Virtual Home Tour Revolution

Open homes – a necessary evil of house-hunters everywhere.

Rushing to make it there in the half-hour slot, taking off your shoes, signing the book, awkwardly shuffling past people up and down the stairs.

What if you could weed out all the houses that don’t even come close to what you’re looking for without having to go through all of that rigmarole?

Or in reverse, what if you could easily take a look at a property that you may have discounted and not bothered to go and see in person?

That’s where virtual home tours come in – putting a new spin on traditional home-viewing.

A recent article predicted Kiwi house-hunters may soon swap open homes for virtual reality.

Open2view is leading the way…

Open2view is already at the forefront of this technology with its 3D HomeView tours.

House-hunters can explore a property from every angle at their own pace on their computers, smartphones and tablets without having to physically step foot in the house.

HomeView uses 3D photography to capture and create interactive content with three different perspectives:

1. Walkthrough – navigate seamlessly from room to room and view it at any angle.

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2. Dollhouse – zoom out to a 3D dollhouse view.

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3. Floor plan – see everything in its place from above.

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Granted there are no virtual reality headsets but I bet they play havoc with your hair…

Virtual reality may not replace open homes entirely, but our HomeView tours allow would-be buyers to see a house from perspectives they would never get in real life, so there’s no denying it has its place.

We’re all used to having most things instantly available at our fingertips these days – and now house hunting is no different!

Check out our current listings to explore a property at your own pace, from every angle, by taking your own 3D HomeView tour – just look for the HomeView icon.

Or contact Open2view’s teams in New Zealand and Australia today to find out more about 3D HomeView.

What do you think of the idea of house hunting via virtual reality? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Real estate ‘mini-movies’. Effective or excessive?

We’re big fans of HD video. It’s just one of the many services we offer here at Open2view.  Using high quality video to take viewers on a journey through a property and letting them ‘live the dream’ for a while, is an incredibly effective and powerful marketing tool for the real estate industry.

Without a doubt, it can be even more effective if that video goes viral.

‘Mini-movies’ are not new to the real estate industry. There have been some very, errrm, interesting examples in the past:

Real estate agents starring in their own property marketing videos is also nothing new, but a recent video that was brought to our attention left us wondering if this style of mini-movie making is very clever marketing, or perhaps a bit of overkill?

Shaken not stirred

Real estate agent Darren Berley claims to have an ‘Australian Real Estate First’ with his property video for a Penthouse Apartment in Perth, starring as 007 himself, in a James Bond inspired ‘mini-movie’ and performing all of his own stunts, including abseiling and choreographed fight scenes.

The videoette does manage to interweave some of the properties stunning features into the storyline, but one can’t help but think the whole thing might just be a bit of fantasy role play for Mr. Berley? If you have a spare 8 minutes and 15 seconds, take a look and let us know what you think….

Whatever your opinion may be, if the end result is a sale, then the mini-movie has fulfilled it’s purpose.

Check out our latest property listings featuring HD video tours on our website:

Open2view New Zealand
Open2view Australia 

Real estate video is the future – and the future is here

Sony video ad 1967

After 99 blog posts, one tends to forget a few things. For instance, it recently occurred to me that it’s been a while since we’ve discussed real estate video. Last time was in May 2012, in fact:

Here is something we know for sure: high definition video, as Open2view provides, has a bright future. As Larry said last month, “I just noticed that in the last 7 days there have been roughly 32,800 YouTube videos that have the search string “real estate video”. I’m slowly coming to the realization that YouTube video may very well be the most significant development in real estate marketing since the invention of the big news print MLS book of the 1980′s.”

Larry, for those who don’t know, is the mastermind behind Photography for Real Estate – a website every real estate photographer (heck, agent too) oughta be familiar with.

Fifteen years ago professional real estate photos were a novelty. Today it’s a necessity – and it’s HD professional videos that find themselves the new(ish) kid on the block. It will be far fewer than 15 years before real estate videos are the norm.

Good photos will always be crucial, but video adds that extra dimension that no listing, soon enough, will want to be without.

Since I quoted Larry 15 months ago, a lot has happened with video at Open2view:

We now have video on the New Zealand homepage. More and more of us are making HD videos for our agents. We’ve now got videographers in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Wellington, Nelson, and Canterbury. And they’re good, very good. Scroll about halfway down our homepage for a gallery of our most recent videos.

We have a YouTube page. Earlier this year, YouTube passed one billion unique monthly users. Between them, these users watch more than six billion hours of video every month – and with 100 hours of video uploaded each minute, they’ll run out of breaths long before they’re out of stuff to watch.

It’d be foolish to ignore all these stats so we’ve joined in – and you can subscribe to our channel here. We have also created special playlists organised by region; if you’re house hunting in Waikato, for instance, you can select the appropriate playlist to see what’s available. And we’ve linked our YouTube channel to Facebook so you can check us out while you’re there too.

Open2view on YouTube

For the Aussies in the audience, we have channels in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland among many others – search ‘Open2view’ to catch ‘em all.

We are making agent profile videos. The principles that make property videos so important apply just as much to the agents themselves. Agents need to sell themselves to vendors before they can sell their houses to buyers. This is where we can help.

Check out two examples of what we can do for agents below. As you’ll see they’re quite different – what suits one agent doesn’t always work for another. Agents are unique, just like the rest of us. Let our team share your personality with the house-selling public today.


For more info on our video service check out our Services website.

Open2view turns 100! Sorta. (Not really.)

This here marks the Open2view blog’s 100th post. Being as well-behaved a boy as I am a prolific author, I’ve eaten no cake and I’ve resisted the 200 or so canisters of M&Ms in the office (nominate a mate to win some today!). No sir, writing this blog is reward enough.

While it’s centred around real estate photography, regular readers will know that I’ve gone on some mighty big tangents along the way. We’re a diverse team, with many interests, and if all we talked about every single week was REP, this blog would soon RIP.

Photography is more than a job for us – it’s a passion. Take Matthew Lowe, for instance. If he didn’t love what he did he would never have made time to take 2700 photos, over four hours, and create this stunning timelapse of last week’s White Island eruption:

Having said that – if you never read any other post of ours, this one explains why what Open2view does is so important to agents, home sellers and buyers, and for the real estate industry as a whole.

To those who have made it this far, a big thank you. Here’s to another 100 posts about us, about you, and goodness knows what else…

Real estate videos, or ‘Totally unhidden candid home videos caught on camera’

Being relatively new to the worlds of real estate and photography, I have yet to come across a better source of information than the Photography for Real Estate blog. Why, the very title itself makes me drool at the thought of someone else doing the hard work for me. Don’t be surprised to see a few links to Larry Lohrman’s work here; his many years of experience makes him an absolute fountain of knowledge.

Not only that, he also causes me to ask plenty of questions of my own. Case in point – every Friday, Larry likes to post real estate videos from around the world. Watching a number of these got me wondering: when it comes to videos, what works and what doesn’t?

Watch enough of them and it becomes clear that, as with most things on this wacky planet, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way. Personal preference rules the roost. Some like videos without dialogue and set to mood enhancing background music. Others enjoy the narrated tours, or having the agent on camera talking us through. Many people prefer short videos – say, one to two minutes – while others are happy to spend five to ten minutes looking through a house via YouTube. An attractive option considering the wicked frost this morning.

Here is something we know for sure: high definition video, as Open2view provides, has a bright future. As Larry said last month, “I just noticed that in the last 7 days there have been roughly 32,800 YouTube videos that have the search string “real estate video”. I’m slowly coming to the realization that YouTube video may very well be the most significant development in real estate marketing since the invention of the big news print MLS book of the 1980′s.”

Open2view is passionate about presenting homes in their best possible light. If a house doesn’t stand out online, after all, why would anyone bother checking it out in person? Our videos make you feel as if you’re already there inside having a look around. It’s this warm, vicarious experience that gets our customers hooked.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what style works for you. Do you prefer short or longer videos? Do you want to see the agent onscreen or would you rather let the images do the talking? Do you find music distracting or does it add to the experience?

Here are some videos to get your brain juices flowing. Let’s start, of course, with one of ours. Alex Porteous from Papamoa made this one just last week. Alex’s videos are short yet thorough – all killer, no filler.

Here’s an example of humour that, for me, frankly, falls a little flat. If it was my house in the video I’d be even less impressed. I’d be keen to know if you have a different view.

This, for me, works much better. What do you think of the deadpan delivery style of Paul Wilander as he presents this ‘Dome House’? It’s worth noting that the house owner shaved his head especially for this video. Talk about going above and beyond!

And finally – I would be remiss if I didn’t include this guy. Chris Gilmour is possibly the most eccentric real estate agent in Australia. He is also one of the very best. In this clip, Chris advertises a house while someone sprays him with a hose. As you do.

There are plenty of other styles of videos that I’ll cover in future editions. For now, put your film critic hats on and give us your opinions. Five stars, or two thumbs down? Let us know below or on our Facebook page!