at online.

Many sellers and landlords make the mistake of providing too few or too little information, but this can increase the chance they’ll just skip right past these homes for fear they will be wasting their time and effort in an in-person trip.  Unless this home is the least expensive in the best neighborhood – not providing enough quality pictures or video will lose you viewers and leads.  These days all homes are online on this website or that one – so you will need every way you can to make a great first impression on a potential buyer/renter.  Showcasing your home with TourVista gives you this edge.

Not only do interactive floor plans give you an edge online, but they also give you pre-qualified/screened customers when they schedule an in-person visit.  They already have a good idea of what the home will offer them and if they are ready to take a trip there in person then you know they are interested!  This will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Providing more information, like interactive floor plans, at the beginning of the home search process helps you reach out to more customers and gets them excited about your home!  It also gives you hotter leads when they come visit the home in person.

So, how do you setup an interactive floor plan for your home?

It’s easy.  Just create a virtual tour on TourVista, upload your photos and simple floor plan graphics and use our custom technology to “drag & drop” arrows onto your floor plan for each photo.  It takes about 2 minutes to build your interactive floor plan (and it’s actually kinda fun!).  

But what if I don’t already have a floor plan graphic?  How do I make one?

We agree, this is the most time consuming part of creating your interactive floor plan.  If you don’t already have a floor plan graphic, you’ll need to make one.  Check out this tutorial which demonstrates building a floor plan using Photoshop.  There are also a few websites that let you draw floor plans using your mouse.  Or you can hire us and our graphic designers will turn your sketch or blueprint into a beautiful floor plan graphic that’s ready for an interactive floor plan.

Microsoft Tries But Is Unable to Stop TourVista

IE9 Breaks Websites
IE9 Breaks Websites

OK, perhaps a slight exaggeration in the title to this post, but it’s not unusual for a Microsoft product to have bugs.  Their newest release of the-growing-ever-unpopular web browser Internet Explorer 9 was breaking TourVista’s coolest technology: the ability to drag and drop your tour content.  Thanks to a few of our users who contacted us to report this issue.  

We’re glad to report that we’ve made the necessary updates so that TourVista is fully compatible with Internet Explorer 9 (aka IE9). You can go back to dragging and dropping your photos and arrows onto the interactive floor plans you create with TourVista.  🙂

PS. thanks to IE9 as it provides great job security for website developers!

Homeowners Association pros and cons for Sellers and Buyers

Selling your home in a community ran by a Homeowners Association can be tricky. Many new home owners are unaware of the intricate rules of the association, and that each association can have their own rules and bi-laws. The property value of the home you’re selling will more than likely be increased by the fact that you belong to a HOA, from well-kept landscaping, gated area, or the like; but that increase came with a price = DUES. The value of the property might be higher, but the cost of living there is now even higher for your potential buyers because of the dues. When pricing your home for sale, take into account any dues the new home owners will have to be paying in your stead. But you can also use your HOA as a selling point, explaining that the kept lawns, safe playgrounds, and friendly neighborhood is what’s to be gained from a minimal yearly contribution.

You can see more helpful home selling tips on our Facebook page:

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!

America’s 10 best neighborhoods announces The 10 Best Neighborhoods to live in for 2011

Did your neighborhood make the list?

Commercial software — the kind you sell to other people — is a game of inches

Slow and steady...
Slow and steady...

Every day you make a tiny bit if progress. You make one thing just a smidgen better. A tiny improvement that will barely benefit anyone. One inch.

There are thousands of these tiny things.

It takes a mindset of constant criticism to find them. And as you fix more and more of these little details, as you polish and shape and shine and craft the little corners of your product, something magical happens.

The inches add up to feet, the feet add up to yards, and the yards add up to miles. And you have a truly great product. The kind of product that feels great, that works intuitively, that blows people away. The kind of product where that one-in-a-million user doing that one-in-a-million unusual thing finds that not only does it work, but it’s beautiful: even the janitor’s closets of your software have marble floors and solid-core oak doors and polished mahogany wainscoting.

And that’s when you know it’s great software.

Loosely copied from “More Joel on Software”

Furry Friends

If you’re selling a home where pets reside, keep in mind that your potential buyers might not share your same love of furry friends. And its important to not let little things like pet hair, litter odor, or anything get in the way of your sale! What can be done? I’d recommend two stages of clean up.

Stage 1:  The Photos. This is more light clean up. Be sure your pets are out of the pictures, vacuum couches if pet hair is visible, and set aside any visible signs of pets such as toys, food trays, etc.
Stage 2: The Open House. Now comes the deep cleaning.  Make sure you thoroughly vacuum every inch of your home. Anyone with pet allergies will instantly be able to tell there’s a pet in your home. Remove any visible signs of pets, including the pets themselves. Clean all linens, sheets, etc., anything that could collect hair and dander. Rent or borrow an air filter a few days before buyers arrive to remove allergens from the air.

Simple tips like these can make a world of difference to your buyers. Don’t overlook the details, and you’ll be on your way to SOLD.

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.