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A Good Looking Shoot Showed Off With A Good Looking Tour

September 14th, 2011

Estella Sneider showed me one of her recent shoots at 1380 Bella Oceana Vista in Pacific Palisades, CA. This is the Realtor.com listing.

I think Estella did a lovely job! The photos have a nice crisp sparkly look and feel. I think she’s done a nice subtle job lighting it. This was a beautiful day in southern California- the light is dazzling and I don’t see even a hit of smog! Great job Estella!

The other thing I like is the property site/slide show she provides her customers. To me this is about as good as a slide show/property site gets. The tour has all all the features an elegant slideshow tour should have:

  1. If the viewer doesn’t do anything the tour just cycles through the photos. The photos cycle a little slow for my taste but everyones tastes vary.
  2. The photos are LARGE. It will even go fullscreen if you choose.
  3. If you hover over the bottom of the of the photos you can take complete control if you choose. You can go forward, backward or to any specific photo via a thumbnail.
  4. It is visible on all platforms. It runs in Flash if the viewers platform has flash and runs non-Flash if the platform doesn’t support flash.
  5. It has customizable branding.
This tour is a customized version of SlideshowPro.com tours probably created for Estella by a web designer.
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10 Responses to “A Good Looking Shoot Showed Off With A Good Looking Tour”

  • I think it’s great but also has some problems. A possible buyer will never find the listing just by the website… It’s not the first contact it has with the property and that restricts the number of people who actually see the tour. Although they can still browse the same photos on MLS etc.
    About the tour, photos are big and don’t provide any kind of description or information that could be very helpful for the buyer; though large photos are great, some kind imo of information could be provided (maybe this is used to make the possible buyer contact the agent for more information?)
    I don’t like the page layout. In some screen resolutions it doesn’t work very well. This should be fixed.
    On the other hand… Photos are superb, really lovely photos, just imagine the same house with lousy photos, you can see here very clearly that photos do sell a property. I don’t known if any buyer will actually see the photos in full screen but it’s a good addition and it’s great for the agent to present it.
    Control over the photos that we see is a MUST. People hate when they are restricted and that to see some photos you have to see them all; nothing irritates more then that in a tour; browse, play, stop etc. imo a tour without these kind of controls are a waste.
    Flash and non-Flash is excellent. If an agent is smart it will never buy a flash only tour. There would be some possible buyers that couldn’t see it.
    I don’t known any agent that doesn’t want or love branding his name and/or details and picture. That is what will make him more known and possible be contacted to sell other properties.

    Actually this whole tour thing is more about marketing to other sellers then to sell the property. Sure it will help the selling marketing effort, everything helps, but people will still buy the property without having a tour (if it has great photos like this).

    This is one of the best tours I’ve ever seen. Thanks for the input.

  • Just wondering about the first comment, ‘a possible buyer will never find the listing just by the website’. This website will likely be linked to a Realtor.com listing and all other listings online; 37% of buyers find their home online before going to see it. Agents account for about 4%, so yes, this property website may not be the one that grabs the buyer, it will enhance the selling process!

  • Okay, now I check out the Realtor.com listing … perhaps what I should have said is that when Realtors use Realtor.com’s enhanced listings, they can put their video & slideshow links along with other enhanced features to engage buyers. For this kind of property, I cannot understand why that would not be a part of the listing presentation on Realtor.com; a great property for video as well!

  • If you provide tours or property sites as Estella does you have to become a Picture Path provider at realtor.com to be able to post tours on realtor.com and pay $20 to post a tour/property site link on realtor.com. Estella has probably just not set up to do that because having enhanced listings on realtor.com isn’t popular in the LA area.

    Realtor.com is not an important site in all areas. Whether or not it’s important in any given area has a lot to do with the strength of the major broker sites in the area. My guess is that in the LA area there are so many big brokers sites that enhancing the listing on realtor.com is not that important.

  • The ipad version does not auto-start. Why does the slide show not start automatically within the frames on the main page? Likewise, the information page’s layout is severely distraught, as the info table is squished against the right side and text / paragraphs pr sentences are barely readable. I do like the layout / functionality of the slideshowpro’s interface / usability for ipad though.

  • Setting up a Picturepath account is easy. Most of my clients are already “Showcase Agents” so there is no charge to upload a tour link to Realtor.com. For those that are not Showcase Agents, most have chosen to go ahead and pay the additional $19.95. I pass that cost through to the agent with no additional upcharge. I don’t know about other agents in the LA area, but I find that most of my agents do want their tours to show up on Realtor.com.

  • Larry, you stated “I think she’s done a nice subtle job lighting it.”. I saw many cases of OC direct flash. Noticed this in the harsh shadows and reflections. And what about the barrel distortion in some of the images? I agree that the photos are far above average as compared to what is posted on the MLS and overall she did a good job.

  • @Kerry- Yea, there are a bunch of defects I saw too and she’s not going to win the Scott Hargis Lighting award for this shoot but I think it looks very appealing. Estella has improved a lot over the last year.

    @Larry Gasinski- Yes, I know about the PicturePath and Showcase agent foolishness. Don’t get me started about realtor.com… during the 10years I was a Realtor on Seattle’s Eastside none of the agents in the Seattle area used realtor.com you had to pay $380+ dollars a year to be able to “enhance” your listing on realtor.com and be able to post a tour link on it. I tracked where all of our listing showings came from and NONE were ever from realtor.com. Our listing buyers always came from one of the major brokers sites in the area (Johnlscott.com or Windermere.com). The fact is that most agents don’t take the time to track what is working for them and what’s not they just go with they ASSUME is working.

    @Daniel- Yup, there are defects in this tour mainly because it is a custom 1 up extension of SlideshowPro instead of a production tour company. Both Tourbuzz.com and Pfretour.com tours look better on the iPad. I think it makes much more sense to use a tour from a tour company that you like than trying to develop your own custom property site. At the same time in the ultra-highend Hollywood/LA market that Estella works in theirs probably a desire to have your property sites look unique and exclusive… but you are right, the look of the iPad version needs some work.

    I asked Estella to give us her take on some of these questions.

  • This is the third time typing this, but due to technical problems like Microsoft update auto reboot and other issues, trying again. Most of what I was going to say has been stated. Very nice photos, and despite defects, as Larry noted “improving over time” is so true and hit close to home. Yesterday was assenbling a new web page “Hall of Fame” for those listings with my photos that went from active to contract in 15 days or less. Let’s just say I reworked some of those I took as recently as Januay and I hope everybody shows improvement over time.

    What stood out on PicturePath, I won’t repeat but it is a simple registration. The client is already a Realtor.com enhanced customer (large photo option, their identity and other listings vs “others in neighborhood”, and direct email inquiry). The cost for the tour would be zero. The other consideration is syndication. While I looked at the broker’s website and saw the tour, when I didn’t see on Realtor.com, checked Yahoo Real Estate and didn’t see, but did find it and the tour on Trulia. Apparently the local MLS syndicates out as Trulia and others pull their data and tour, and you can syndicate to others but didn’t lok like was a feature of SlideShowPro as I reviewed their website. Realtor.com doesn’t pull the tour from MLS because of their upsell.

    The other issue noted was the importance of the format allowing the viewer to control with thumnails and player. That interactive capability is what allows an extended tour as it keeps them engaged. With a long passive “sit back and watch” tour, the option becomes hitting the “x”, closing out the window and moving to the next property which is the last thing you want.

  • I am sorry I did not answer till today. I had a very busy week. I want to thank all of your comments, and I want to tell you I take your comments as constructive criticism. I especially want to thank Larry Lohrman for all of his constructive criticism to me. Listening to him and experimenting is what has helped me improve in my photography. Learning never ends. I have purchased all Larry’s online books, and I really recommend to all of you to do so as well!!!

    Regarding my response to above comments: The web site for the slide show of the property is linked to the broker’s website and wherever else the broker decides to advertise this high end properties. The photos are big and self explanatory, I do not think they need a description. A description in my view make take away class to the photography.
    It is a customized page layout to match the web site of the Broker.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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