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Zillow’s 3D Home Technology a Game Changer for Real Estate Pros and Their Clients

Chris Zinn has been in real estate since 2005, and leads the Chris Zinn Group, which averages approximately 175 home sales a year in Tulsa, Okla.

He attributes a big part of his success to tactics and tools provided by Zillow. So, it was no surprise that he and his team were one of the first to pilot Zillow’s 3D Home experience.

“Our strategy uses Zillow’s zip codes, views and 3D Home tours—we take advantage of all of it,” says Zinn.

According to Zinn, he originally started using Zillow’s 3D Home App. “It became something that we offered that sellers really appreciated, and it began to be a way we differentiated ourselves,” he explains. “Then about a year ago, we piloted the Ricoh Theta cameras and it’s been working great, much better than the app. It’s a more in-depth view of the home.”

To create a 3D Home tour with a 360 camera, Zinn explains, all he needs is the Ricoh Theta V and an iPhone with the Zillow 3D Home app installed. The app and camera allow him to quickly capture panoramas of each room in the home and link them together, which takes an average of 10-15 minutes.

“What I like about it is that it doesn’t show so much that buyers feel like they don’t need to come see the house at all,” says Zinn. “Some platforms provide so much information, people feel like they’ve seen it all. This leaves them wanting a little bit more.”

Members of the Chris Zinn Group make sure that they highlight Zillow’s 3D Home solution during listing presentations for potential clients, underscoring their competitive differentiation.

“We explain that normal virtual tours get pushed down in the rankings, but the 3D Home tours are easy to find and click on, which makes their home more accessible—and they like that,” says Zinn. “This is probably the most cost-effective way of creating a virtual tour to put on the largest real estate platform on the planet.”

Ahead of the Curve on Innovation
Tony Floyd, chief innovation officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, is responsible for marketing and technology at the firm.

“Our company has had a strategic partnership with Zillow for a long time, and we work very hard to understand their benefit to the consumer and agents, and leverage those capabilities for our teams as best we can,” says Floyd. “For many years, we have done things with them as early adopters and have unique feeds to them. We were their launch partner for testing Zillow videos and did more than anyone in the country. The benefit was our listings would get higher search results.”

That’s why when Zillow decided to bring the Zillow 3D Home experience to the marketplace, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties was quick to sign on and, to date, has done more than 1,000 3D Home tours.

“We have been very aggressive with 3D videos as it benefits our sellers, allowing their properties to get higher search results,” Floyd says. “To make it easy for agents, we bought the camera gear and have it in all of our offices. We have the resources that will do it for the agent, though the agent can do it themselves. We make it essentially free so there’s no downside.”

Dan Forsman, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, echoes Floyd’s sentiments.

“With this new camera tech, you can place it down, get out of the way, click the button and 15 seconds later the room is done,” he says. “You can get in and out of the house in 15-20 minutes instead of hours. That’s a tremendous cost and time saver. And it’s just going to get better and better. This type of tech continues to evolve and will become more mainstream over time.”

Big Value for Clients
Christie Cannon of the Christie Cannon Team for Keller Williams in Frisco, Texas, which serves the Dallas/Fort Worth region, began working with Zillow about six years ago, understanding that the platform offered something both buyers and sellers alike were going to be heavily utilizing when searching for homes.

“We began utilizing the 3D Home technology from Zillow as soon as it was introduced into the Dallas market,” she says. “We were one of the early adopters, and our in-house photographer was able to utilize the equipment and very quickly get the tours completed while she was there photographing the homes.”

Cannon and her team appreciate how easy it is to use and, more importantly, how it takes so little time to create the tour.

“We always want to provide the best marketing and value for our clients, so we immediately understood the value-add of the 3D Home tours,” she says. “For our sellers, it has provided a tremendous value as an additional marketing tool for their home, and it also allows buyers a quick walk-through to give them a better idea and view of a home’s floor plan and features.”

Besides, clients appreciate that their listings are going to not only show up on Zillow, but also have additional marketing features, such as the 3D Home tour, which will increase a home’s visibility to potential buyers and help get it sold faster.

According to Cannon, she will continue to provide the 3D Home tours on all of the team’s listings, as it doesn’t cost any additional money to provide the service to clients.

“One of our favorite things to show our sellers is how we are outpacing the overall number of views on their home compared to other homes on the market,” Cannon says. “This is made possible by providing the additional marketing through the 3D Home tours, and of course great photos.” 

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Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.