Our managing partner, Charlie Taylor, provided his insight for an article "COVID-19 Impact on the United States Real Estate Businesses". The article presents a survey report provided by RealEstateBees.com - a national platform for real estate professionals from various subniches of the real estate industry.
In the article, Charlie, along with other experts, comments on the negative impact of the pandemic on real estate photographers' businesses.
The report also offers real estate professionals' insight on other questions such as:
1) What unexpected opportunities has the pandemic opened for businesses in your industry?
2) If you knew the impact of this situation on your business in advance, how would you prepare your business to mitigate your losses or even profit from it?
3) What marketing channels do you prefer to use during the pandemic over the rest and why?
4) Are you transferring your business to a “work from home” basis?
Read the full report here:
I would first like to thank all of you for the trust you have placed in Snap2Close during this Covid-19 Pandemic: March, April, and May were our busiest months ever, and we are most appreciative.
Bookings for Zillow and Matterport 3D Tours, Floor Plans and Interactive Floor Plans surpassed our expectations, thus I would like to chat more about these individual services and products, as well as forthcoming enhancements to the Interactive Floor Plans that is a unique offering developed by Snap2Close.
By the way, this is a lengthy newsletter so, if you have time, grab a coffee, or your favorite beverage. Hopefully you find the following information, explanations, and opinions useful when choosing media to market your listings.
Early on Snap2Close began offering Matterport 3D Tours to our clients. The COVID-19 Pandemic has dramatically increased the call for Matterport Technology. In fact, so many clients have been adding these Tours to our Gold Packages (HDR Photos + Zillow 360º Virtual Tours + Enhanced Video Walk-through + Interactive Floor Plans-“IFP”) that we have redefined the Platinum Package to reflect the choices that you, our clients, are specifying most frequently.
Going forward, the Platinum Package will consist of the following:
And, and, and! Adding better news to good news: the above combination of technology results in a 20% reduction in the price of a stand-alone Matterport 3D Tour.
I would like to chat a bit and share my thoughts about 3D Tours and their benefits. When we first joined the Zillow 3D Tour bandwagon it was primarily to help your listings get higher rankings on the Zillow and Trulia search results.
However, it honestly confuses me why Zillow or any number of other companies like Ogulo, cloudPano, RicohTours, iGuide, Inside Maps, and others can call their tours 3 dimensional. They are simply a series of 360° panoramic photos linked together through navigation.
Technically, ZIllow’s 3D App works only on the Ricoh Theta V and Theta Z1 360° cameras and iPhones. The Theta Z1 is our choice for creating 360º Virtual Tours: it has two full frame sensors and much higher quality lenses resulting in greater quality 360º photo renderings than the other cameras.
Time wise, each shot takes approximately 1 or 2 seconds so it only takes a few minutes to shoot a home, but creating the navigation for these tours is very time consuming. This is true for all services mentioned above. By the way, I personally like cloudPano over all of the other independent 360° services, but the fees charged by these services (except Zillow) seems a bit unreasonable to me.
The real benefit of Zillow’s tour is that the company offers their service for free. Plus Zillow places the tour as the 4th image on the listing’s webpage. That is very helpful for homebuyers and gives them easy access to tours Zillow also pushes listings with their tours to a much higher ranking on search results.
Surprisingly, Zillow allows their tours to be used on other websites via a link. We embed their tours in our branded and unbranded tour property websites along with the higher resolution photos, videos, floor plans, etc., so they can be seen on Realtor.com and other sites as a virtual tour link.
The Zillow 3D Tour shown below is of a home we photographed last week. Later in this blog we will show you a Matterport 3D Tour of the same home.
The Matterport 3D Tour is technically in a class all by itself and one of the industry's leaders in Photogrammetry. It’s rather expensive PRO2 Model 250 3D Camera uses three separate high quality lenses and a capture resolution of 4K square per skybox face, shoots 5 frame brackets for HDR, and has an auto rotating motor that takes 25 seconds to rotate 360°s. That translates into 18 shots x 5 bracket HDR = 90 captures vs a 360° camera’s 2. Plus, each shot is 134 MegaPixels vs 15 MegaPixels for a 360° camera. (Click here if you want to learn more about the camera's specifications.)
Additionally, it uses six infrared transmitters and receivers that literally maps the items seen and creates a three dimensional technically accurate textured mesh of the space when uploaded to their central computer system. Their Cortex artificial intelligence system, which is a deep learning neural network, creates robust and accurate 3D spatial data. Cortex actually makes their all-in-one 3D data platform the most powerful on the market.
Plus, their sophisticated computational photography algorithms automatically adjusts white balance and color correction, HDR tone mapping, denoising, haze removal, sharpening, saturation and luminance of each image captured which results in a rich, professional grade looking digital twin of the home scanned.
This innovative technology allows homebuyers to literally walk through the home at 5 to 8 foot intervals. It is truly an amazing technology that homebuyers genuinely appreciate.
Statistics really back that up as:
(1) 95% of buyers are more likely to call about homes with a Matterport 3D Tour,
(2) Listings with Matterport 3D Tours sale at a 4-9% higher sales price and at a 31% decreased time on the market.
In our opinion, any home listed for $800,000 or more should have a Matterport 3 Tour during this pandemic. Your listing clients’ will appreciate it and it will bring you much quicker sales and at a better price. Plus, it simply helps you to look more professional and upscale, as well as helping you get more listings.
Here is a Matterport 3D Tour of a home we shot last week. It is the same home shown above in the Zillow 3D Tour.
A final comments/review of the Matterport technology, the company has released an iPhone APP allowing individuals to create ‘Matterport Tours’ utilizing the Ricoh 360º cameras or an iPhone. We have tested the iPhone application to disappointing results. However, Matterport has posted an explanation that the iPhone APP is a BETA Version and not a mature product. Also, it is important to note that while that non-matterport cameras cannot create accurate textured-meshes. Therefore no floor plans can be created from these scans.
If you truly want a highly professional 3D Tour then the bottom line is that you simply need to use the Matterport PRO2 4K 3D camera to obtain a truly impressive 3D Tour. Trust me, this is the first class method of marketing your listings.
Since we started offering truly affordable floor plans they have become extremely popular. I’m guessing that nearly 80% of our newly booked photoshoots now include a floor plan. Our current plan is to innovate our offerings with several different styles of floor plans. I will keep you posted when we make the new release.
The first version of our Interactive floor plan has been wildly successful and we have received many compliments from our clients. We are now working on a newer second version that we believe you will like. As of now, I anticipate that we will be releasing version 2 in about six to eight weeks. Here is a mock-up sample.
In May, 2020, I added a video to our tutorials. This video explains how the MLS system works with the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) and how different websites accommodate virtual tour links for tour property websites. Given the rapid and continuing pace of change in marketing homes virtually, understanding the links and interplay between the various websites will be very helpful…..I hope you will find the contents informative and constructive. Your feedback is invited. Click here to watch it.
In closing let me again thank you for your trust during this COVID-19 pandemic. I hope this insight into 3D and 360° tours has been helpful and educational.
Stay safe everyone!!!
Charlie and the rest of the Snap2Close team.
© 2020 and Beyond - Snap2Close Real Estate Photography - 9609 E Camino Del Santo , Scottsdale, AZ 85260 - Telephone 480-420-8260 - Website: Snap2Close.com