Video & Virtual Tours – Privacy and Security

Helpful Tips, Home Staging

We attended the Vancouver Real Estate Tech Meetup held by Ubertor founders, Michael Stephenson and Stephen Jagger earlier this week. The Meetup is a chance to learn about the changing Real Estate market and technologies that are currently available. Stephen’s brother, Michael Jagger of Provident Security, spoke briefly about how blogging has impacted his business and about residential security issues.  Thanks to Dara Sklar of Realty Support, who suggested that we write about security issues surrounding the use of video or virtual tours.

Our Video Openhouse tours are essentially an online open house. In our marketing material, we state that “our tours captivate the Internet audience by featuring the best features of a home.” In our photography and videography, we try to focus on the elements that are a physical part of the home such as fireplaces, custom work such as floors and mouldings, bathrooms, kitchens. Although it is not always possible, we specifically try to exclude any stereo equipment, televisions and other valuables from our shots.

Most home owners have already discreetly hidden or removed their items that they do not want publicly displayed, in anticipation that there will be showings of their home. Recently, during a shoot, I was asked not to show a specific painting in any of the video or photos. With some co-operation and communication with the owners/residents, it is conceivable that all these security and privacy concerns can be addressed.

When filming amenities in the many condos scattered across the city, inevitably, there will be people working out in the gym, swimming in the pool or using the rooftop patio. Again, privacy concerns dictate that we try our best to avoid having people featured in our photos and videos.

I consider our Video Openhouse tour a great replacement for the traditional open house and a far safer alternative. I have often heard from realtors that most open houses attract more curious neighbors than interested buyers. Concerned strata councils often request agents meet all open house attendees at the front door of their condo to avoid allowing access to random strangers. Graham Kirby has a listing at 1861 Beach Avenue that illustrates how our video tour is being used as an alternative to the open house approach. His clients were very specific in their desire not to have people wandering through their exclusive condo. Interested buyers are being referred to the video first, essentially being pre-screened before they enter the property itself. If the video is edited with these issues in mind, I believe the security concerns are far greater with a house full of strangers at a traditional open house, than there are with any video or virtual tour.