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You can find here some useful information for real esate professionals, and recent interviews as well!

Virtual Staging: Optimizing Vacant Listings as a Marketing Technology

As it is known, demand creates supply and real estate business is a perfect marketplace for introducing new technologies and marketing tools. Surely, people do want to buy and sell homes but let`s remember, that year after year consumer becomes more and more uncompromising.

Real estate virtual staging is not a new service, it first became available nearly 10 years ago, but at that period it was not very popular. And do you know why? Because the quality of virtually staged photos was far away from perfect, the colors were sharp and bright; furniture looked like it was taken from a graphically poor computer game.

Technically, they lacked the most important element, which guarantees virtual staging effectiveness – realism. But there is also another requirement virtual home staging should meet – it is intended to help the buyer to visualize his future home, to see himself living in it, to catch a feeling of sweet home, not just bare-walled construction. This aspect deals with psychology, here is important to influence buyer’s decision and that is the most challenging part of every business.

Virtual Staging Services – The Idea & The Way It Is Achieved

So, it becomes obvious that somewhat funny pictures with terrible graphics cannot reach out the buyer`s heart but, fortunately, 3D technology development does not stand still as well as the professionalism of 3D designers. Nowadays, these two have reached incredible heights and in 90% of cases, it is impossible to distinguish real interiors with ones modeled in 3D.

The process of creating virtually staged room is described many times on the web, so there is no necessity to go into details. The idea is to add virtual furniture, design and decor elements on the photo of a real vacant room, received from real estate agent. Before starting work on the project, сustomers are asked to send pictures of interior designs they like to make sure they will be satisfied with the style and general conception. It is also possible to replace existing furniture or to change colors or textures of walls, flooring, and ceiling. But this variation of virtual staging services is more expensive because it requires full recreation of initial design in 3D.

Internet And Money Rule The Business

Just a small question, where is real estate photography used to make much money? You all probably guess it right; the answer is real estate brokers websites!

Now we’ve reached the point of online listings because this is the area where virtual home staging can bring maximum benefit. Excessive explanations are unnecessary, photos of empty rooms look ugly and unattractive, the buyer sees just walls, floor, ceiling, windows and at the best they are in good condition.

Now imagine 10, 20 pictures of this kind. They do not cause interest because they are not special (we have already spoken about consumers hunger for all the most beautiful and outstanding). Nearly 80% of realtors proved that use of virtual furniture for real estate had increased online sales to a significant degree.

Virtually staged pictures developed by the professional talented designer are able to cause wow-effect being published online. It is the same with showing before – after photos, customers love to watch them so much and this is only to your, real estate agents, advantage.

Is a good product always expensive?

The price for virtual staging services varies depending on a number of photos, turnaround time and reputation of 3D visualization company. On average, in 2017, it is about $60-$100 per photo and, in fact, some real estate agents consider this price high. However, as always, everything is known in comparison.

For example, traditional staging is much more costly arrangement when realtor can pay up to $2000 for a house of medium size. In addition, physical staging implies monthly payments due to the contract, so if you sold the properties in some days after staging, you would pay for some months anyway.

Of course, you can save and not use the service at all and if you are patient enough to wait for some months to find the buyer this variant will go with you. After all, the growth of our business is our personal responsibility and it is up to you to choose the strategy of its development.

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Rendering vs. Reality: Can These Virtually-Staged Photos of Available NYC Apartments Fool You?

Traditionally-staged listings against Hasten's virtually-staged apartments.

Traditionally-staged listings against Hasten's virtually-staged apartments.

Gone are the days of physically staging an apartment – well, mostly. Anyone who's been on the hunt for a new home has likely come across hundreds of virtually staged photos, many of which are obviously fake with disproportionate and cartoonish furniture, but some are incredibly realistic – they even fool us real estate professionals! The best we've seen come from Hasten (read our interview with Hasten's CEO Aleksandr Lanin here), an NYC-based company that 84% of top-selling brokers trust to produce life-like listings that sell faster. And if you don't believe us, get ready to put your skills to the test. 

Below, we've compiled a mix of listings, some of which have been virtually staged by Hasten and some that use the traditional (and costly) method of physically staging. At the end, take our Rendering or Reality quiz and see if you can decipher what's real and what's not.

1. 634 Washington Street, #3A – $1,150,000

2 Beds, 1 Bath | West Village    (Compass)

2 Beds, 1 Bath | West Village

(Compass)

4 Beds, 4 Baths | Carnegie Hill    (Corcoran)

4 Beds, 4 Baths | Carnegie Hill

(Corcoran)

2 Beds, 2.5 Baths | Chelsea    (Stribling)

2 Beds, 2.5 Baths | Chelsea

(Stribling)

1 Beds, 1 Bath | Greenwich Village    (Compass)

1 Beds, 1 Bath | Greenwich Village

(Compass)

1 Bed, 1 Bath | SoHo    (Compass)

1 Bed, 1 Bath | SoHo

(Compass)

2 Beds, 2 Baths | 1,392 SF | Harlem    (Compass)

2 Beds, 2 Baths | 1,392 SF | Harlem

(Compass)

2 Beds, 2 Baths | 1,323 SF | Fort Greene    (Stribling)

2 Beds, 2 Baths | 1,323 SF | Fort Greene

(Stribling)

5 Beds, 6+ Baths | 5,937 SF | Tribeca    (Corcoran)

5 Beds, 6+ Baths | 5,937 SF | Tribeca

(Corcoran)

Take a 3-D Apartment Tour to See the Real Estate Listing of the Future

333 East 91st St Teaser Video

MANHATTAN — Real estate broker Bianca D'Alessio was taken by surprise when a woman relocating from Boston to New York called last week with an offer on a new condo in an Upper East Side building, saying she had already done a “walk through.”

D'Alessio never took the woman on a tour of the model apartment at the Gianna, at 184 E. 64th St., but the buyer felt as if she had already seen enough of space, since there’s a 3-D model of it on the building’s website.

“I received an offer based on a visual tour,” said D'Alessio, of Nest Seekers. “You can zoom in on the quality of the finishes and see the magnificent fixtures. As you’re ‘walking through,’ you can see the detailing on the closets. You can zoom in and see there’s a Toto toilet and a Sub-zero refrigerator and Wolf range.”

Offering 360-degree three-dimensional tours is taking the presentation of real estate listings to the next level, brokers said. The tours will soon become more commonplace as technology has made creating such virtual tours cheaper than ever, many believe. 

3-D listing (Image courtesy of GeoCV.)

"For your client [who is selling], you want to be getting the right people through the door," said Alessio, who began incorporating 3-D listings in June. "I think it even weeds some people out. When you have this tool, it's almost their second showing, and you know they're interested as soon as they walk through."

GeoCV has been offering its services — including the 3-D tour, high-quality photos and a dollhouse-like floor plan — to brokers like D'Alessio since June. It plans to unveil a do-it-yourself kit at the end of the year for brokers to rent or buy, with a special 3-D camera that attaches to a smartphone using the company’s custom-made rotation device, explained Anton Yakubenko, GeoCV's CEO and co-founder.

It takes about an hour per 1,000 square feet to do a photo scan of an apartment and two days to turn around the finished product. The company currently charges 10 cents per square foot for its services, with a minimum of $199 per listing.

“It’s really a disruptive price for the market. It costs two or three times more from others,” Yakubenko said about other companies offering 3-D services.

His company uses "new generation" smartphones with 3-D cameras, he said, and is moving toward using a regular smartphone with a special attachment. Other companies tend to use pricey special cameras rather than smartphones.

His company is also developing an application to create virtual-reality tours of real estate listings, which new developments are increasingly using to give potential tenants a better feel for how the spaces will look when finished.

The demand for VR, Yakubenko noted, is less than the 3-D model right now, since few people have VR headsets at home to view listings. But he envisions a future where brokers have headsets in their office or can bring them to clients’ homes.

“It’s time-saving for agents and clients,” he said of the tools that can cut down on unnecessary trips to open houses.

The 3-D tours even help apartments that may need work and don’t show well in photos, he said.

“An agent was selling a townhouse needing significant renovation. He wanted buyers to understand the work involved,” Yakubenko said.

While some homes in similar condition often languish on the market, this particular townhouse, in Crown Heights, sold in a couple of weeks, he added.

D'Alessio agreed that more transparency can help apartments with potential pitfalls.

“It’s better to know what you’re walking into than be surprised,” she said.

Originally written by Amy Zimmer dnainfo.com

3D videos: A new way to tour NYC real estate up for sale

Home hunting is no game, but some real estate agents say virtual reality can curb the back-and-forth of the chase and make the pursuit more manageable.

After toying with the technology for years, many New York agents use 3-D video tours to showcase condos and other homes available for purchase.

But a number of agents said crafting full-scale presentations for forthcoming residences remains risky.

Many noted virtual reality videos can help agents narrow down where to take clients, particularly international buyers. The technology allows viewers to enter a simulated three-dimensional environment, where, in many cases, they can get a sense of how things would look as they walk through a home and turn their head in various directions.

VR tours can be simple, online presentations that anyone can access, models that require just a downloadable smartphone app and a cardboard case for the phone, and more intricate tours that rely on special headgear or goggles. When such high-tech gear is needed, agents often offer their clients virtual viewings in their offices.

“In VR video you can’t hide wires, and you can’t hide lights, so everything is as it is,” said Randy Baruh, a real estate agent with Corcoran. “You see a lot of photos ... and everything is perfect, and it’s not really exactly what it’s going to look like.”

Halstead hired staff to create 360-degree videos for about four to five homes a week that may then be viewed on the firm’s website.

But Halstead’s chief marketing officer Matt Leone said it has only worked with a few clients interested in creating a virtual tour for not-yet-complete residential projects, which Halstead is not set up to do in-house.

“That expense is probably not worth it at this juncture, based on the development cost, unless it’s a very expensive space,” Leone said.

Eydie Saleh, a salesperson at Mirador Real Estate, argues the costs have already dropped enough to make it economical, as long as developers view the virtual tours as the primary marketing tool, and not a bonus tactic.

She persuaded a development firm planning condos in Park Slope to avoid the common tactic of renting space where prospective buyers are invited to tour a model unit.

Instead, Saleh will send floor plans to a tech company that will create a remote-control navigable virtual tour, which Saleh says will appeal to the millennial generation that grew up playing video games.

“It saves an enormous amount of money — like hundreds of thousands,” said Saleh, who plans to show samples of materials available in condo bathrooms and kitchens alongside the VR tour in her office.

For not-yet-built projects, virtual reality services at Anyworld start at $3,000 for a condo and vary, depending on whether the virtual reality agency is showing the exterior as well as the interior, or adding furniture and making other staging decisions.

By contrast, Anyworld’s founder Filip Baba said the company charges 25 cents per square foot for videos of existing homes, which means a typical, 1,000-square-foot condo can be done for just under $300 — or about the cost of hiring a professional photographer.

He said VR technology is not yet cost-effective for many rentals, but that may soon change.

“If you study the history of even regular real estate listings, photos were even a big deal and it took a while to even roll that out,” Baba said. “I predict the consumer market will demand [virtual reality] more within a couple of years.”

Originally written by Sarina Trangle for amNewYork

Strategies that sell — and fast

Keller Williams Realtor CC Underwood reveals how solid marketing can get homes sold quickly.

Underwood’s advice

  • Always hire a professional photographer.
  • Virtual staging can replace actual furniture.
  • Don’t let dated colors turn off buyers, repaint.
  • Fill the MLS listing with helpful information. Buyers shop online and want information.
  • Open houses are a great way for real estate agents to get leads.

Time is money, as the saying goes.

Keller Williams Realtor CC Underwood explained how proper marketing can expedite the homeselling process at the Northeast Florida Builders Association Lunch & Learn in May.

Skillful online marketing is critical, Underwood said. If buyers don’t like what they see online, they won’t schedule a showing.

“In all price ranges for every 10 showings, you should have one offer, if not more,” she said.

“Your marketing is your brand,” Underwood said. It’s essential that the branding reflect the quality of the product. 

She acknowledged that marketing can be costly, but the investment will be beneficial in terms of reducing how long the home sits on the market.

As the industry changes, marketing strategies have evolved as well. For example, today’s buyers want to view videos of listings.

“If you’re not willing to change with the industry, then you are going to be left behind,” Underwood said. “You’ve got to constantly innovate and do it. Sometimes that means spending money.”

Photo advice

Always hire a professional photographer to take photos of the property, Underwood said. 

There are seven images buyers want to see: the front elevation, the backyard, the pool, the kitchen, the master bedroom, the master bath and the family room. 

Be sure the photos reflect the true colors of the exterior and interior of the home. Interior shots can be tricky because of lighting.

Include aerial photographs, especially if the home is in a golf community or there are other distinct neighborhood amenities.

For new construction, Underwood advocates interactive videos, such as live, on-site walk-throughs. Educational videos about the overall product or specific features, such as showcasing available lots, are another option. 

Ideally, the videos should be between 60 seconds and two minutes long, Underwood said. They can be posted to Facebook or YouTube. 

Staging and updates

Certain colors, such as red — a trendy color in the late 1990s and early 2000s — and patterns, such as florals, will date a home. Paint is an easy, inexpensive update. 

When the significance of color is explained in terms of dollar value, sellers aren’t opposed to painting, Underwood said.

Many million-dollar homes sitting on the market are too dated for the price the sellers are asking, Underwood said. That’s a conversation the professional must have with the client.

Homestaging also can have a significant impact. For vacant homes, Underwood suggests virtual staging rather than filling the home with furniture. 

Because many buyers rely on online photos when home shopping, virtual staging uses computer technology to add furniture and other décor to photos of listings. At a cost of about $35 per room, “it’s completely worth it,” she said.

For model or luxury homes, Underwood prefers in-home staging. If the home is less than $500,000, she suggests staging only the main rooms: master bedroom, dining room, a study, an office, breakfast nook and family room. Patio furniture is another option. 

Staging, though, can be overdone, Underwood cautioned.

“There’s a fine line between staged and too much,” she said. Don’t place items on top of kitchen cabinets, for instance, because it can adversely affect the perception of space, making the area look smaller. 

MLS 

Today’s buyers are information-seekers, and by providing documentation up front on the Multiple Listing Service, the seller can both demonstrate the property’s value and reduce the back-and-forth conversations about specifics.

“Most buyers are looking online three to six months before they actually purchase and contact a Realtor,” Underwood said.

For example, the cost of utilities is asked by many buyers. Include a utility sheet that lists the average cost, as well as information such as the electric company, cable provider, homeowners’ association dues and lawn maintenance company. 

If there’s a pool on the property, include the cost of upkeep and the company the seller uses for maintenance. 

“These are the true fees and factors that are going to make up the buyer’s mind because they’re thinking payments,” Underwood said. 

Have the seller create an upgrade sheet and their cost. With resales, buyers tend to have a disconnect between an upgrade and its value, Underwood said.

If the home doesn’t have a pool, have a designer draw some design specs for one and post it on MLS. “They can’t visualize it if they can’t see it,” Underwood said. 

The seller also should write a letter for potential homebuyers that describes the property and the community. The seller can highlight annual community gatherings and provide an overall impression of the neighborhood.

 Also, include details such as room dimensions and the school district.

“People are making decisions based on the school district,” Underwood said, “And if you either advertise it wrong or don’t advertise it at all, you could be missing buyers who are searching by school district.”

Social media

Underwood places high value on Facebook as one of her team’s top three sources of business for both buyers and sellers. 

Posts that generate the most traffic are “coming soon” and price reductions. Open houses and featured listings also make effective posts. 

Unless it’s a highly sought area such as Nocatee, for example, the Underwood team seldom includes the location of the home. 

Underwood added that her team will boost their Facebook posts, but they rarely use the Facebook ads feature. 

Open houses and prospecting 

Underwood strongly advocates open houses. To execute a successful open house, preparation is essential, she said. Promote the open house and invite people, including the neighbors.

Neighbors also can provide promising leads. If a new listing becomes available, let the neighbors know someone in their neighborhood is selling their house and ask if they know anyone who might like to live there. 

An additional strategy is to market the listing to surrounding neighborhoods to let them know about the opportunity to move up in a nearby community. “Typically, people stay close,” Underwood said. 

Originally written by Carrie Resch for http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/