Millennial Buyer purchases home sight unseen

Danielle is a thirty-something Millennial buyer. Her whole life is online.  in her words, she expects properties to have detailed content online.  If it is, she, along with over 50% of other buyers, would be comfortable making an offer without a physical property visit.  In fact, she bought her first home sight-unseen – except she heavily relied on the FloorPlanOnline tour to help her make her decision, and then post sale to help her plan.

The home sold quickly for 6% over the $825,000 list price.

Virtual Showing Success Story of Terry Miller

Virtual Showing Success Story of Terry Miller

Virtual Showing Success Story by Terry Miller of Coldwell Banker Bain. According to the buyer, who bought the property sight-unseen, she felt comfortable making an offer as a direct result of the FloorPlanOnline tour. She got everything she needed online, pulled the trigger and bought the home with an offer 6.2% over the listing price. The agent commission just on the increased listing price was 3X more than the cost of our virtual tour services. Talk about a great return on investment! See the full tour at www.floorplanonline.com/352322
Sell Virtually, Get FloorPlanOnline.

Virtual Showing Service for Real Estate Listings

Is it really possible to virtually sell listings?  

Yes! If you have the right tools.   Introducing FloorPlanOnline’s Virtual Showing Service – everything sellers demand and buyers want to hold virtual open houses, 24/7. It’s the safest and most effective way to keep your listing marketing going in these crazy times.  Plus, it has been proven to sell your listings 20% faster and for up to a 9% higher sales price…so it pays for itself!

Visit our Virtual Showing page and get access to our free on-demand webinar to see why 84% of buyers on Zillow rate floor plans as the most important traditional listing content, and why 55% of buyers would buy properties sight-unseen (without any physical visit) with the right tools for your listing.  View the webinar and get $25 off your first order too.

New Photo/Video Editor

New Photo/Video Editor

Introducing the new Photo/Video editor.

We spent last year completely re-coding our back-end video platform to make it more scalable using a video rendering engine built on top of Amazon web services. This added reliability to produce smoother, more cinematic video and scalability to handle hundreds, or even thousands of videos a day.  Now, we have completely recoded the front-end editor you use to create the videos. 

See the overview video or read below for key features.

Key Features.  The new editor is built using modern code and comes with these benefits highlighted below:

  • Upgraded size to HD – 720P standard
  • NO Adobe Flash, which means you can use your iPad to edit the photo order and create a video.  The old editor required Flash.
  • Simplified Intro/Exit branding slides that pull from your profile info & can be shown independently of each other
  • Ability to add photos or even ready to use video clips and sequence them into the timeline (video clip audio support coming soon).
  • Auto syncing of the floorplan images that can be inserted in the video. If a room name changes, it automatically updates the video.  At this time floorplan images are not shown in the photo gallery because of redundancy – but see the video for a work around. Seed feedback to issues@floorplanonline.com )
  • Add a Text Slide to help communicate a space or feature. This is similar to the text posts you see on Facebook, and it includes the ability to add in emojis. 😉  You can also use this to create a custom branding or co-listing slide and select to show it ONLY on the branded version of the video we create (so you do not get in trouble with your MLS and their unbranded requirements. 💡 See example below.
  • Auto saves – no more save and preview or save.  It just does it.
  • Video length indicator
  • Multi-select images – use SHIFT+Click to select
  • Quick editing panel for everything you can change on each media card.  See example below.
  • View Preview – a small video is rendered within 1-2 minutes for quick preview of your edits.  Produce the Tour and Create Video to generate final video.
  • Video is automatically added to your tour with an unbranded version too, and it is available for download under the Marketing Center so you can upload it to social media.  We automatically post it to YouTube, your channel or ours.

 

This is the text slide editor so you can create any kind of custom slide and inject into the video timeline.

Click the photo (media card) to show the quick edit panel for each media item.

Floor Plan images are automatically updated when changes are made to the floor plan (under Edit FloorPlan). Only available in the video timeline for now.
How to use the new editor on older tours.

The new video editor is available on all tours produced beginning after April 12th.  If you would like to use it on an older tour, you can.  Here is what you need to do.  Just know there are some features like the floorplan sync and the text slides that are not supported in the old editor, so if you use this, you need to use it going forward for that tour.

The “back-door” way to use the new video editor – when logged into your account, just open a new tab and use this URL:

https://vifp.com/photo-video-editor/xxxxx where the xxxxx is equal to your tour ID of the video you want to edit.  

example: https://vifp.com/photo-video-editor/184056

You will have access to all the new features, but if you save and exit the page and come back and go to Edit Photos/Video, you are going to see the old editor and certain things will not be there, like the text slides and floor plan images.  So, just remember to use this special link to edit the video going forward. 

Paycheck Protection Program for Independent Contractors

Paycheck Protection Program for Independent Contractors

We are living in difficult times that has hit the real estate industry hard in some markets, but not so much (yet) in others. The big question is going to be, how are millions of people out of work going to impact the housing market. In cities like Seattle and Austin that have a large tech base of workers, it could be a buying opportunity and slight blip in an otherwise hot market. In others, such as Detroit, there could be a downturn. Nonetheless, listing volume will likely decrease right at the start of the traditional peak of the spring listing season. This impacts the income of real estate agents, brokers, owners, and tour companies like us, and our photographers, many of whom are independent contractors.

Luckily the Federal government has stepped in to help. The CARES Act that was passed in March and it is specifically designed to help small businesses and independent contractors like agents and photographers. The specific program is called the Paycheck Protection Program that has allocated $349 billion to help retain jobs.  In short, it is a way to get a very low interest loan from the SBA and if you pay your employees, or yourself as an independent contractor or self employed person, it can be converted into a grant (a forgivable loan) for the amount paid for up to 8 weeks of payments. It is effectively unemployment assistance for small businesses and independent contractors, of which most agents and photographers are classified.

You can find details on the program here: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses

For independent contractors and self employed individuals, you can start to apply for the loan on April 10th. Small businesses and sole proprietorships started the application process on April 3rd. It is likely you will want to do this through your bank, as most FDIC insured banks are able to handle these loans.  The maximum loan you can get is 2.5 times your average monthly payroll for 2019, subject to a cap of 100,000 for any one individual.  Other expenses like interest on a mortgage and utility bills can also be covered (although this part is unclear for a small business owner – is it my mortgage or the company’s mortgage). 

Example of how to calculate the loan amount. Lets say your annual commission income from your business was $120,000 in 2019.  The monthly average would be $8,3333.33 (because you are over the $100,000 cap, the max monthly average is $100,000/12), and your maximum loan amount would therefore be $20,833 (2.5*$8,333.33). If you paid an assistant or someone as an employee where you issued a W-2, you can include that in your loan amount too. Otherwise, if you paid someone as an independent contractor, they would have to go through the same loan process on their own. Your 1099-Misc or other documentation will be required as part of the loan process.

You can effectively use this money to pay yourself during this downturn and the government will forgive the loan if you apply for the forgiveness from your bank. So yes, there are some hoops to jump through but this is a great way to help you through a difficult time.  You are going to want to do it as soon as you can and likely through your existing bank as many are limiting applicants to existing customers only.  And, the banks are still figuring it out – I applied for our company on April 3rd and it was really just a form I filled out for Chase Bank.  They will get back to me…let’s see how long this takes.  I will post with an update later. 

Benefits of this Paycheck Protection Program:

  • Forgivable loan grant – you will have to apply to get it forgiven from your bank
  • Interest is 1%
  • Payments deferred for 6 months
  • Anything not forgiven is paid back over a 2 year term
  • No personal guarantee or collateral required (this is big)

It is a process to go through, but this is effectively a way independent contractors and self employed individuals, along with small businesses that have employees (including yourself) can get unemployment insurance, something that really has not existed before.  I am grateful for the relief the government is trying to provide and let’s all hope this is enough to get us through this difficult time in our country.

COVID-19 Options

COVID-19 Options

The COVID-19 crisis has changed how we live, work and play. Some of these changes will likely continue after the virus is gone.  Some states and cities are in a virtual lock down, whereas in other areas real estate and other “essential businesses” are continuing on, in limited ways, while practicing the social distancing policies set forth by government officials.

In that regard, in locations where we can continue to create listing content, we will do so under the below practices. Note this includes your and your seller’s cooperation to make it safe for all parties involved. Our photographers are in and out of many houses every day and their exposure needs to be minimized to ensure the safety of all.

In markets where third-party services have been banned, we can still help you create great content for your listing. See our Self Service page that provides options on how you can do things yourself, including how we can help you create floor plans from any source and do photo enhancement of your images.

Content Buyers Want

The FloorPlanOnline virtual tour is the perfect marketing tool for your listings because it includes the content (floor plans) that Buyers deem most important as part of their online search (see the Power of Plans report), it helps convince sellers to pick you (because Sellers were once Buyers), and it keeps your brand with lead capture form on your virtual tour on 97% of the top 10 websites, including Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.

 

Best Practices for COVID-19

  • Reschedule the shoot if any of the occupants or you are feeling ill or have been in contact with COVID-19
  • Disinfect commonly touched areas like doors, light switches, etc
  • BEFORE the photographer arrives – have all lights on, blinds up and the property needs to be ready for a shoot.  We will not be touching or moving anything, so we will be shooting “as is” and we want to minimize the time in any property so if it is not ready when we arrive, the shoot will need to be rescheduled and there will be a trip charge assessed.
  • Practice social distancing – this means the only person in the house should be the photographer and there should be a minimum of 15 minutes where no one is in the house before and after.  The family and pets need to be out of the house by at least the 15 minute rule.

Other helpful prep tips:

Exterior Areas

  • remove cars from view if possible
  • close windows
  • sweep or blow sidewalks, decks and yard
  • remove clutter, garden tools, hoses, trash cans from view
  • stage outdoor living areas
  • clean Pool & surrounding areas
Kitchen & Dining Areas

  • remove Art From Refrigerator
  • wipe down appliances
  • remove clutter like small appliances from counters
  • clean sink and other areas
  • stage eating areas (if desired) to show lifestyle vignettes
Bathrooms & Bedrooms

  • make the beds and remove any clutter under them
  • remove general clutter like clothes, cords, and toys
  • clean shower doors and sinks
  • put the toilet lids DOWN
  • Clean mirrors
  • hang freshly folded towels
  General Prep

  • less is more – de-clutter as much as possible
  • any landscaping or yard work should be done a day or two before, NOT during the shoot
  • if aerial is involved, make sure anything visible is put away
  • unlock doors or provide lock box access instructions
  • provide contact follow up so photographer can call or text when done