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Why virtual tour is a must for rental agents

Why virtual tour is a must have for rental agents?Ever thought you wasted too much time on unnecessary viewings and there’s a better way to gauge interest of your viewer? All these can be achieve while you save along petrol, parking and miscellaneous fee while getting a more potential interests from buyer with something as simple as a virtual tour? A virtual tour is an online tour that allows a user to experience and help user see the house as if they are there in person, that’s why its call virtual reality. Imaging being able to see the house and get a better feel of it all from a mobile phone even from thousands of miles away. http://bit.ly/2o0hsbVVirtual tour can be use to showcase properties that your expat or foreigner customers enquire about. With just a Whatsapp away, virtual tour can easily be shared and view on mobile or desktop devices at the convenience of their own home. Virtual tour besides impressing your expat viewer looking in from overseas can also value add by using it as evident for your tenant to keep a record of the condition of the house at the end of the rental lease in case dispute. It can also be use for tenanted properties especially when its hard to make time for everyone to meet at the same time . Typical experience a user goes through while looking for properties online.Virtual tour is not only about avoiding those traffics and narrowing in down potential viewings, a virtual tour has time and again proven to attract more views and gain more interests from buyer looking from properties online. Being a huge market place online and constantly overloaded with information when a buyer look for houses online. Typically this is what happens usually and buyer goes through. First, they are turned off by poor quality photos and lack of information about the listing of the house. Secondly, they also hate and dislike fake listings of houses that don’t exist or already sold but its still being advertised online. Now you know why a user can get really frustrated while looking for houses online. A virtual tour solves this by giving valuable sufficient information about a house. Now home buyers can view from the comfort of their own home and avoid all those unnecessary hassle and this creates a win win for agents and buyer. On agent’s end, theres no better feeling than to receive a potential call from a buyer who already liked the house and is ready to commit or find out more.How With a simple 360camera and a super easy to use virtual tour creator like Panoleh, creating your own virtual tour is now never easier than before. After taking images of the house with a 360camera, real estate agents like yourself only need to upload the images to Panoleh and start creating their virtual tour. It is meant to be as simple as it sounds. A more detail guide can be found here.

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Hiring A Virtual Tour Photographer vs. Doing It Yourself

10 years ago, if I needed a Virtual Tour, I will definitely hire a photographer over doing it myself (DIY) for few very simple reasons. If I am to DIY a Virtual Tour, firstly, I will need to get a good DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera which will be very costly. Secondly, I will need a software to stitch all the photos into a panoramic image (360 image) which will spend about 10 minutes for every image. Thirdly, I will need another software to create a Virtual Tour with all the panoramic images which will take about an hour to 2 hours. Lastly, I will need to subscribe to a hosting service to host my Virtual Tour so that my viewer can see the Virtual Tour which I have created. In a nutshell, if I DIY a Virtual Tour 10 years ago, I will have to spend a lot of money on camera, software, hosting subscription and also a lot of time wasted. It make sense in this situation if I hire a photographer to do the Virtual Tour.However, as technology advance, all the above mentioned issues do not exist anymore. Today, we can easily find 360 cameras (cameras that can instantly take panoramic image) at different price range and different quality or even using smartphones (The quality might not be as good as the 360 cameras) to take panoramic pictures. This 360 cameras eliminate the issue of needing to get a DSLR camera and software for photo stitching helping users to save time and money. More importantly, there is also online software like www.panoleh.com which allow user to create a Virtual Tour in 5 to 10 minutes that help to host the Virtual Tour. We will explore on the pros and cons on hiring a Virtual Tour photographer and doing it by yourself. Hiring a Virtual Tour PhotographerFor people who know me, I was a Virtual Tour Photographer previously. My clients came from all sort of industries like education, interior design, real estate agents, real estate developers, tourism, etc. For different industries, they have different purpose for the use of Virtual Tour. For example, tourist attraction and schools takes Virtual Tour to show their potential patron/clients a glimpse of their facilities and what they can expect if they make a visit. Interior designers used Virtual Tour to help them showcase their beautiful work and serve as a very good testimonial for them to attract potential clients. Real Estate developers used Virtual Tour to show the layout of the units so that potential buyers can visualize better rather than only showing 2D layout. Real Estate agents used Virtual Tour to market the property to attract more potential buyers. Click here for articles to understand how Real Estate agents make use of Virtual Tour. At the later stage of my Virtual Tour Photographer career, the enquiries from education and tourism industries maintained, however, enquiries from real estate agents and developers (they make up 80% overall enquiries) dropped tremendously. Reason is because 360 cameras in the market is very affordable and online software like www.panoleh.com is very easy to use and affordable. The pros of hiring a Virtual Tour Photographer is that they will literally do everything for you and you can rest assure of the quality. Basically, they will help you to take high quality panoramic photos and then create the virtual tour. The cons of hiring a Virtual Tour Photographer is that they do not come cheap. Market rate in Singapore charge about $120 for 1 Virtual Tour with 5 scenes at a size of between 100 square metre (SQM) to 120 SQM of the property. Any extra scenes or bigger size of the property will have additional charges. If you are a real estate agent, you will also need to fix additional appointment with your client and the photographer to take the photo of the property. Depending on the budget and circumstances, if hiring a Virtual Tour Photographer is costly for you and/or you find it difficult to fix time for the photographer, you might want to DIY a Virtual Tour which we will be touching on the next session.DIY Virtual TourDo you browse website? Use smartphones? Use social Media? Utilise property portal (for real estate agents)? If your answer is NO TO ALL THE ABOVE, then do not waste your time reading on. Do you still remember how much time it took you to learn how to use a smartphone? How to create a social media account and post your activities? Creating a Virtual Tour on your own in www.panoleh.com is even easier, in fact it will become very easy after you have created 3 to 4 Virtual Tours on your own because it only takes 3 simple steps (Click here to understand how to create a Virtual Tour). Most people takes less than 10 minutes to create a Virtual Tour (It might take more time if you are creating a Virtual Tour with many scenes). I will need to spend about 3 to 4 minutes to create a Virtual Tour of a flat with 3 bedrooms of 8 scenes. Another advantage of creating your own Virtual Tour is that it helps you to save cost. In fact, creating an account in www.panoleh.com/register is free and you can create 1 Virtual Tour with maximum of 5 scenes with the free account. If you need to create more Virtual Tour, you can check out the price plan at www.panoleh.com/plans, 1 Virtual Tour with maximum of 25 scenes can be as low as $0.25. Other than saving cost, DIY a Virtual Tour also help you save the trouble of fixing extra appointments with your clients (if you are a Real Estate Agent) for the photographer to take the photo shoot. Which Should I Choose?Whether to hire a Virtual Tour Photographer or DIY a Virtual Tour depends very much on your budget and which industry you are creating the Virtual Tour for. For example, tourist attraction usually has bigger budget and has very big space that require many scenes for the Virtual Tour, it make sense for them to hire a professional Virtual Tour Photographer. For professions like real estate agents, every dollars and cents put into marketing will eat into their profit and the property they market is usually of a smaller scale compare to tourist attraction, it make more sense if they DIY a Virtual Tour on their own since it will help them to save money, time and also lesser hassle to fix extra appointments.

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How to embed and market with your virtual tour

After creating your beautiful virtual tour, the next important thing is to market your virtual tour and show off to the world and your prospective buyers. In this tutorial, we will show you how to embed your virtual tour onto property listing portals. You can also check out this simple tutorial on our youtube channel by clicking on this linkPropertyguruStep 1 )Go to your panoleh dashboard, click on the edit(pencil) buttonStep 2) Copy the embed code Step 3) Go to propertyguru listing page under media, select virtual tour and then embed virtual tour Step 4) Paste embed code Finished. Your beautiful virtual tour will appear under your listing Next we will show you how to share your virtual tour onto other property portals that does not have the embedding functions. In the below example, we will be using another popular property portal 99.co as example. 99.coStep 1) On Panoleh dashboard, click on the screen button Step 2) Copy the url of your virtual tour Step 3) Paste the url under the description of your property listing to inform your buyers that you have a virtual tour that they can click on to view.Thats it folks. Embedding virtual tour onto property portals to showcase to the world is as simple as taking a walk. You can give it a try now because i know you cant wait to showcase your personally crafted virtual tour to your buyer.

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Virtual Tours and Videos

Difference between Virtual Tour and VideoEvery week, we conduct training to teach real estate agents on how to create their own virtual tour and one of the common question we face is that the trainees will mistaken Virtual Tour as Video. For example of some questions are, “Can we put the Virtual Tour into Youtube? What type of Video file is Virtual Tour on? Can we download the Virtual Tour Video? How big is the video file?” Very often, we have to spend time to explain the difference between Virtual Tour and Video. To this point, if you still think Virtual Tour is a Video, let me tell you that VIRTUAL TOUR IS NOT A VIDEO.So what exactly is Virtual Tour? In simple terms, Virtual Tour is a simulation of a location using multiple panoramic images (360 images). For better illustration, click here to see an example of virtual tour. As for Video, it is a visual media product which features moving images. Sounds complicated? Just on the TV now and you will know what I mean by video.If you have clicked on the link which I have shown as a virtual tour example, you will understand the difference between a virtual tour and a video. In a virtual tour you will only see still images while in a video it shows moving images. Now we have a better understanding of the difference between Virtual Tour and Video, we can go to identify in what circumstances it is better to use virtual tour or video to improve your marketing.Improve your marketing by Virtual TourBack in year 1994 when virtual tour was first introduced, it took days to create a virtual tour. As technology advance, virtual tour can be created on our own in less than 5 minutes. Not only is it easy to create, virtual tour can also be done at a very low cost unlike the past. For the convenience and low cost of creating a virtual tour, this is one of the best methods to capture potential buyer’s attention due to its impressive visual nature and its fun nature when navigating a virtual tour.  In my last blog, I have stated how advancement of technology and education affect a buyer’s demand. Buyer today are less impulsive, they do much more research and comparisons before they buy. More importantly, they want to see detailed information. In property context, Virtual Tour is the “detailed information” which buyers today want to see because it shows every detail of the property visually.  This will naturally attract eyeballs if you are marketing a property. What is the most important aspect in marketing? It is to attract as much attention as possible so that you can have more potential buyers. Whether it will be converted into sales will be depending on your sales technique and other unforeseen circumstances. If you are looking for new ways, low cost, time saving and yet high potential to attract many potential buyers, virtual tour is definitely a tool for you to do it. You may click here for a free account to create virtual tour.   Improve marketing by VideoComparing to virtual tour, video should be better known to most of us. Video marketing is a very common and effective way of marketing, which is why till today we still see advertisement on TV. Video marketing is a very good way to get your message across to your potential customer and if you are creative enough, your video might even have the chance to go viral and get across to many potential customers. Other than getting messages across, it is also a way to stamp your own brand, letting people know your existence and constantly remind them about you and how good you are. Video Marketing can be as good as it sounds, however, it is also very time consuming and costly. Personally, I do video on my own and I can share some experience with you. Creating a 3 minute video can take me up to 2 full days which include one full day of taking the video and another day doing the editing. For beginners, it might even take up to 5 days just on the editing of the video and another 2 to 3 days to take a video, ironically, it doesn’t guarantee you viewership after all the hard work because there are many creative video online. If DIY a video sounds troublesome and you still want a video for marketing, you can consider hiring a professional videographer. I cannot judge if it is cheap or not because I only hired a videographer once which is a friend of mine, after “friendship price” I was charged $500. If you think that DIY a video is troublesome and hiring a videographer is too expensive, video marketing might not be a suitable option for you. However, bear in mind that if your video go viral, your video can be reached to many people whom will convert to more enquiries and it will convert to more sales. Virtual Tour or Video?“Should I use virtual tour marketing or video marketing?” There is no right answer to this because it is all up to personal preference. However, with the ever increasing number of social network visitors and users, I will recommend to do both video marketing and virtual tour to increase your branding profile. For real estate agents, video marketing is good to have but virtual tour is a MUST HAVE. We foresee that virtual tour is the way how people in the future will view property in social media, property portal and websites. I always like to tell people “Be the one to set the trend. Don’t be the one who let the trend set you up”. 

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How to Enhance Your Photo For Real Estate

The invention of 360 Cameras is considered a god send, given how easy it is to use and the quality of the photo it provides. For the pro or zealous photo enthusiast, these raw shot quality will always fall short and inapt in their eyes. That is why we created this simple tutorial for the beginners to teach them about post photo processing. Photo editing is equivalent  to a lady putting on her make up. Trying to put on her best look before the world. This tutorial gives you the basic knowledge you need to produce the best photo for your virtual tour to capture your buyer’s attention. Now let us get into the basic terms and jargon of photography.Temperature – changes the colour temperature of the photo. Usually to give a more warm effect.Saturation – helps to enhance strength of colourBrightness – brightness refers to the overall lightness or darkness of the image   Highlight – used for toning down exposure. Strong light from the sun will result in a white washout photo, highlight can help to tone it down.Shadow – darken and usually applied to create beautiful shadows in photosContrast – is the difference in brightness between objects or regions. For example, a white rabbit running across a snowy field has poor contrast, while a black cat against the same white background has good contrast.Sharpening – increase the sharpness significantly because unlike DSLR cameras, 360 Cameras images lack the sharpness.  Sharpening works on the edges of light and dark pixels. Clarity – adds contrast to the mid-tones of the photo. The results is in finer detail of textures. Clarity also results in lesser noise to the photo than sharpening. This is why the sharpening slider is immediately positioned before the noise reduction slider in the workflow. Notice the details in the walls between both photos belowWe would be using a free online editor PICMONKEY. So go to www.picmonkey.com.We also have a more illustrative video tutorial on photo editing and you can check it out by clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/2mFwDD5 TemperaturePlaying with the temperature setting is one of the easiest way to transform a plain looking photo into a homey looking feel. Transformation can be drastic depending how much its applied. In the below example, Before applyingAfter applyingExposureUnder the exposure tab, you will find brightness, highlight, shadow and contrast. These are the most common settings that you have probably heard of. In this example, we have brightened the picture, lowered the highlight a bit to tone down the overexposure (caused by the strong sunlight). We also increased the contrast to brighten up the objects in the photo. Before adjusting After adjustingAuto AdjustLast but not least if all this is too taxing for you, there is always a auto adjust button where the program automatically edit the photo for you. It’s a instant quick fix and we definitely recommend you to try it out. 

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