How agents can create unlimited virtual tours on properties with a R10k budget

With COVID-19, social distancing is the new norm. Subsequently, more and more estate agents are using virtual tours to enable remote viewing of homes, which also have the added benefit of allowing buyers to narrow down their home selection better before conducting actual viewings. A win-win situation for agents, sellers, and buyers. We believe that virtual tours will soon become a standard feature on most property mandates.

While there are many virtual tour systems and cameras available, we took a look at a highly cost-effective option for estate agents using a budget-friendly 360 camera and hosting option.

1. Camera: Ricoh Theta SC and V

The Ricoh Theta SC and V 360 cameras have been around for a while and comes in at around R5,000  and R10,000 respectively. As far as we know the cheaper SC version has been discontinued but you may still get some on online shops. There are a lot of other 360 camera options you can review here.

You will also need a tripod, so you can remotely take photos from your phone from another room and level the camera. This will set you back around R400, here are two options from Cameraland and Takealot:

2. Creating your own tours

Ensure your camera is charged, set it up on the levelled tripod and link it through the app, which allows you to take photos remotely. Place the camera in the centre of the rooms while and check that you have good lighting and snap away (ideally with you out of the way in another room). Once done you can download the 360-degree photos on your PC.

3. Tour Hosting: MyProperty virtual tours

These 360-degree photos need to be uploaded to a virtual tour hosting platform which will allow you to create a descriptive tour. There are many great options available if you are willing to spend a few bucks. If you are however looking for a free and unlimited virtual tour platform that is super easy to use, look no further than our own MyProperty solution:

You simply create a new tour and upload the photos with descriptions. We've also done some upgrades and you can now create hotspots on the photos to create walk through experiences.

Once you've created your virtual tour, you can use the link to send to buyers. You can also save it on listings in your management system so it pulls through to your own real estate website and supported portals like MyProperty (unfortunately not all portals support this but you can at least promote it through your own website and via links to buyers). Our Base CRM makes it quite easy.

What does it look like?
Here is one embedded below we've done in a property with the cheaper Ricoh Theta SC option. You can also open the tour in a new window here.

As you can see, for a once off investment in a 360 camera with tripod, you can create free, unlimited virtual tours on all your property listings.

Extra: conducting virtual viewings
With your virtual tour link, you can easily conduct a 'virtual viewing' via Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or other video conferencing solutions. Simply open the tour, start your video conference and share your screen with your buyers. You can navigate around the house and interactively show & discuss features while your buyers can ask questions.

Extra: going the Matterport route
Matterport is a popular virtual tour platform that creates an immersive tour experience and is also worth investigating. You can use more expensive 360 cameras (including the Ricoh Theta V - not the SC mentioned here) and even your iPhone (more difficult) to build tours, although you would need a monthly subscription plan, more details here:

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