The virtual tour phenomenon has gone pocket-sized and portable in the form of Video Virtual Tour Podcasts. Cutting edge real estate agents are now offering virtual tours in new, smaller and easier-to-use platforms, says Internet Marketing Consultant Angela Parker of www.WickedWordCraft.com, who specializes in helping real estate clients find new, innovative ways to market homes.
“As our society becomes more mobile, our demand for information follows suit,” said Parker. “The real estate industry must meet these demands by creating new, more convenient ways to deliver what clients need and want when they are shopping for a new home.”
In the USA, the greatest number of relocating individuals are between the ages of 20 and 49 (based on Census Statistics), and since this is the demographic most likely to be searching for a new home utilizing tech-based tools, it makes sense that this platform will quickly become popular as a tool for real estate professionals targeting tech-savvy consumers.“Imagine you are in this age bracket and you need to make a move for a new job in another state,” said Parker, “You are probably busy building your career, surviving daily life, and are probably juggling a young family. Having the option of automatically downloading video podcasts of homes that meet your individual criteria, so you can review them in 3-5 minute blocks of free time between appointments on your iPod, is a perfect solution.” Parker says that audio-only podcasts have been used by some real estate agents prior to the video podcast phenomenon, but she says they were limited by scope. “We are in a ‘show me’ era,” said Parker, “People may enjoy having a home described, but they want to see potential new homes too.”
And what type of agents are most interested in this new marketing platform? Those with a technology niche themselves or those catering to an audience that is tech-savvy. Miguel Berger, Owner-Broker of www.TechValleyHomes.com prides himself on his cutting edge real estate tools and enjoys making the best new tools available for every client.
“The Internet consumer isn’t tethered to a desk or a laptop anymore,” says Berger “and we are dedicated to providing the information out clients want in a format that is most enjoyable and least intrusive. Podcasting meets that criteria. Our own video podcast is now available on our website or by automatic subscription.”
As the Internet and multi-media plays a bigger role in real estate marketing, turn around time for listings becomes paramount. One company, MLPodcast.com (www.MLPodcast.com) offers Real Estate Clients the opportunity to turn stills into a iPod Video slideshow and, according to MLPodcast president, Michael Price, can have a Video podcast produced – including background music – in 48 hours or less. Price said he can also add a customer’s pre-recorded voiceovers for a more descriptive, more customized Video experience.
The company also offers full-motion tours utilizing high-definition streaming video and Price says searchable directories will be available within the next 30 days. This means homebuying clients will be able to indicate criteria, such as number of bedrooms, price, geographic, etc using a dynamic search engine model. “The search engine will actually search the XML file directly,” said Price. “People are getting tired of searching for homes by clicking check boxes and using drop down menus… we want to make it more intuitive and easier — with better end results.”
What’s coming up in this new service for this new technology? “We are working on other devices such as mobile phones,” said Price. We are creating formats that will expand outside the iPod platform using the XML to expand the user base and make it easier for our clients to reach their customers.”
Price believes that there is a better way to market their properties, and to offer agents more control over the way their content is delivered, “We want to create methods that will help level the field for new agents who are technology sensitive in a budget sensitive platform. There hasn’t really been anything new like this in the real estate industry… and this is a whole new playing field.”
“We want to serve the clients that want tech solutions and don’t want to be constrained. Our company remains cutting edge, so we can reach all segments of the population and serve all buyers in our area – whether they want printed ads, internet listings, mobile video podcasts or personal showings. We are here to serve them, and we constantly strive to find new ways to accomplish that goal.”
The media market, advertising and even real estate is now driven by the consumer. “A few years back, the population was held captive by the media… they saw what the media wanted them to see, in the determined format and the determined time,” said Parker. “Today the options are limitless and time is at a premium. Today, we use TiVo to make public broadcasts and cable programming conform to their schedule. We take our entertainment with us. We skip what we don’t want. We won’t tolerate gaps in service, waiting for gratification or wading through information we don’t request. Customized, searchable video podcasts meets the needs of the consumer-driven approach to content-rich, portable real estate information on demand. I think this is the next hot marketing commodity for real estate agents.”