While 3D virtual tours may be “the next big thing,” it has been slow to penetrate the real estate photography industry for a number of reasons – ranging from cost to simple unfamiliarity. Realtors with 3D views of their property are few and far between and there doesn’t seem to be much demand for it either among them or the clients they represent.
Of course, photography itself has never been more in style when it comes to real estate, and for good reason. Nothing tells a property’s story better than photographs, and consumers have come to expect high-quality ones at that. In fact, real estate photography is becoming more sophisticated all the time; aerial drone and walk-through videos have enjoyed huge increases in demand, as has professional photography. But demand for 3D photography, in contrast, has pretty much gone nowhere.
Real Estate Video Preferred Over 3D
As a clearinghouse for professional photographers in the real estate industry, HomeJab talks to hundreds of photographers and thousands of real estate agents each year. Just through this ongoing exposure, we can confirm first-hand that the demand for 3D technology for real estate photography is practically non-existent – only about two percent of our contacts even raise 3D as a possibility.
One primary reason is cost; 3D photography is expensive and like any other service provider, realtors are always thinking of their bottom line. A shoot using this technology is much higher-priced than a conventional shoot because the equipment is more expensive, and hosting fees increase costs even further. In addition, most home buyers do not own expensive VR headsets, which would allow them to easily view listings in 3D.
When buyers are searching for a home, they universally turn to the Internet to view pictures of each property. More and more often, they are conducting these searches on their mobile phones, which do not lend themselves to 3D viewing. Even video is a less attractive alternative than still photography when buyers are trying to assess a property quickly. Flipping through snapshots of a home online is still the gold standard for real estate photography – but only if it is done professionally!
Professional Real Estate Photos Still Reign Supreme
Despite the limitations of 3D, it would be short-sighted to write off this technology entirely. Homes are 3D spaces so it makes sense that at some point in the future – perhaps when costs decline – it will gain momentum. In fact, online real estate leader, Zillow, just announced its plans to launch a free mobile app next year to capture spaces in 3D. But, many are skeptical about the overall quality of Zillow’s product and how it would be different than old-fashioned 360 tours that were rejected by the industry years ago.
If advances in 3D capture eventually lower the cost of production enough, 3D may become a more mainstream alternative. Once the number of 3D home tours online increase, customers will begin to expect to see 3D and feel much more comfortable with the technology.
Example of 3D Virtual Tour
As true technology geeks, we at HomeJab are always researching the latest product introductions and trends in the photography industry. Keep tuning in and we will let you know when it comes time to take 3D more seriously.