Offering greater convenience and life-like realism, it isn’t hard to see why the demand for virtual tours has continuously grown, especially in light of the recent pandemic. On a global scale, virtual tours became a $448 million industry in 2020. It’s expected to be worth an impressive $6.5 billion by 2030.
It’s led many to start wondering if virtual tours may replace traditional real estate tours in the near future.
If you’re speculating whether or not virtual tours can replace traditional tours, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve covered all the important aspects below!
What Are Virtual Tours?
Before we dive into the heart of the matter, let’s agree on what virtual tours are.
Virtual tours are part of the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) movement that is taking over the world, including the real estate market. Virtual tours are rooted in computer games and involve the use of 3D renders or VR headsets to bring a place to life. They can make the viewer feel like they are actually in certain environments.
Virtual tours are a 360-degree simulation of an existing location, through which one can view a given property and its surrounding areas in detail, without actually visiting it.
What Are the Advantages of Virtual Home Tours?
Virtual home tours are extremely beneficial. Individuals aged 18 to 34 are 130% more likely to choose properties with virtual tours. That’s not all — two out of three customers also wish that more businesses offered virtual home tours.
Here are some benefits of virtual home tours:
Great Marketing Strategy
Real estate listings with virtual home tours are clicked on 40% more often than traditional listings with only still images.
Virtual home tours also generally rank higher on search engines. Consider also that, on average, five out of nine homes that are viewed by potential buyers are viewed exclusively online.
In fact, buyers often depend on a virtual home tour before making a purchase, making them an extremely effective method for promoting a property and sealing the deal.
Buyers Make Offers Without Seeing the Property in Person
According to a survey, 63% of buyers made an offer on a property without having visited it. This is an increasing trend as potential buyers don’t always have the time or the energy to see a property firsthand before making an offer.
Convenient and Resourceful
Buying and selling real estate can be tiring for all parties involved. Buyers face the grueling process of visiting multiple properties without any real guarantees that they’ll like what they’ll see. Considering the amount of time and effort they invest in the process, it’s a lot more efficient if buyers could view the property virtually.
Virtual home tours are also convenient for brokers and real estate agents.
Real estate professionals are often in a time crunch. Showing a single buyer or client several properties can be extremely time-consuming and may not yield profitable results.
Virtual tours are a great solution since agents can show a lot more properties to more buyers in a shorter amount of time. They don’t have to personally be there each time. Plus, they can show properties to anyone in the world who has an internet connection.
Buyers Are More Likely To Be Receptive
In-person tours can be overwhelming for interested buyers. They may have seen other properties and may feel tired from the experience, or they may be preoccupied with other concerns. However, with a virtual tour, buyers can take a property in at their leisure, whenever they feel like it without making a special trip.
Though this is more of a psychological advantage, it’s a major benefit. Potential buyers are more likely to be more receptive to listings if they feel comfortable and weren’t required to exert a lot of effort to see them. It also reduces any pressure they feel to buy since the experience doesn’t put them on the spot.
Clients can also zoom in and out on a living space as much as they desire, giving them the freedom and enough time to understand a space’s finer details. This enhances trust and makes it easier for them to shortlist their options which is a huge boon.
Considered the Gold Standard in Buying Homes Online
Homes with virtual tours sell 6% faster and for 3% higher than listings without virtual tours.
Additionally, agents who host online virtual tours also sell more properties than those who don’t since virtual tours make them appear more professional and credible. Having virtual tours on your listings or website is, therefore, essential if you want to succeed in the rapidly evolving real estate market.
What Are the Disadvantages of Virtual Tours?
Of course, virtual tours also have their share of disadvantages:
Lack of Personal Interaction
The lack of personal interaction with the client can be a major drawback of virtual home tours. This is because the agent cannot gauge the client’s non-verbal communication and may find it harder to highlight features that may interest the buyer.
Difficult to Fully Gauge a Property
Virtual home tours offer an immersive experience but as is the case with all digital things, the simulated environment may not match up to the real deal. The experience of visiting a property, taking in the surrounding areas, and the overall feeling of existing in a living space is reduced in a virtual tour.
The lack of a comprehensive experience can make it difficult for a client to arrive at a decision since they may feel unsure about what they’re getting.
What Are the Advantages of Traditional Tours?
Traditional tours involve clients visiting a property in person to inspect it.
This can be beneficial for two reasons:
Agent Can Give a Comprehensive Tour
Meeting and speaking in person during a tour makes the buying experience more personal. The agent can guide the client and help them connect with the space better than with a virtual tour.
Clients Can Make More Confident Decisions
Quality virtual home tours are immersive but it doesn’t get more immersive than an actual tour of the property. By visiting a place, they can personally see the neighborhood, surroundings, interiors, and exteriors of a residence, allowing more confident decision-making.
What Are the Disadvantages of Traditional Tours?
Viewed from a different angle, the benefits of traditional tours can also be their disadvantages:
Traditional Tours Can Be Inconvenient and Wasteful
Traditional tours require time, effort, and gas money. Sometimes, clients may even have to take a day off work to visit a property.
If a property doesn’t live up to a client’s expectations, the agent and client would have wasted time, effort, and money. This can be extremely discouraging for both parties.
Less Efficient Way of Attracting Buyers
It’s more difficult to generate interest around your listings if you solely depend on traditional tours. Buyers may be discouraged from viewing a listing if it doesn’t include a virtual home tour because it means allotting more time and effort.
If you only offer traditional tours, you’d also be limiting your buyers to those within your immediate vicinity since they will be the only ones who can personally tour the property.
The Verdict: Combine Traditional and Virtual Tours for the Ultimate Sales Pitch
Can virtual home tours completely replace traditional tours? As of now, no but you can make them work in tandem for the ultimate sales pitch.
Use virtual tours to generate interest and leads for your listings. Once you have your potential buyer’s interest and they’re happy with what they see, offer a traditional tour to help seal the deal.
When used together, traditional and virtual tours can help you sell more effectively and efficiently.