September 2017 — For those with their toes in real estate's ever-changing technology pool, virtual reality house tours are likely not a new concept. These stimulating virtual tours allow off-scene buyers to view homes from the inside before requesting a listing appointment, which can save REALTORS® valuable time and energy.
No longer do agents need to scramble to show homes that aren't a fit for their buyer—the buyer knows the inside of the home before they actually enter it. With VR on the cutting edge of today's tech tools, these tours allow agents to shine as a competent professional on the forefront of their field; however, with the high price tag attached to most VR tech tools, creating virtual tours for every listing is not a possibility for most real estate professionals.
Real estate technology company InsideMaps hopes to change that by giving every agent the tools to capture their own HDR photos, 360-degree walk-through tours and videos.
Using a suite of tools, InsideMaps allows agents to create interactive virtual tours, 3D models, floor plans and HDR property photos. And unlike competitors that require agents to purchase thousands of dollars' worth of equipment, InsideMaps helps their clients create virtual content using the tools they already have: their iPhones.
"What we've done is reduce the cost of VR, which will change the game in what real estate professionals are able to create in terms of immersive property walkthroughs," explains George Bolanos, InsideMaps founder and CEO.
So how does it work? Using InsideMaps HERO rotor—available on Amazon for $189—agents can use their iPhones to capture a series of photos as the HERO rotates. Then, InsideMaps will process these photos into a virtual walk-through, so the final product allows the viewer to feel like they're walking through the home. Agents can send these 360-degree walk-through tours and videos directly to clients, or include them in their listings and on their websites. InsideMaps' processing packagesrange from $19.95 to $179.90, a fraction of what it would cost to have a videographer come in and create a walk-through tour.
Bolanos explains that InsideMaps is focused on putting more control in the hands of the agent. The company has been offering their HERO rotor for over a year, and their clients include brokerages both large and small. "We are taking out the hassle factor associated with creating high-quality visual marketing assets," he says. "What used to require a professional photographer or a video production expert now can be done by an agent."
"With InsideMaps, we take an hour or two at a listing and then sit back and wait for the stunning tour, floor plans and pics to be ready," says Wade Lester, leader of a real estate team in the Southeast and an InsideMaps user. "It has been a great marketing tool because sellers love the fact that buyers are getting to really experience the layout of the home and see the floor plans before they even set foot in the home."
Bolanos points out that although all consumers value high-end photography and videos, only 20 to 40 percent of homes on the market today are shot with HDR photography. InsideMaps hopes to help close that gap.
"Our homes with HD pictures and video tours have the highest online traffic and the quickest requests for showings," says Lester.
Currently, Bolanos and the InsideMaps team are hard at work on several of their next innovations, including TurboTours, a quick 60-second highlight reel option that will be released later this year.