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Inaccurate Listing Data? Check Your Virtual Tour Solution

October 15 2015

ipad home cropA common tool that you or your agents are using to promote listings may be an unexpected source of inaccurate property data. If you're noticing that the price or other details of your listings are showing up incorrectly online and you're not sure why, you may want to check your virtual tour solution.

That's right--several virtual tour solutions on the market today offer syndication to the major portals. If you've turned off the syndication feature that your vendor offers, there may be another culprit. Many professional real estate photographers include virtual tours with their services. Check to see if the tour solution they're using requires them to enter property details manually. Virtual tours that don't rely on automated data feeds from the MLS are one of the biggest sources of listing inaccuracy.

When a photographer first creates a virtual tour, everything looks great--the photos are attractive and high resolution, and the property price matches the initial listing price. But what if the price of the home is reduced? Your agent will of course change that in the MLS, but it's unlikely that they'll think to update the price in their virtual tour solution--and that inaccurate price will still be syndicated by the tour.

To head off this problem, brokerages should be sure that their agents are using a modern virtual tour that are auto-populated with data pulled from the MLS. That way, the tour will automatically reflect changes to property information. When a listing's price is changed, that change will be reflected both on the virtual tour platform and on sites it may upload to, like YouTube. Additionally, when a listing is sold, the tour will automatically be taken offline.

However, there is a drawback to automated virtual tours that rely on MLS data. Along with property information, these tools pull in photos off the MLS. All too often, the photo quality is low, thanks to MLS-imposed file size restrictions, and the images may sport a watermark. These watermarked, lower resolution photos aren't nearly as attractive as the images your photographer offers. Make it a point to go into your virtual tour solution and upload the high-res versions. This will override the photos from the MLS. Then you'll have the best of both worlds--an attractive virtual tour that represents your listings accurately.

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