Many markets, including Central Oregon, are seeing a shortage of inventory…but no shortage of buyers. And that means plenty of offers on each listing. The chart from Realtor.com, above, shows nearly 19% drop in active listings nationally vs. March of last year.
Part of the pressure causing prices to spike is short-term rentals. A real estate investor in many markets stands to make far more profit renting a house through AirBnB than as a long-term rental–and, that comes WITHOUT all the legal issues that prevent the property owner from getting rid of a “problem” tenant. Long-term rental inventory getting transformed into short-term rentals means long-term rentals are getting much more expensive, which in turn leads some renters to take the leap to home ownership, since a mortgage on an entry-level property might still be less than renting one (even with the rising mortgage rates).
But does that mean you don’t need to work as hard to sell a house? Well, that depends on your definition of “need”. More competition for a house is generally going to result in a higher or better winning offer. So, while you might be able to SELL a house in a week with just minimal photography, you might be leaving money on the table for the seller, and for you in terms of commission.
Consider these statistics:
- 59% of millenials are comfortable making an offer on a home having ONLY toured the home virtually
- a Zillow study found that homes with 3D home tours were saved as favorites by buyers 32% more than homes without
- more than 80% of millennials expect 3D virtual tours and floor plans
- a study by Matterport found that homes with a Matterport 3D virtual tour averaged 9% higher sale prices than those without
- another Matterport study found that in a survey of 1,000 buyers, almost 80% of them would switch their realtor to one that offered 3D tours
Of course, with that last statistic, we have to consider that the seller of a higher-value home is more likely to invest in a Matterport tour than the seller of a cheap double-wide. Let’s say the “real” number for an increase in sale price for a listing with a 3D tour is only 1%. In Bend right now, that’s still a $7,600 return on the $300-$400 cost of a virtual tour.
But you don’t even have to spend that–Matterport now has an app that lets you create a pretty good Matterport 3D tour using just your smartphone. Here’s an example I shot with my iPhone 11.
But there’s more than just still photos and Matterport tours. Let’s look at some of the other kinds of rich content used to market homes.
Drone videography and photography isn’t just for fabulous acreages. It also gives the buyer a much better view of the neighborhood–what’s close (whether that’s good…like schools, parks, or bad…like a railroad track or highway). It also gives a more real perspective on the proximity of the property from important nearby destinations: how far is it from downtown? From the shopping center? From the lake or river?
77% of Realtors believe that virtual staging helped them to sell a property, according to a recent study by NAR. They also found that 28% of sellers’ agents staged ALL sellers’ homes prior to listing them, and 83% of buyers’ agents found it made it easier for the buyer to visualize the house as their future home.
Sure, you can easily make a video tour of a home out of a set of still photos. Cool transition effects and background music make it almost seem like a video. But what’s the benefit of this kind of video? Mostly it’s just that it’s easy. Prospective buyers quickly abandon these videos when they realize it’s just the same still photos they already looked at.
Now, let’s talk about a video walkthrough, narrated by the Realtor. This is an entirely different animal! You’ve now got the opportunity to point out interesting features of the home. You might be looking at the same kitchen they already saw in the still photos, but…they didn’t notice that it was a Subzero fridge, and they didn’t notice the built-in wine fridge, and they didn’t realize that the climate control is all connected to your smartphone.
But it gets better: when a person watches a video and sees another person talking–seemingly to them–it has much of the impact of meeting that Realtor in person. It has a psychological impact, building the start of a trust relationship with that Realtor. It’s personal, and makes a connection. And even if that buyer already has a buyer’s agent for the house they’re selling (or they’re looking at their very first home), it makes a positive impression, and that might lead to a referral. You’re showing everyone out there that you work harder for your clients to sell their house.
Steve Pacinelli, CMO of BombBom, produced this great article on the psychology of selling through video. In it he quotes Julie Hanson, a keynote speaker and author, who once told him “You are your greatest selling tool. Your mind, your voice, your physicality. And most sales are still won and lost by human beings.”
Matterport, drone video, virtual staging, and walkthru video are now table stakes.
Do the Matterport tour–whether you hire a pro, or do it yourself. Leverage virtual staging to make more people see the house as their next home-sweet-home. Give buyers perspective with a drone video. And make a personal connection to each potential buyer with a personal video walkthrough tour.
These are all small investments for excellent financial gains for your client (and therefore your commission), and really, they’re marketing material for your own personal brand.