The Do It Yourself Virtual Tour -- Gone Bad

Services for Real Estate Pros with George Sheldon Photographer

Sometimes, real estate agents just want to do the virtual tours all by themself. They don't want (or think they need) a professional photographer or tour builder. Maybe it's the economics. But here is proof that you get what you pay for: this is what happens with the Do It Yourself Virtual Tour -- and how things can go bad.

Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and take this tour. You won't believe it!


Comments (27)

Scott Guay
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty - Ocean Pines, MD
Associate Broker. Ocean City and Ocean Pines MD
Just what were they thinking.  Maybe a stager should look at vt's in their area to offer assistance to homes like these.
Mar 22, 2008 11:54 PM
Lorinda Ward
Keffer Realty - Norfolk, VA
Serving, Hampton Roads Virginia. Norfolk, Chesapeake, Va Beach

Hi George!

When ever I bring my clients to a home like this I always tell them to use there imagination.  The house needs to be cleaned, think about the colors you will add and the furniture you will put in the house.  Usually you will see foreclosure in this kind of condition, the property is not in a horrible condition it just needs to be cleaned.  Would I have used a VT, probably not but it doe's let us know what we are going to see in advance.

Have a great Easter!

Mar 23, 2008 01:05 AM
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate
Thats one of the homes I wouldn't put on a tour even it they made me.  I guess you are assuming the virtural tour guy would make them clean up first.
Mar 23, 2008 01:18 AM

I despise the "visual tours" product anyway - even if they're good, they're horrible.  This is a mess.  And that MUSIC..   when I hear that garbage I shut it down immediately - I can't stand it anymore.  It's like a bad dream you can't get out of your head!!!!!

If you're going to opt for a cheap "virtual tour/ aka slideshow with bad photos" at least opt for some OTHER music besides that default 'music'.  

I think buyers are starting to realize that 'virtual tours' now basically mean you're going to waste your time downloading a piece of crap that is just rehashing the exact same bad photos they just saw on the MLS, and they just skip it.  Because that's what most so called 'virtual tours' are.  Just glorified slideshows zooming around the still photos we just looked at.

Someday realtors will get it - or they're be punching a cash register at the mall.  There is just no excuse for laziness and poor marketing. 


Mar 23, 2008 01:32 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA
If this was a real virtual tour, it should have never been published. I thought the quality was good, but the content was a disaster. Although the Christmas tree was a nice touch. You're right, get a pro to educate the sellers and do the job right.
Mar 23, 2008 01:42 AM
John S. Murphy
RE/MAX Elite - Patrick AFB, FL
Specialist - Patrick AFB

I see absolutely nothing wrong with this tour. Unless, you take into account all the junk, the endless pans of nothing, and a REALTOR® who hasn't a clue. Other than that, it worked for me.

At least they decorated for Christmas.

Mar 23, 2008 02:35 AM
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results
George - No surprises when you show this home - what you see is what you get - an indication to a buyer ther is a bargain to be had here.
Mar 23, 2008 02:35 AM
Fred Pickard
Fred Pickard Innovations Realty Inc - Hershey, PA
Hershey, PA
If I could figure out the Christmas tree in an otherwise empty room, maybe I could understand what else is going on here.
Mar 23, 2008 02:50 AM
Susie Larsen
Susie Larsen Photography - Pocatello, ID
East Idaho Real Estate Photographer

Where's the dead body?!

With that music and the disarray, I felt like I was watching a crime show and kept looking for blood-YIKES!

Such a pitty; it looked like it was a cute home underneath all the crud.

#1 Garbage cans

#2 Merry Maids

#3 Stager

#4 Photographer

#5 New virtual tour program with higher quality and without the "twilight zone" music

Good luck to that seller/ and agent!


Mar 24, 2008 07:39 AM
JoEllen Stranger-Thorsen
Eustis, FL
Lake County, FL
This tour was a disaster from the outset. I mean if you are going to take the time to do one of these why wouldn't you clean up?
Mar 24, 2008 03:37 PM
Jeff Clancy Gig Harbor Real Estate Agent
Better Properties Gig Harbor - Gig Harbor, WA
That was great! I think this is one of those times a virtual tour may not be the issue:) 
Mar 24, 2008 03:52 PM Virtual Tours... ® - Atlanta, GA
Photography & Advertising Your Way!

In all fairness to the real estate agent who listed this propery, if one exists, perhaps this home was a bank owned property wiith an unbeatable list price!  Investors with intentions of an intense remodel might find this home a "diamond in the rough" and a great deal!  The listing agent may have thought a tour with negative photos was better than no tour at all. We do not know if this home sold or what the list price was.  This negative tour serves a purpose to either make agents drop their cameras FAST and run to a professional virtual tour provider or forget virtual tours all together.

In ten years of producing over 70,000 quality virtual tours in Atlanta, GA our virtual tour company, encourages those agents who wish to take their own photos to practice their photography and get better by uploading their unlimited photos to us and then we build still slide show tours with music for them.  Other agents may opt for a photographer to come to their listing and take professional still slide show tours, moving image tours, combination tours, super shots, video and more!

Some agents do not believe that photos of their listings on the Internet will help market their properties.  Sometimes they feel this way because many print media advertising methods have failed in the past to bring them a home buyer.  This is compounded by the fact that most agents cannot afford to keep print media advertising running for long periods of time... it is just too expensive.  Therefore agents can get off to a good start initially by using print media advertising, but fall short of keeping the property out there long enough in the market place to secure an interested buyer.  This frustrating attempt of marketing a property can drive some agents to the poor house. 

Some reasons that virtual tours are so powerful is that time and affordability are on your side.  The web site sees over 500,000 viewers per month! gives each property 180 days of advertising on the web site (included in the tour pricing).  Agents can easily renew their tours on line for a small monthly fee per property after 180 days... the magic is TIME... our system gives the agent the TIME that they need to expose their listings on line.  No one knows where the buyer will come from.  He/She may be down the street, across town, across the country or on the other side of the globe.  Research is now telling us that homes that took 90 days to sell are now taking 9 months to a year or more to sell!  In order to sell a home in this market, the property must be exposed to the home buying public for many months, with the right list price along with the best packaging or staging of the home possible! 

Agents MUST NOW be prepared to market a property for sale for much longer periords of time.  Agents enjoy FREE access to their virtual tour links.  Tour links are so important and must be installed properly and re-installed often when property ID numbers are renewed.  We teach agents proper tour maintenance and offer "on the phone" coaching and so much more!  Don't dismiss the power of a dymanic complete virtual tour and the home shoppers who are looking for photos of your listings on line! complete virtual tours could be in your area soon!

Click Below to view our listing on under Real Estate Media for Georgia or visit us at    


Mar 24, 2008 05:39 PM
Barb Hutchinson, Fruitland Idaho - Payette County homes and real estate
Silverhawk Realty - Payette, ID
I'm still laughing!  What a mess!  Some homes definitely should not get a virtual tour, unless you plan on using it to show "before" the staging.  Thanks for sharing this great "Don't"!
Mar 25, 2008 04:52 PM
Tony Fantis
Fantis Group Real Estate - Salt Lake City, UT
Realtor,Principal Broker - Salt Lake City
That tour was fun!  Looks like it shouldn't have had ANY tour at all!  At least the calming music made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 
Mar 26, 2008 03:28 AM
Jim in Bucks County, PA

I believe that 360 virtual tours are a waste of an agents time & money. On the other side, it is often and effective way to differentiate themselves from those agents who don't use them (or don't want to spend the time and money doing them). Moving slide shows are just as effective providing they are staged well...just offer lots of them so the buyer has a better image of the overall property and home to entice them to make a personal tour.

Agents these days (as always) should spend MORE of their time concentrating on personal contact, and getting involved in their communities as much as possible. Here they will make a name for themselves and create the most valuable personal branding. The Keller Williams culture is a grerat example of this.

Agents should take the time to look at advertising smaller print ads with companies who offer both print and online exposure with the tools they want already included. Homes & Land Magazine is one such venue with MLS Data feeds and virtual tours (what they call EZ Tour...which is simply a moving slideshow with music...but there's absolutely no additional cost or effort on the agent's part), and all of their syndicated web partners. They not only make it easy and affordable, but it's effective.

Every agent should be required to take a course or two in is SO vital to the "saleability" of a home, right up there with setting the right price. Home sellers need to be educated that a little extra money spent on a home will reap a greater return. No pictures should be taken until the home is staged. Period. Banks should understand this concept as well. They lose even MORE when they don't bother to take the time to have it done.

Just my humble opinion, of course...

May 18, 2008 03:29 AM
Rob Robinson- Lehigh Valley PA
Bertrum Settlements (Title & Abstract) - Allentown, PA

If I can't see inside the fridge, I'm not making an offer.

May 21, 2008 03:37 AM
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX

I kept expecting Norm Fisher to narrate the tour.

May 21, 2008 04:02 AM
Bryce Mohan
Bryce Mohan Photography - Bellevue, WA

George, I feel bad for the person who's tour this was...then again, they are getting free publicity, no? :P


May 22, 2008 01:10 PM
Richard Glick
Kingsway Realty - Lancaster, PA

if virtual tours are done right they give the buyer a mor complete feel for how the house is laid out, the size and dimensions, or any serious problems they may find.

Feb 12, 2010 04:26 AM
Mark VanBuskirk
Cassidon Realty - Lehighton, PA
PA REALTOR Specializing in Carbon & Monroe County

Looks like a short sale to me !

Feb 27, 2010 01:12 AM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?