Browsing the blog archives for September, 2006

cbc.ca – Realtors Look for the High Tech Edge

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News, Technology

I read a great article about high tech marketing tools that are being used by realtors in Toronto to reach a growing international Internet audience.  The article quotes Alex Morias of Video Listings in Toronto.  I had an opportunity to work with Alex as his business was taking off in Toronto.  Here is the condensed version from the cbc.ca website:

Video tours are the latest in sales devices being employed by agents to sell property over the internet, which itself has changed the way homes are sold.“In 2005, 59.2 per cent [of homebuyers] ended up buying the property they first saw on the internet, the highest number in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, the lowest in Ontario,” says Bob Linney, communications director for the Canadian Real Estate Association. “According to Comscore Networks, in 2002 MLS.ca averaged 300,000 unique users. In July 2006, that number was 2.78 million.”Real estate entered the online world with the launch of the mls.ca website in 1996. Back then, the site basically carried text-based descriptions of properties for sale. Ten years later, homebuyers are able to scout the market online, viewing everything from digital pictures to 360-degree panoramic shots of homes and yards. And now audio guides, electronic brochures and even complete video tours of a home and its neighbourhood are the new hot things sellers are using to help their properties stand out in a crowded online market.“About 25 per cent of listings now have some type of attached tour, whether it’s virtual, panoramic photography or an audio tour, all possible because of internet technology,” Linney says.

Former Toronto bar operator Alex Morias got in on the ground floor of the video tours industry – he started Videolistings.ca two years ago after his real estate agent called him to see how his renovation had gone. Armed with a video camera, Morias toured his house and e-mailed the agent the mini movie. The agent was impressed, and since then Morias has produced more than 1,000 video tours. Video tours help with international marketing The tours show the interior and exterior of the house, along with visuals and a description of the neighbourhood. “Agents tell me it’s helped them sell a home,” he says. “One told me it created a bidding war over a condo, and one of the bidders was from Trinidad.”

Agents constantly have to justify their commissions, Morias adds. “There are 27,000 agents in Ontario going after the same piece of pie. This distinguishes them from the others.”

Linney says Internet video tours also allow realtors to focus on international marketing, especially with higher-end homes or commercial or investment properties. Morias agrees. “We videotaped a house in Toronto listed at $16-million. We did the original tour for a banker from Italy who wanted something better than pictures on the net. He wanted a video so he could view the house before he flew in to see it.” Real estate agent Clement agrees video tours are a great way to reach out-of-town buyers. “I have a client in New York City who got that video tour and e-mailed back saying, ‘I don’t have to visit it – I know I love the property.’”

Neighbourhood features can be highlighted Philip Pellat’s company, Shaw Street Productions of Toronto, produces videos of house interiors that are then used as part of an e-mail campaign or burned to DVD or CD-ROM as part of a marketing package. He often works with developers and says, “This can provide in-depth material about the community, the product, the builder. It creates credibility as well as excitement. The internet is playing a huge role in allowing them to talk to the consumer.”

All these technologies not only widen the market to more potential buyers, they can help make the home-selling process a lot less stressful for people. “Not everyone wants open houses because of the security issues. It cuts down on a lot of unqualified showings,” says Toronto real estate agent Marian Neal. It also cuts down on home sellers having to clean up every time someone wants to take a look. And for those who feel uncomfortable with the idea of someone taking a virtual tour of their home, Linney says, “When a video tour is being recorded, a realtor stays away from anything that gives away clear identification of the house or any high ticket items.”

Clement can’t stop singing the praises of the latest home-selling tools. Of a recent house she sold, she says: “The video tour brought the house to every single agent out there without them having to come and visit.” Neal sees the new technology gradually replacing old techniques. “I’m surprised anyone even wants a public open house these days,” she says. “What are the chances of the right buyer coming to your house on Saturday between 2 and 4?”

Much better to open it up to the whole world via the internet.

 


IN DEPTH
Technology
Realtors look for high-tech edge
September 29, 2006
by Georgie Binks
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/tech/real-estate.html

Welcome New Clients

News

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome 4 of our newest clients.  The videos we produced are for homes that are all incredibly diverse in location (Marpole to Coquitlam), price ( $350,000 to $2,600,000+) and type (2 condos and 2 houses).  We wish all our clients great prosperity!

Josephine Ko (RE/Max Real Estate Services), 8250 Osler Street
Karen Bong (Sutton Westcoast Realty), 3138 Plateau Boulevard
JJ Meyers (Sunstar Realty Ltd.), 702 – 1833 Frances Street
Valerie Orchison (RE/Max Crest Realty Westside), 201 – 1176 West 6th Avenue

Blu-Ray or HD-DVD

News, Technology

If you have been to your local consumer electronics store recently, you probably noticed new DVD players prominently displayed throughout the store.  The new DVD players promise to take full advantage of the high-definition flat panel televisions that have been embraced by the public. 

As consumers, we are presented with a choice,  Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?  The scenario may sound eerily familiar to anyone over 35.  We were confronted with a similar choice for our VCR’s in the 80′s,  VHS or beta?  Eventually, one format won out over the other.  The technologies deliver similar picture quality with the major electronic manufacturers and movie studios equally divided among the 2 camps.

My suggestion, wait until after Christmas.  Sony is launching their new game console, the PlayStation3, in November.  The unit comes with a Blu-Ray DVD player built in and a price tag lower than the existing players currently in the market.  The prices for these 2 new technologies will start to dramatically fall and an industry leader should begin to emerge.

At Video Openhouse, we are committed to being industry leaders, implementing the latest technologies.  Currently, our video is captured in high-definition, wide-screen format.  We are prepared to offer HD-DVD or Blu-Ray DVD’s when our clients demand high definition video on DVD.

Bell Alliance

News

I have been conversing with Richard Bell of Bell Alliance over the past week.  Richard has been such a great promoter of our services to realtors across the city.  He has been promoting his boutique law firm at realty offices across the city and in the process, giving our Video Openhouse tours as door prizes at his presentations.

Bell Alliance has just launched their new website.  Being in the business of providing web content, I have become quite the critic of websites.  I must say that their new site is quite impressive.  I can see that they have spent alot of time on both the design and the content.  They even have plans to incorporate video into their site.  I’m sure that we will be able to help them out when the time comes.

Looking for a real estate lawyer?  Richard Bell and Ron Usher at Bell Alliance are truly good guys.  They offer their clients competetive prices, friendly professional service and have implemented many new computer technologies resulting in a simplified, less time-consuming process.  Please check out their new site:  www.bellalliance.ca

More Pre-Built Condos

News

David Hutchinson has been getting us to produce videos of some of the pre-built condos in downtown Vancouver.  The videos are actually quite interesting for us to produce.  They are quite different than our real estate videos.  I’ve posted a couple of these videos to our blog in the past, but here is the full list:

Pomaria, 1455 Howe Street, ITC Group
Elan, 1255 Seymour, Cressey Development Corporation
VUE, 2520 Manitoba Street, Scott Construction Group
Flat Iron Building, 1277 Melville, ITC Group
Coopers Lookout, 33 Smithe Street, Concord Pacific

Front Cover

News

We picked up a copy of the North Shore Real Estate Weekly today and we were pleasantly surprised to see our pictures, 5 of them, on the front cover.  The pictures were of an incredibly ornate home in North Vancouver.  The home owners had gone to incredible lengths to both upgrade and decorate their home.  Pick up a copy and see for yourself!

VUE on Manitoba

News, Testimonials

I just received this email from Jordana Federal, assistant to David Hutchinson of Century 21 In Town Realty.

We really appreciate all the work you have done.
The quality is just so unbelievable.
Thanks so much.

We recently completed a video of VUE on Manitoba for David.  VUE is a new condominium complex that is in the early stages of being built.  The video is an attempt to capture the excitement that is being created as the building is nearing completion.  Here is the link:

 VUE on Manitoba