MHVillage strongly encourages readers to follow guidelines provided by local, state, and national authorities (including the CDC) regarding COVID-19 safety procedures.
For many years, virtual tours existed near the periphery of the home buying process – nice to offer on a listing but not yet ready for prime time.
But the fight against the spread of COVID-19, including restrictions on group gatherings and other social and economic norms, puts virtual tours in the real estate spotlight like never before.
One big reason: they help prospective mobile home buyers practice shelter-in-place and social distancing measures enacted by federal, state and local authorities. The National Association of Realtors reports that the average home buyer visits 10 homes over 10 weeks before a purchase, but those numbers seem untenable in today’s climate. However, accessing a listing directly from a desktop or laptop computer practically eliminates risk from the mobile home shopping equation.
To help home buyers and sellers during these unprecedented times we are temporarily making virtual home tours available at no additional charge for all homes listed on MHVillage, the top marketplace for mobile and manufactured homes, and have added virtual open houses to our home selling toolkit.
If you’re considering a virtual tour — a digital simulation of a property that leverages video, photos, and imagery — here are five best practices to use to increase buyer interest in your home.
1. Review Your Software Options
When it comes to real estate virtual tour software, there are many from which to choose. Your particular use case will help determine which one you select. Ask yourself:
- Do you need a comprehensive, all-in-one solution?
- Are you comfortable collecting the various assets to create a virtual tour?
- At what resolution will prospective buyers view your virtual tour?
If you are not sure where to start, there are some good options out there for virtual tour software packages. And if COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines in your area allow for it, you can always hire a professional to create the virtual tour using the Matterport Virtual Tour system or similar service.
2. Set the Stage
Just as with an in-person tour, you’ll want to make sure your home looks its best. That means:
- Cleaning, decluttering and removing personal items from all rooms
- Lighting the space well, with natural and artificial light as necessary
- Staging spaces to accentuate their best features and future possibilities
To extend our theater metaphor just a bit further: rehearse your virtual tour walk-through before the cameras begin capturing the space, either for video, still images, or 3D virtual tour/360-degree virtual tour display.
Pro tip: Creating a list of each room and its most attractive angle and qualities will help you get exactly the footage you need to sell your mobile home.
3. Look at Live Tours
Several popular online destinations now incorporate live video into their platforms, including:
Add device-focused Skype from Microsoft and FaceTime from Apple and mobile home sellers today can host their own broadcasts making the home listing the star of the show.
In the right circumstances — perhaps a currently unoccupied listing cleaned beforehand to the CDC’s recommendations — arranging a live video walkthrough for a prospective mobile home buyer is a relatively straightforward process.
One caveat: Reliable network connectivity is a must. Fortunately, there are several tools online to help you gauge your connection speed, including this one from Google.
4. Offer a Different Perspective
There are few real estate offerings as attractive as a mobile home nestled within a great park. Highlighting such offerings, however, can be a challenge in a crowded market.
To play up any especially distinctive features of a listing, consider drone footage of the property and surrounding area. Proximity to a community center, pool, play area, or beautiful natural splendor may add distinction to your virtual tour that makes it stand out.
5. Get Up Close and Personal
Even the best virtual tours cannot completely replicate the experience of being on-site … but they can come closer if you offer buyers a thorough sense of a listing’s condition.
That’s because mobile home buyers aren’t just interested in the general characteristics of a home. They want to know whether the carpet is especially worn, whether there’s any water damage visible near the windows, what sort of shape the roof is in, and other similar details.
It’s easy to share this information with them, of course. All you have to do is commit to getting into the “nitty-gritty” of a listing during your live video or more traditional virtual tour offerings.