New Order Process Launches

New Order Process Launches

New Order Form for All Markets

We are releasing our new order process for all markets in June.  The new order form has been operational in certain markets for some time and has processed over 25,000 orders, so it works well.  It is now available everywhere.  The benefits include:

  • Showcase the selection of premium photography (which may be the only option in some markets).  See samples of tours from around the country that showcases premium photos. 
  • Adjust the price for smaller properties, but allow for additional photos to be ordered for larger ones
  • Lower price on self service options
  • Choose from various floor plan and 3D tour services
  • Order additional services, such as a custom slideshow video to additional service provider options, like aerial photos & videos, twilight photography and more.
  • Add preferred (but not guaranteed) appointment times and other details.

This new process is part of our shift to provide the high quality content for a reasonable price.  We understand we are not the cheapest, but we are also not the most expensive, and NO ONE else has all the tools and functionality we do, including our 2D/3D floor plan tools, automatic tour branding on select websites, free slideshow video and our exclusive Claim Home to HomeDiary feature for the buyer, and the seller (as a keepsake).

All of this content can get you more listings and help you sell them faster and for more money.  See the research results from Zillow and NAR that found buyers highly value floor plans in our Power of Plans analysis.  

View the Video to see a short overview of how it works

Now that we have an easier process for people to order, if you need a service that we are not providing, please talk to your local service provider, or shoot us an email or give us a call, as we would love to help you out! 

Don’t forget!  We have several tour and theme options now.  We highly recommend the Story format with the Cottage theme that provides a single property website layout with big content.  You can also select the new Tour format to have a modern, responsive layout that is in the classic “fixed” tour (no scrolling) layout.  This is great for embedding on a blog post for example. You can also use both at the same time.  Just select your preferred default (such as the Story, which you can do in your profile or on Edit Details page), and then use the below tour URLs for each specific format you want to use in a specific situation (change the xxxxxx to your specific tour ID, which you can find in the email we send or on Manage Tours).

Just remember to use the https at the beginning so when you embed it, you will not get security errors AND this is what enables Brandkeepr on various websites. The tour link we email you when your tour gets published is what you should put into the MLS, but you can use the other link for any other purpose (such as a blog post, social media campaign or email blast).

If you would like to embed the whole tour on your website, all you need to do is copy and paste the sample embed code below into a blog post and change the XXXXXX to your specific tour ID.  The whole tour should then work on your site.  Note, we recommend using the TOUR format for this purpose, as reflected in the URL (includes “tour” in the url) within this embed code below.  If you would like to start the view with specific content, just go to the tour version, click on the content you want to show when it loads, and then copy and paste the URL part in the exact yellow highlighted part below. An example link that starts with the floor plan view is https://www.floorplanonline.com/tour/62568/b/floorplan and it looks like this screen shot.

Sample Embed Code

<iframe name=”tour” src=”https://www.floorplanonline.com/tour/xxxxxx” frameborder=”1″ width=”100% height=”700″></iframe>

Read more about embedding the  tour and how to customize it here

Exclusive Zillow & Trulia Functionality

Exclusive Zillow & Trulia Functionality

Your Brand on Your Listing

It may sound silly, but the fact is, your branding and contact info is NOT displayed on any virtual tour on Zillow (and other sites) by default

But it can be displayed if you use the FloorPlanOnline or HomeDiary PRO platform. 

Our patent-pending Brandkeepr process automatically converts the unbranded tour to branded on sites representing over 90% of the real estate-oriented website traffic.  The Zillow Group alone makes up almost 50%!  So be where the people are and get seen in more places

We automatically add you back, plus add a video too, for free!

  • Branded Tour – our patent-pending process re-brands the unbranded MLS tour to branded, automatically
  • Embedded Video – we add our automated slideshow video (or custom video) with your branding as an embedded video on the Zillow & Trulia listing page, automatically. 

Why is this important to you?  Just uploading photos to the MLS does not give YOU free advertising on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homes.com and more. 

A virtual tour can…if it has your branding. 

No other tour company can convert the unbranded tour to branded and have an automated video posted to your Zillow/Trulia listing, for free.  This strategy puts your brand on websites that represent over 90% of the real estate oriented website traffic and leaves “bread crumbs” back to you so people can find you easily and the great marketing you do for listings.

FloorPlanOnline and HomeDiary PRO can.  

 

This image shows an example of how the agent branding looks when a user clicks the video button on Zillow or Trulia.  With HomeDiary PRO, it can be automated from your data feed for all of your agents and listings too.

Enhancing your listing doesn’t have to be that hard

With the FloorPlanOnline platform and the HomeDiary PRO subscription, it can be done automatically for you.

I have used FloorPlanOnline for close to 10 years now, and they keep getting better. The new Story format showcases the amazing photos, aerials and floor plan content they create and helps make my client’s home, and me, look professional. It also positions the property for a fast sale.

The HomeDiary integration is also cool, so the new buyer can claim the home and get a copy of the photos and 2D/3D floor plan copied into their private HomeDiary, compliments of me! Joel did an amazing job capturing the charm and space of this Mt Baker area Seattle home. Keep up the great work.

Rick Franz

Managing Broker, Windermere Real Estate

Want a personal demo for your company?

Introducing Call2Action

Introducing Call2Action

We just released the best way to get a buyer on the line, and then hook’em.  The Call2Action PhotoTM!

Now, every newly published tour has a composite image of select content from the tour called the Call2Action Photo.   It features the exclusive content like the floorplan image, a video screen shot and some other photos.  It is designed to be used on sites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com (the 3 together make up over 70% of the real estate traffic) to leverage their massive monthly traffic to get more people coming to your virtual tour.  Once they are there, use our event-based lead capture to communicate and seal the deal!

The Call2Action photo can be uploaded to Zillow and moved to say position #2 to let the viewer know there is cooler, better content on the virtual tour.  Download the branded version right from the Marketing Center main page.  We also have an unbranded version (that does not have the tour link but just calls out to click the virtual tour) that can be used on the MLS.  This can then get swept to Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, sites that typically include the virtual tour links via Listhub distribution.  call2action_branded (13)

Coming soon – We are also working on some updated tour posting solutions for Zillow and Craigslist…that can make the posting of the virtual tour either automatic, or as simple as a few steps.  We can also upload the branded Call2Action photo right into your Zillow listing.  We hope to launch this new feature within the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

 

PS. The Call2Action photo is live on all tours published as of September 19th.  If you want it on an older tour, just go to Edit Tour, then Edit Photos/Video and hit the save button.  The branded Call2Action photo should then show up as a button in the Marketing Center.

THE STORY:  The ALL-In-ONE TOUR

THE STORY: The ALL-In-ONE TOUR

The STORY The ONE tour that combines any kind of listing content into a site that gets distributed through the web so you can leverage your free marketing opportunity on Zillow, Realtor.com & Trulia!

The Story is a new, easy-to-use single property website that makes your listing, and you look amazing. It’s FLASH free & mobile friendly, so those 60% of viewers using their mobile device still can see the great content created for your listing, including interactive floor plans. Featuring YOUR branding & flexible for ALL content types.  Welcome to the Story.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

You can select the Story option under “Tour Frame Type.”  Then select the theme you want.

The STORY has 4 Themes

All the content buyers want to see

Get more leads by differentiating yourself and your listings online with amazing listing content. See a sample – click to view our Demo House listing

Photo Grid with Full Screen Images

2D & 3D Floor Plans

Lead Capture

Claim Home to HomeDiary for Buyer

3D plan with improved room planner coming soon

Embed Matterport, YouTube, Vimeo

Join the conversation.  Let us know what you think by commenting using your Facebook account.

Virtual Reality Tours Can Help You Sell Your Listings

Virtual Reality Tours Can Help You Sell Your Listings

Looking for that competitive edge?  Check out VR.

What is VR?  It is an artificial, computer-generated environment that you experience as if you were inside the image, or in this case the home. Put on a virtual reality headset and you can go on a tour of a home without ever setting foot inside the door, not only making house hunting more efficient, but also helping to reduce stress in a relocation situation.  As far as the selling process with VR, distance doesn’t matter. You can offer the same experience to a client in the United States and a client in Hong Kong, 24 hours a day.

One problem that has plagued real estate agents for decades is that an empty home is a difficult sell. Without furniture and all of the other little touches that turn a house into a home it can be very difficult for a potential buyer to imagine themselves living in a particular property. With technology, the virtual solution solves this dilemma and ‘staging’ a home, just got less expensive and easier than lugging in actual pieces of furniture to fill a home when it’s open for inspection. FloorPlanOnline’s 3D floor plan solution allows anyone to drag and drop furniture onto a “clean slate” floor plan model and virtually stage it with furniture.  Better yet, they can virtually change wall colors, flooring, or even experiment with removing a wall to see what an open concept might look like.  Click a button and see it in 3D from the top, or go all in with immersive First Person view. Our 3D plan enhances some of the other cool 3D tours like Matterport, which show all of the sellers’s stuff in the property, as well by converting any Matterport tour into a 3D model that allows you or the owner to do anything, all virtually and in real time.

But is this really what consumers want?  According to Coldwell Banker’s 2018 Smart Home Marketplace survey (download PDF here), the answer is YES!  Th CB study reveals insights on how smart home tech and VR (Virtual Reality) are set to benefit consumers in a myriad of ways.  Their survey included responses from 3,000 adults revealing that:

  • 77% of homebuyers would like virtual reality tours before seeing the listing in person.
  • 84% agree they would love to see video footage of homes before visiting
  • Another 68% would like to use technology to see how their current furniture would actually look in a new home.
  • Further, 62% of Americans said they would be more apt to go with a real estate agent, that offered VR Tours over an agent who did not.

Click Here to view an example 3D Space Planner, standard with all FloorPlanOnline Tours and HomeDiary users.

When it comes to Smart Home products that could make or break a sale, the table below shows a percentage of Americans who already own, or plan to purchase, Smart Home products.

The following Smart Home Products were picked by respondents to be the most important pre-install in a listing:

  • Smart Thermostat  – 77%
  • Smart Fire Detector – 75%
  • Smart Cardon Monodie Detector – 70%
  • Smart Camera – 66%
  • Smart Lock – 63%
  • Smart Lighting System – 63%

While some of the changes expected to hit real estate technology may be a decade out to be fully felt, the movement is taking steps forward every day. Virtual Reality has proven its worth and it won’t be long before it transforms the property-buying experience for home buyers all over the world.

FloorPlanOnline’s HomeDiary PRO service is the perfect online tool to help showcase your listings, and well as provide a unique homeowner management tool to all of your clients for one low annual fee. With HomeDiary PRO, you can provide an HGTV-like 3D floor plan tool to all of your clients to they can Dream, Manage and Do more with their home.   To learn more visit HomeDiary PRO.  Existing FloorPlanOnline customers, please contact sales for special options.

Aerial Photography & The Law

Aerial Photography & The Law

Know Before You Fly.

Aerial photos and video are great for real estate listings, but did you know YOU and the drone pilot can be fined up to $11,000 by the FAA for each illegal flight?

Now that the FAA rules around aerial photography for commercial purposes (including real estate listings) are fairly clear, it is extremely important to only work with FAA licensed pilots – either a pilot that holds a Section 333 exemption or a person that holds a Part 107 remote pilot certificate.

If you are using someone that does not hold one of these certificates, you could be subject to fines up to $11,000 per occurrence and possible jail time!

However, just having the right credentials does not mean you can fly.  There can be local restrictions, either imposed by the FAA airspace classifications, or even the city.  Read below for specific detail of the situation in Seattle, currently the fastest growing city in America. The same situation is likely very applicable to your area.

Seattle Airspace Example

To illustrate the complexity and reason you need someone that knows what they are doing, let’s look at Seattle. The Seattle area has many airports that carve up the airspace between class B, C, D and E.  Certain high value residential areas, like ALL of Mercer Island and all much of the Seattle-Lake Washington waterfront are actually restricted areas.  If you fly here without approval, or meeting the rules, you are flying illegally and subject to fine, or worse…if something goes wrong, you could be looking at potential jail time too!

If you are using someone that has no knowledge of these airspaces, that is your first clue.  So do a test and ask them about airspace and see what they say.  If they have no idea what the solid blue, dashed blue or other lines means in the picture above, you should not use that person. Or, even what the orange circle means and why it is strictly prohibited to fly there. It is not worth the risk to you and your business. As part of getting a Part 107 certificate, you learn about these airspaces and why it is important to pay attention to them.

So let’s look at a couple of specific areas that are prime candidates for aerial imagery.

Mercer Island is a very affluent area where the average home is over $1 million, since it is 10 minutes from downtown Seattle, yet it has it’s own village like community.  ALL of Mercer Island is in a Class D airspace, because the Renton airport, and a Boeing plant, are just south of the island. The second a drone takes off, you are in Class D airspace.  That means you need FAA approval to fly there in the first place – before you fly!  To get approval, the remote pilot in command must fill out a form with the FAA and wait for approval. They say it can take up to 90 days!  Obviously this does not work well for real estate photography.

To speed the process, we have applied for an exemption from the FAA for the specific purpose of real estate photography on Mercer Island and the Seattle-Lake Washington waterfront, so we are waiting to see if we get approved.  If we do, then we should be able to do aerial photography on a much more timely basis and this will be an advantage over other providers as we will be 100% legal!

However…there is more. The City of Seattle has its own rules, of course!

Real estate photography comes under the Film Office jurisdiction. In order to do any kind of photography or video legally in the Seattle city limits for a commercial purpose, you MUST hold a Section 333 exemption, you have to have a permit (3 day period to get that at a minimum and $25 fee) and you need to meet their other rules.  A couple of onerous ones being you have to notify all people in the neighborhood 72 hours in advance AND you can’t fly within 500 feet of any nonparticipant unless they are under cover of a structure.

How is this practically applied for a real estate shoot?  Not very easily…

Per discussions with city employees, they are actively looking at how the Part 107 certificate holders (what FloorPlanOnline people have in most cases) can provide services legally.  Let’s hope they are smarter about this than other things the city does…  Until then we are not flying within the Seattle City limits.  If you are using someone that does, and they do not hold a Sec. 333 exemption specific for the purpose of filming (which I highly doubt anyone in Seattle has given it is public info and only 3 people have an exemption in the whole area), then you are doing it illegally.  Buyer beware!

So what is the risk of just doing it, either using someone not licensed or without FAA approval? The FAA is now handing out fines, that can reach up to $11,000 for each occurrence.  One guy that did not receive monetary compensation, yet the FAA viewed as a commercial purpose, received a $55,000 fine for 5 different events he filmed.  If a drone pilot has to land and change batteries, that is 2 occurrences, even if it is the same property.  You can see how this could add up.

Plus, the City of Seattle has prosecuted a drone operator that had a drone crash and knock out a lady during a parade.  He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.   Finally, what if a drone went rogue, hit an airplane or car and caused a catastrophic event.  You and others would be sued big time, not to mention you would likely be put out of business.

How would the FAA or City of Seattle find your aerial photos?  All they have to do is look on Zillow and view the images.  You as the listing agent will be listed.  So it would not be difficult for them to pursue this easily just by viewing photos people post online.  If they come knocking and you do not have the proof of legally being able to fly, you face fines or more penalties.

The bottom line is not to scare you.  But it is to educate you to make the right business decision and hire the right people for the job.  It is not worth you saving $50 or $100 to hire a college kid or unlicensed drone operator. We do have licensed pilots in WA, NJ, NY, CT, and TX, and more to come down the road. But as you see, just because you hold a valid license does not mean you can fly in all areas.  So be smart and know before you fly and hire the right company for the job!