Are 3D tours a legitimate tool to market properties, or a novelty? In the following interview, Lisa Larkin, Esq., managing partner of the Tucson office and team leader of The Larkin Ekrut Team with RE/MAX Excalibur in Tucson, Ariz., discusses how she makes 3D tours center stage.
Region Served: Tucson, Ariz., and surrounding areas
Years in Real Estate: 31
Number of Offices: 4
Number of Agents: 24 in Tucson, 180 company-wide
What ultimately led to your decision to begin using 3D tours to sell homes?
We are in a luxury market. My business partner Howard Lein owns three other offices in Scottsdale. Howard is always on the lookout for tools to help our agents serve the luxury client. He brought a Matterport 3D service provider to an office meeting last year in order to demonstrate the technology. I was blown away and immediately sought out a local provider to do a 3D tour for a new home I had listed that we consider to be part of the RE/MAX Collection (the higher end of the real estate spectrum at RE/MAX).
Is this something you only do for higher-end/luxury properties?
Not anymore. I started with luxury properties only, but found it’s a really good tool to screen buyers and make sure the seller’s time isn’t being wasted. The last home I sold using 3D was just under $200,000. The seller was tired of buyers passing through who didn’t like the type of home he was selling. One of his biggest issues was how to avoid that going forward. We required every [buyer] to view the tour in advance and ended up selling the home in about 10 days. I don’t know if it was the 3D tour that sold the home, but it met the seller’s needs, so that was a win. He gave us a great review and mentioned the importance of the 3D [tour].
How do these tours help you on the buying side?
One of our co-op agents had a great experience with a buyer in November 2016. The buyer bought one of our listings sight unseen the day after it was listed just because of the 3D tour. The buyer was on his computer in another state and he was asking his agent to go into rooms and open up cabinets, etc. It was like they were there together.
Are 3D tours a big differentiator for you and your agents?
Not only are they a huge point of differentiation for a lot of our agents, but sellers love how they will help them avoid showings among people who don’t like their home. Selling a home is a lot of work and the screening process eliminates a lot of unnecessary showings.
In what ways are virtual tours and 3D/Matterport different?
With Matterport, it’s just like you’re walking through the house; you’re in control.
How do buyers find your 3D tours?
They can find our 3D tours through the virtual tour link on MLS, realtor.com® and remax.com. I was surprised and delighted to see that realtor.com has implemented these 3D tours to automatically show up with a special icon on realtor.com and that they’re now incorporated in their mobile application. Through the RE/MAX design center, we can create a free single-property website that links directly to the 3D tour. We even created our own site, Tucson3DTours.com, and we advertise that on our sign riders. In addition, we can text or email tours, but I prefer to buy a domain named after the property and point the domain to our free property website where we can link our 3D tour on the info page.
What do you love most about working in the real estate industry?
I started out as the company attorney for a local office of an international franchise and my first job involved providing service to the office’s agents. I learned how to work with clients later. Serving agents and clients and helping them achieve their “win” is what I love most.
For more information and to see samples of these 3D tours, please visit www.realtor.com/3d.