How 360° virtual tours can really transform the real estate business

360 cameras can help realtors create an immersive experience for customers and improve the property buying process.
3 May 2018

360 cameras can transform buiness for realtors. Source: PRNewsfoto/Ricoh Innovations Corporation

Real estate in any city in the world is competitive. In the United States, this competition is especially fierce.

According to the National Association of Realtors, last year, 5.51 million existing homes and 612,000 newly constructed homes were sold in the country. This was made possible by 2 million real estate agents with active licenses registered with The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials.

To beat the competition, realtors are constantly looking for new and innovative ideas that can help delight the customer, solve problems they face in their discovery and purchase journey, and transform their experience.

One way for realtors to do all that is by using 360-degree videos that help prospective customers virtually tour a property instead of actually having to physically go and visit it.

To create a virtual tour of a property, a realtor will need to pay a hefty price tag because it’ll require professional photographers and take hours or even days to create a finished product.

However, it’s extremely effective if done well. Not only does it help realtors maximize their time and efficiency but also provides an immersive experience to customers who can now arm-chair travel and check out new properties on the market, anywhere in the world.

However, ever since the technology became publicly available, creating 360-degree experiences has been expensive although companies are constantly trying to make it more affordable to boost adoption.

Ricoh has recently announced RICOH Tours, a product that the company claims is the industry’s only complete and affordable 360° virtual real estate tour service.

For the flat rate of US$45 per month, subscribers will benefit from unlimited active immersive tours, a tour creation app, shareable links and visitor analytics.

Ricoh claims that the product requires no professional technical or photography experience or expensive tools – the process is all done via an easy-to-use mobile agent app on an iOS or Android device and a 360° camera for high-quality images.

“All that is needed to get started is a subscription to RICOH Tours and the RICOH THETA 360° camera. Agents can connect to the RICOH Tours app via a Wi-Fi connection, instantly capture with one-click high-quality 360° images with high dynamic range (HDR) and create complete tours on the go,” said the company’s press release.

The company also helps real estate agents gather rich analytics that allow them to learn more about their customers, including how many people view a listing and from where. This easy-to-use bird’s eye view into a visitor’s journey can ultimately help agents win new business and close more deals.

There’s no doubt that Ricoh and other players in the market can make 360-degree cameras more accessible for real estate agents, but at the end of the day, it’s all up to the realtor to provide a good experience to his customers if he wants to stay in business.