3D Virtual Tours are the latest rage in real estate listings and one of the most powerful marketing techniques available today. Buyers love 3D Virtual Tours, because they can walk through an entire home interactively on their own computer from wherever they live. The tour below is an example of a great 3D Virtual Tour, and you can enlarge the tour full screen. But what about privacy and security for the sellers? Do 3D Virtual Tours expose sellers to thieves?
3D Virtual Tours Fundamentals
First, we must acknowledge the effectiveness of marketing a home this way. Compared to the old virtual tours that simply use photos and have the software move around on still photos, 3D Virtual Tours are like a modern luxury car and the old tours are like a Model T. Oddly enough, iRealty Virtual Tours in Sequim and Port Angeles and Port Townsend is the only brokerage giving sellers this powerful marketing tool. Several buyers have bought their homes this year sight unseen based on the 3D Virtual Tours.
Second, we need to ask about privacy and security, especially in this day of identify theft and Internet exposure of private information. I met with a security expert and discussed the 3D Virtual Tours and the issue of security. Anyone who is sensitive to the whole issue of privacy will be concerned.
When I do one of these tours with my incredible nine lens camera, I make sure there is no confidential information on desks or on walls, but having done that, does the tour expose more information than is normally available on the Internet?
3D Virtual Tours Compared to Photos
A typical MLS listing includes interior and exterior photos, and that includes every room in the house. 3D Virtual Tours take lots of interior photos and piece them together, but they don’t add photographic views that are not already available with still digital photos. Some listing agents like to include a floor plan of a listing in the MLS, because buyers want to know the floor plan and where rooms are located throughout the home, and so 3D Virtual Tours share that information, too.
The county tax assessor already includes a ton of information on every single home in the county, including a floor plan, dimensions, square footage, age of the home, their best estimate of the fair market value, and even photos of the outside of the home. The assessor even reveals the full name and address of the owners, and whether they are in default on their taxes. All of this information has been available for years online to anyone.
My conclusion is that 3D Virtual Tours do not expose any more information that burglars would not already have access to online. Having said that, I would say that while everything in 3D Virtual Tours is already available, there is one thing these tours do allow a person to do online. They can walk through a house to help them get a better feel in a real 3D view. So if someone wanted to case your home, they could use a tour, but they already can see if you have nice furniture and a beautiful home based on the regular photos in the MLS, and the tax assessor already gives them the floor plan.
Whether you feel comfortable or not with 3D Virtual Tours, there is a big upside to using one. Buyers absolutely love them, and they are probably the most powerful marketing tool available today. I listen to what buyers want, and they want to be able to compare homes, which means they want 3D Virtual Tours.
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