Magazine article American Banker

The Virtual Home Tour Can Save Time for Buyers

Magazine article American Banker

The Virtual Home Tour Can Save Time for Buyers

Article excerpt

Cynthia Dearborn is one of a growing number of people touting the benefits of virtual home tours as a way to speed real estate sales.

"If I can look at houses at 11 p.m., when my children are asleep, with a glass of wine-that's the way to house shop," she said.

Ms. Dearborn said on-line technology not only helped her find a new home in Santa Barbara, Calif., but also helped sell her $700,000 Dallas property. She listed it with a local real estate agency, Keller Williams, which used a virtual tour on-line concurrently with more traditional methods like ads, fliers and open houses.

"It took less that two months to sell my house because of the virtual tours. Buyers were already interested by the time they came to me," Ms. Dearborn said. "It is great to preview a property, but it's even better to be able to review it. It eliminates all the remembering and note-taking."

Ms. Dearborn said efficiency is what attracted her. The virtual tour "saved us time, which you can't put a value on," she said.

The growing popularity of these tours could accelerate the real estate industry's move on-line, said Kevin McCurdy, a founder and executive vice president of one of the leading virtual image companies, Inc. The company was set up in Canada last year, and its first client was a premier Canadian real estate brokerage firm, Royal LePage. expanded to the United States six months ago and is now based in Palo-Alto, Calif.

"The on-line real estate category has not come of age yet," Mr. …

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