All In On FloorPlans & 3D Tours

All In On FloorPlans & 3D Tours

The news is out. Zillow is all in on floor plans, 3D tours and interactive floor plans.  Why? They know it drives engagement, and buyers and sellers love them.  Psst…We have known this for almost two decades, hence our name FloorPlanOnline...just saying.  

Zillow is just now going all in (in a big way I might add), but let’s look at some of the research which is driving their actions.

  • A 2018 Zillow Buyer study found 58% of buyers thought floor plans were “extremely or very important” as part of their online search.  Overall, 84% of Buyers thought floor plans were important. Interestingly, floor plans outscored professional photography and they were almost 2 times as important than a video in the “extremely or very” important category.  See the graph below.
  • A 2022 data analysis found listings on Zillow with a 3D Tour (Zillow’s, Matterport, other types, etc) were saved 53% more often and they got 81% more traffic than those without.
  • Matterport found 99% of sellers think a 3D Tour makes their home more competitive, and 88% of sellers want to work with agents that offer the technology.  82% of sellers would even switch agents!
  • A summer of 2022 Zillow Seller survey found 76% of Sellers want floor plans for their listings and 60% want a virtual tour for their home, while 70% want to work with an agent that offers them.
  • That same survey found 30% of sellers found their agent online, the largest single source, doubling from 2018.  See our testimony below from Valerie on how she got found online and closed 2 other transactions for another $2.5 million in sales.
  • NAR’s annual survey consistently ranks floor plans up there with photos and detailed home information as “very useful” information as part of the online search, and this year, 26% of all buyers made an offer sight unseen. 
  • A 2021 study found 59% of all buyers, and 64% of Millennial buyers (the largest buying group), said they would buy a home sight unseen.  We have had multiple agents sell homes (in several cases double ended the deal) by leveraging the virtual tour (including just our FloorPlan Tour) as the main “showing” vehicle.

And most importantly for you and your seller, listings with a 3D Tour sell up to 20% faster and for up to 9% more than the market average – see our spot on testimony from Laurie for our own anecdotal evidence.

Game Changer.  

That’s what you say when something new comes along and shifts how you do something, and I can honestly say FloorPlanOnline and their 3D Walkthrough Tour is a Game Changer. The photos are amazing, that is the first thing online buyers see, and they leave a lasting impression.  They are backed up with the immersive 3D walkthrough and 2D & 3D floor plan tools that can even get converted into a video to complete the ultimate marketing presentation. 

My first listing with FloorPlanOnline had over 400 social media video views of the 3D WalkThrough Video, much more than I ever had in the past. The results also speak for themselves. Most properties in the immediate area sell for 106% of sales price over list price. My listing sold for 114% over list.  Average days on market for the area is 12 days, this property sold in 36 hours.  

Let me say it again.  Game Changer.

Laurie Jorgensen

REALTOR, Jorensen RE Group, ReeceNichols

Ultimately, as we have seen with the popularity of HGTV shows like Fixer Upper and Love It or List It, or the fact real estate browsing competes with Netflix binge watching as an entertainment medium (especially with Millennials), the appetite for home content is vast, and insatiable

It’s brought to life in this 2021 Saturday Night Live skit that has over 6 million views to date.

I think the proof is also in the strong motivation Zillow has to get detailed home content.  They have built a whole team and app around the idea of producing this deep data of the home.  As a partner and vendor to the real estate agent community, I encourage you to be aware of what Zillow is doing and understand their motivation behind it, but shy away from their exact approach of how to get the content via their 3D Home app, which ends up giving them all of the data of the home.  

Why?  They are a brokerage.  Whether they are saying it publicly or not, they are competing with you, and like the listing data that was provided to them 15+ years ago to make them the #1 real estate destination online, the more data they have, the more they will control not just real estate search, but the HOME.   

As the CEO of a large NW brokerage put it:

“Whoever owns the home data will own the relationship”

In the Zillow terms of use of their 3D Home app, it says they own the copyrights to all content created (normally the copyright resides with the person doing the work), and they even prohibit a user from making any derivative works from it, such as converting their 2D plan into a 3D floor plan (like ours) for other uses.  So, if you or a photographer you hire uses their app, all you are doing is giving them data that they will use 5 to 7 years down the road to market to that homeowner when it is time to sell (and they will know when it is time).  A simple email asking the owner to take some 360-panos or still photos with their phone and then upload them via the app will give Zillow enough info to create a new updated tour with the floor plan they already have in their database, and this will give them an easy path to win the listing on the sell side, and given they control over 50% of the real estate search market, they will have plenty of buyers on the buy side to double end a complete transaction, all on Zillow, all without you.

Think of it this way.  Would you use your biggest traditional broker’s app (say Compass, KW or Remax) to create content exclusively for them on their website to attract more users, and to use it in any other way they see fit in the future (oh, and prevent you from using it yourself)?  It’s the same thing if you use the Zillow 3D Home app, but worse given Zillow makes up over half of all search and the largest of the traditional brands barely top 1% of traffic (Remax is the largest at 1.38% per April 2022 stats – see below).  

Use FloorPlanOnline to create better content while you are more in control of the home data.

While we currently offer a Zillow 3D Home add on as a service, we do so in a limited way to “check the box” enough to get the 3D Home badge – we sell it in buckets of five 360 photo spots (example, the living room, family room, kitchen, primary bedroom, back yard), and we are not doing all of the work to create a floor plan for them. First, it is not as accurate as they claim.  I have scaned my house over 20 times with different methods. The most accurate is Matterport with a Pro2 camera and calibrated in our system, where it is 99.9% accurate. iGuide was close to 99%+ accuracy. The Matterport app+Theta Z1 is between 97-99% accurate and we are experimenting with some app based methods (that will come out in 2022) that are 98-99% accurate as well.   The Zillow floor plan was off 10% for the first floor, and off 5% (in the other direction) for the second floor (and I used their QR code to increase accuracy).  Other 360 cameras solutions are pretty inaccurate as well, and none had any real-time floor plan editing tools (like we have at FloorPlanOnline). So, why create a floor plan that is materially inaccurate?  And why just make a pdf or jpeg of a floor plan…how fun is that.  Create an interactive and editable 3D floor plan model with FloorPlanOnline that creates an HGTV-like 3D space planner you can use for the listing, and the buyer can use as a management tool post sale with our integration with our homeowner app HomeDiary.

Second, if you opt for our 3D Walkthrough Tour option (which includes the Matterport experience), you can also get the 3D Home designation without giving Zillow any data.  In some markets like Seattle, the MLS allows for three virtual tour links, so add the FloorPlanOnline tour as #1, add the Matterport tour (which we provide as a separate link) as #2, and if you have a custom video, put it in as #3.  Other sites like Redfin and Realtor.com will also pick this content up and embed it more natively into the listing presentation page, so your listing gets more exposure and if you use our tour, so do you (see below for more on Brandkeepr).  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Redfin is now pulling in Zillow’s 3D Home Tour on the listing detail page in addition to Matterport.  But IF you have both, Redfin currently will overwrite Matterport with the Zillow tour.  Therefore we recommend NOT adding the Zillow 3D Home add on if you also are adding Matterport.  I think this is an unintended consequence of the deal that the developers missed, given the Zillow tour is really quite inferior in many ways to Matterport’s experience.  I have reached out to Redfin to highlight this issue.  

If your MLS includes branded and unbranded virtual tour fields, we suggest you put the FloorPlanOnline branded tour in the branded tour field, and put Matterport in the unbranded tour field.  The reason is Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, and even Compass will pick up the links to the branded and unbranded tours and Redfin/Realtor.com will embed Matterport in their listing pages.  Zillow currently does not if the tour link is not the first tour, but we have had discussions with them to pick up these additional links, and we believe that is on their implementation horizon.  Note, for IDX sites, including any automated feeds to your own website, the tour will likely be Matterport, but that is ok given most of the traffic is concentrated in the top 10 sites, as you see below.  We are evaluating options to edit/enhance the Matterport tour with our own content as well, so stay tuned there.  

image of top 10 real estate search sites
Seeing this graph brings me back to the point in Zillow’s recent seller survey where “online” was the largest source for finding an agent.  Your listing can be a lead capture source for more business, whether it be a buyer or a seller, or both.  How?  Our patented Brandkeepr feature keeps your brand on your tour on the top sites like Zillow.  You put the unbranded tour in the MLS to abide by their rules, but when a user on Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia or Redfin clicks on the unbranded tour, we recognize where they are coming from and automatically convert it to the branded tour.  Just make sure you use the secure tour link (meaning it starts with https) when you copy and paste it into your MLS.  There are some limitations for mobile app access, but it gives you free lead opportunities by leaving a breadcrumb back to you. We also suggest you create a blog post for every one of your listings, embed our tour on the page, post it to social media, email it to your email base, etc….each listing is a great opportunity to create more content for you and your website.  

Does Brandkeepr work?  According to Valerie, she would not have gotten the additional business had she just uploaded photos to the MLS.  The FloorPlanOnline tour and Brandkeepr led a new client seller (with a follow on local purchase) back to her.

As I can attest, FloorPlanOnline can help you get more business.  

I received a call from a potential buyer who saw one of my listings online.  While the home sold quickly and she was too late, she was so impressed with my marketing presentation, powered by FloorPlanOnline, she not only hired me to sell her high-end home, but I helped her buy her new one, too. That one listing was responsible for an additional $2.5M in sales.

I would not have gotten the new client by providing just photos.  This buyer specifically called me based on my FloorPlanOnline presentation. That’s why the FloorPlanOnline platform is my go-to team for creating amazing content for my sellers, as well as a tool for new buyers through its HomeDiary integration, which can be a channel of new business too. 

Valerie MacKnight

Broker/Realtor, Windermere Real Estate

Why does it work?  As the data presented above shows, buyers and sellers want this content for the home they are either buying or selling, and when they go online, they are not only searching for homes, they are searching for agents.  They are conducting a “silent interview” of you and your competitors. So the tour increases your chance of being found on the top sites people use most.  According to the NAR Report, 73% of buyers interviewed only one agent, and 82% of sellers interviewed one agent.  Win that silent interview and be the one agent they first come in contact with to win the listing, sale and purchase!  In the past month or so, I heard one of our agents got a new listing because that seller saw our tour on another listing and wanted the same thing for his home, so he contacted our customer.  One silent interview led to one call and one listing, all from one tour.

Remember, sellers were once buyers, and you never know who is looking at your listing and what their motivation is for looking.  It could be someone looking at your $300,000 listing to add to their rental portfolio, but they will be looking to downsize their mansion in 2 years, just as in Valerie’s case where the seller was looking to downsize to a smaller home.  So the more you can be seen in more places, with the content buyers and sellers want, the better.  

One final point I want to make.  We hear from some agents that they save the tour and the enhanced content for an important listing, or others have said the market has been so hot, why create this additional content when just putting photos into the MLS will sell the home.  Sure, the home will likely sell, but what is the opportunity cost of not getting those additional leads?  In Valerie’s case, had she just uploaded photos to the MLS, it would have cost her $75,000, all to save a few hundred dollars.  I’d take that return on investment any day, and that additional client paid for a lot of FloorPlanOnline tours in the future.  

Again, leverage your existing listing as and advertising vehicle for you.

According to NAR, sellers on average buy homes within 20 miles of their old home (it’s 15 miles for buyers), so each listing is an opportunity to parlay your existing listing into one, two or more deals by picking up free leads from the sites people use most due to FloorPlanOnline’s patented Brandkeepr functionality.  

Ultimately the winning formula to win more listings and to win the sale is to provide the content buyers and sellers want, namely interactive floor plans and 3D tours (as the Zillow Buyer research graph shows below).  Our most successful agents that list a lot of homes do the same thing every time, in hot or slow markets, regardless of price point, because consistency and exposure of the enhanced content sells not only the listing, but them.

Zillow buyer research
Photo Magic with Virtual Staging & Photoshop

Photo Magic with Virtual Staging & Photoshop

Save Time & Money with Virtual Staging & FPO Editing

We can do a lot with a blank space, or we can fix issues with existing spaces.  This post highlights some of the examples and details the benefits.  As part of our standard photo editing for each full service order, we will do the following tasks.  Additional editing can be requested under Tour Upgrades for typically $10 a photo.

  • Blue skies on all outside photos
  • TV blackouts or the front home image on TV screens
  • Removal of blemishes or distracting power cords
  • Flash reflection removal
  • Cloning out small imperfections not property specific

Example of using Photoshop to remove a moving Pod

Examples of our Virtual Staging

We can also convert blank spaces into virtually staged rooms.  According to one Seattle area agent, a quote for a partial real staging of a 4000 sq ft house was going to run a minimum of $8,000 for the first month.  At $65 an image, we can save you a bundle, and these images can be used for the life of the tour.

Since virtual staging is done after we have the processed photos, you order virtual staging on our Custom Services page.

The Market is Changing

The Market is Changing

What a difference a few months make.  With the rise in interest rates and inflation, we have seen homes go from selling almost before the ground is broken for the sign, to now homes are sitting on the market for days, if not weeks.  For example, according to Altos Research, while one Seattle bedroom community, Sammamish, is still listed at the edge as a strong seller’s market, 37% of homes durinng the first week of June had a price reduction.
Sammamish Market Profile

Courtesy of Altos Research

Seattle has also seen 24% of listings with a price decrease, despite there being less than 500 listings overall and it being an extremely strong seller’s market.
Seattle Market

Courtesy of Altos Research

In contrast, another hot market, Austin, has seen 32% of the listings with a price decrease on close to 1,200 active listings.
Austin Market

Courtesy of Altos Research

And even a market like Fairfield, CT, with less than 100 listings, is seeing some downward price pressure.
Fairfield CT Market Profile

Courtesy of Altos Research

Or over in the Southeast, Charleston has also seen 31% of it’s 202 listings with a price decrease.
Charleston, SC Market

Courtesy of Altos Research

 
So, what are the implications?  Well, the market is obviously in a correction period and we can expect properties to sit longer.  The question is, how do you adjust?

Our view is you increase the marketing exposure for your listings, and you. Leverage the listing you have by differentiating yourself online, which is where buyers and sellers are going, and stand out, with an outstanding marketing presentation for your listing – the FloorPlanOnline virtual tour. It has been proven to get agents more business.  And it can increase the traffic to your listing, just like Laurie experienced with her first listing put into FloorPlanOnline.

Game Changer.  

That’s what you say when something new comes along and shifts how you do something, and I can honestly say FloorPlanOnline and their 3D Walkthrough Tour is a Game Changer. The photos are amazing, that is the first thing online buyers see, and they leave a lasting impression.  They are backed up with the immersive 3D walkthrough and 2D & 3D floor plan tools that can even get converted into a video to complete the ultimate marketing presentation. 

My first listing with FloorPlanOnline had over 400 social media video views of the 3D WalkThrough Video, much more than I ever had in the past. The results also speak for themselves. Most properties in the immediate area sell for 106% of sales price over list price. My listing sold for 114% over list.  Average days on market for the area is 12 days, this property sold in 36 hours.  

Let me say it again.  Game Changer.

Laurie Jorgensen

REALTOR, Jorensen RE Group, ReeceNichols

Also, create more and better content.  If you have just photos or a photo tour, upgrade to add a floor plan.  If you have a FloorPlan Tour, upgrade to the 3D Walkthrough Tour.  According to Zillow’s own internal data, listings with 3D tours are saved 53% more often and they get 81% more traffic, as our previous blog post detailed. And, because our patented process we call Brandkeepr (patent #11,328,374 ) can keep your brand on your virtual tour on the top sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin and Trulia, you have an opportunity to get more leads from more places, for free.  So leverage the tour you already have into a lead capture machine.

At the end of the day, you never know who is looking at your listing, and for what purpose.  It could be someone looking to add to their rental portfolio, and they are sitting in a $3 million home that they want to sell in a year.  Or, it could be an older seller who is looking to downsize, and they have both a home to sell, and one to buy.  So leverage your listing to differentiate yourself online, and it will lead people back to you.

What if you don’t have a listing?  Use the free Demo Tour you have in your account and create a Facebook post on your Facebook business page and show people how you would market their home.  Boost it to convert it into an advertisement and target your market.  It is this tour but with your info on it.  It should have an active Matterport 3D tour so you can show prospective sellers how you will market their home but the best tech available and the best photos for the money, hands down.   If for some reason your Demo Tour does not have an active Matterport, see this post or contact customer care and we can add it on for you.

The post text can be something like this:

Inventory is still low, so list now before rates climb higher.  I use the best technology to sell your home faster, safer and with less hassle, as you see in our example tour.  We can do the same for your home.  

It would look something like this.  When you boost the post you then have an opportunity to pick and area and budget.  Or do this with an existing listing, showcasing a real example and help your seller at the same time.

example facebook boosted post

Post the Unbranded Video to Your MLS

Post the Unbranded Video to Your MLS

How to Tip – Post the unbranded slideshow video link to your MLS.

One of our customers wanted to post the unbranded slideshow video to their MLS as one of the 3 virtual tour fields.  While we do not show the video link in your tour links section, you can easily grab the video url right from the unbranded tour.  See the video below on how to do it, or just mouse over the 3 dots on the lower right, right click and select copy the video address, and then paste that in as a virtual tour link into your MLS.  Just make sure you are on the unbranded tour when you grab the video URL.   We always suggest putting your FloorPlanOnline tour as the first virtual tour, Matterport second, and a video as third, if you have more than one option, or use the FPO tour link if you only have one field, since with Brandkeepr, we keep your brand on your tour on the top search sites.

3D Tours Increase Exposure 81%!

3D Tours Increase Exposure 81%!

According to Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow, listings with 3D Tours far exceed other listings in terms of engagement.  Internal Zillow user data has shown that homes with a 3D Tour were saved 53% more frequently, and they got on average 81% more views than listings without.

More exposure = more demand = higher sales prices

How does this translate into higher prices?  Its about supply and demand.  We know supply is low, but as an agent, you can increase demand to create a perfect storm for you and your seller.  Check out this new testimony from Laurie Jorgensen, an agent with ReeceNichols in the Kansas City area, on how 3D tours can increase the demand, and final sales price.

 

Game Changer.  

That’s what you say when something new comes along and shifts how you do something, and I can honestly say FloorPlanOnline and their 3D Walkthrough Tour is a Game Changer. The photos are amazing, that is the first thing online buyers see, and they leave a lasting impression.  They are backed up with the immersive 3D walkthrough and 2D & 3D floor plan tools that can even get converted into a video to complete the ultimate marketing presentation. 

My first listing with FloorPlanOnline had over 400 social media video views of the 3D WalkThrough Video, much more than I ever had in the past. The results also speak for themselves. Most properties in the immediate area sell for 106% of sales price over list price. My listing sold for 114% over list.  Average days on market for the area is 12 days, this property sold in 36 hours.  

Let me say it again.  Game Changer.

Laurie Jorgensen

REALTOR, Jorensen RE Group, ReeceNichols

Matterport and others have lots of data on how 3D content can drive engagement and increase sale activity, selling for up to 9% MORE than the market average.  Hearing it from one of our customers just hits it home.  When you look at Laurie’s specific data, selling for 8% more than the market average means Lauie effectively saved her seller the 6% agent commission, and made another 2% on top of the market average.  And sold it 8 times faster.  Talk about looking like a hero to your client!

The good news is “3D Tours” do not have to be Zillow’s own 3D tour.  In fact, the content FloorPlanOnline creates can qualify as a “3D Tour” on Zillow and get a special 3D Tour icon, especially if Matterport is added as the secondary virtual tour link in the MLS (if your MLS only has one spot we recommend our tour – see below on Brandkeepr).  In a recent search in the Seattle area, most of the “3D Home” listings were not Zillow’s version.  Plus, per FPO discussions with Zillow personnel, it looks like they are interested in getting more and more content, regardless of source, embedded on Zillow.  Why?  It increases their engagement stats and they can monetize in other ways via online advertising.  Increased engagement is why Redfin has been pulling in all kinds of content and embedding it on their website for several years now. Click on one of these screenshots to see how a listing on Redfin looks so much richer with all the different content options.

While we do have an upgrade option for the Zillow 3D Home tour, we limit it to buckets of 5 360 image locations per bucket.  Why? So we (collectively) do not give Zillow all the data of a home.  They already own more than 50% of the market using the industry’s listing photos.  What if they had 360 tours and floor plans on homes as well that they have exclusive rights to, which they do if you read their terms of use?   Since ZIllow is a brokerage, why give them content they can use against you down the road? It would be like a Keller Williams agent using a Remax app to create content exclusively for remax.com.  Why would you do that????  So if you really want a Zillow 3D Tour benefit, we can shoot 5 shots and upload the 360s via the app, and you get the badge on your listing.  Or, do Matterport and get it without giving them any content!

Now, we hear from some agents that they don’t like Matterport, because it makes them dizzy or just takes too long to view.  One thing we do is automate it, so the user pushes the play button, and we walk the user through the home in a few minutes.  It takes a lot less time to do this than to get in the car and drive to a listing.  Plus, it is safer for your sellers, and it is much less hassle, because they and you have an “always show ready home” via the virtual tour, 24.7.  This convenience is extended post sale as the buyer can use both Matterport and our floor plan tools to measure for paint or flooring estimates, count door knobs or windows, or share with their contractor for remodel planning.  This saves everyone time and effort up through close.

At the end of the day, it really should be about what your customers want.  And your customers are both buyers and sellers, and they want 3D Tours:

  • 99% of sellers think 3D Tours make their home more competitive online
  • 88% want to work with agents that offer 3D Tours
  • 55% of all buyers, 64% of Millennial buyers, say they would by a home sight unseen if the listing had a 3D Tour.

Again, more demand (driven by anyone with an Internet connection) = higher sales price

Leverage our tour with Brandkeepr. Finally, with our newly patented Brandkeepr feature, we keep your brand on your tour on the top sites people use most, including Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and Redfin.  This is a breadcrumb left back to you and it has helped our clients be differentiated to win more listings, and as you have seen above, to win the sale by selling it faster and for more money.  See the video for a quick Brandkeepr overview, as well as how Redfin is really doing a nice job with embedding content, driving more users to their site and increasing engagement as well, moving up to a solid number 3 spot in the most recent consumer website rankings.

Photos in the context of the floor plan sells!

image of a 2D interactive floor plan

Neighborhood POI Photos

Neighborhood POI Photos

Neighborhood POI

Add callouts to point out local points of interest (“POI”) such as the grocery store or location of the nearest Starbucks, drive time to downtown or other area attractions.  It adds a little pizzaz to your images, and it can also be added to any aerial video taken as well.  Priced at just $10, we will add up to 5 POI’s per scene for the editing fee.  Add as many scenes as you want. 

Check out the before and after to see how it can really enhance the aerial image.