Open House

Ten years ago, less than 5 percent of home buyers used the internet to find a home. Today nearly everyone who is looking for a home will turn to the internet with the percentage over 90 percent. Yes, a statistic we already know and appreciate.

Even more important is the completely visual world we live today…I’m even surprised you’re reading this article right now. Hopefully it was the photography that caught your attention and pulled you in. Since so many people use the internet as their gateway to find the home of their dreams, it is important they always have high-quality visual elements to keep them intrigued.

It is not altogether difficult to believe when we want information about something, the first place we look these days is on the web. Need to know what time that movie starts? Google it. Need to figure out what the conversion rate is in China? You can Google that, too. So, it also stands to reason that when people are on the hunt for a brand-new home, the first place they are going to look is online. With the few seconds you have to grab their attention, your marketing campaign better come complete with the most innovative and visual ways to view your properties.

Consumers’ online experiences are increasingly influencing their homebuying activity offline, according to a joint study from search giant Google and the National Association of Realtors. Real estate-related searches on rose 253 percent over the past four years and 22 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter, according to internal Google data. "With 90 percent of homebuyers searching online during their homebuying process, the real estate industry is smart to target these people where they look for and consume information — for example, through paid search, relevant websites, video environments, and mobile applications."

Architectural Photography is the attention grabber and love at first site medium for many real estate shopping adventures. However, in this “look squirrel” and short attention world we live, I subscribe to a complete and well-rounded approach to visually showcasing your properties and master-planned communities. Buyers have different preferences on the media they prefer to view. Some people enjoy watching a movie while others prefer virtual reality like they’re part of the action. Some of us want to fly through a community like a bird…who am I to judge?!

Let us first dive into photography. I know we all have a camera phone and they are wonderful for chasing our kids around and documenting our social media empires. Just as you hire a professional to lay the foundation of your developments, hire a professional photographer to not only captures the proper lighting, angles, and exposure of your homes, but also to bring industry experience to ensure elements in your homes are aesthetic, pleasing, fluffed and staged to provide the best possible representation, layout and lifestyle for your property.

3D Interactive Tours
3D Interactive Virtual Tours are at the edge of engagement technology and buyers of all ages are taking notice. Anyone with a mobile device or computer can embark on a self-guided tour of a property while in the comfort of his or her own home or office. The client is provided pressure-free viewing freedom. The viewer determines the pace of the tour, the time spent reviewing an area, and the number of visits. Additionally, the builder, property manager, or developer who commissioned the tour now has a virtual model to share even if the property is sold, or the client is out of town and cannot easily visit the property. Only have two models on site? No problem! With your 3D Virtual Reality Tour link, you can whisk your client away to the four-bedroom two-story plan they just asked to view. Forbes magazine gives a nod to the state of today’s photo technology in real estate in their article, “3D Real Estate Photography Is Now A Reality -- And A Must-Have.” The magazine goes on to say: “Three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) is becoming one of the latest tech disruptors …”

Sweeping video tours of properties, both inside and out, convey the style and feel of a space. Different from a 3D Interactive Tour, a video tour is a guided tour, showing the client the features of the home the way you want to show them. Set it to music and the mood is created. With added text overlay, voiceovers and logos, the viewer is delivered both the emotion and knowledge in a beautiful video that can be shared in a variety of online and social media formats. And video is one of the top online social media formats to draw in viewers. The mood set by a video can speak to the company brand, or brand of a community. Video evokes emotion and is one of the most popular online mediums, engaging online viewers longer than any other format. Correctly distributed, your company will be rewarded with more mobile views, higher ROI, and increased SEO ranking. 

Take video a step further and enlist a drone for aerial community video footage. Today’s popular Master-Planned communities are full of amenities and outdoor activities in addition to greenspace, lakes and ponds. Highlight the amenities, the surrounding preserve or water areas, or even the easy access to the interstate. Let your buyers fly through your community like Peter Pan and enjoy a birds-eye perspective, falling head over heals for your masterpiece.

The effort, planning, and time it takes to take on a new construction project is significant. We are now living in a world that is surrounded by technology, regardless of the industry you are involved in. Since technology has been infused in every industry, it is important to take the extra steps to acquire and keep interest.

You want home buyers to be able to imagine themselves living in the homes that you have constructed. A well-rounded set of online technology and visual elements will have a potential home buyer will be able to have their own open house, anytime of the day or night, from the comfort of their own home. When they do come to see your community in person they will be a well-qualified lead and your sales associates will be “halfway home” on the sale your home! As they say, A photograph is worth a thousand words, and you can give potential home buyers a thousand reasons to purchase one of your homes.

- Brian Swartzwelder is the owner of Grey Street Studios, Inc., established in 2001. He has built the company around the core beliefs of client satisfaction through perseverance, passion and talent. Brian discovered his photography skill in college, mastering fundamentals and technique on black and white film. He completed his BA from Florida Atlantic University and continues to grow and expand his business by staying on top of the latest in photographic technology developments and by remaining involved and active in a number of photography and builder associations.

Based in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida they are no stranger to travel. Grey Street Studios Architectural Photography is the preferred choice for a comprehensive array of photography and video services for the new construction industry across the USA. Our client list encompasses residential and commercial builders and developers as well as apartment community brokers and management companies nationwide.


Phone: 727 STORIES / 786-7437

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