Selling a Millennial

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As much as I’d like to say that I know my stuff about the highly saturated real estate industry, the truth is, I am indeed no expert on the subject. In fact, prior to PlanOmatic I had no idea how much manpower goes into the process of selling a property. Nonetheless, I will say that I am rather fascinated by the inner-workings of it all and during my time at PlanOmatic, I’ve had the pleasure to get a mere glimpse at real estate marketing – behind the scenes! I have only begun to scratch the surface of it all. Having almost completed my undergraduate and experiencing my fair share of renting, I’d like to think that I have a pretty good sense of what the younger crowd today is looking for when it comes to seeking the perfect *temporary, of course* place of residence. Allow me to walk you through the mentality of a college gal on the hunt for the ideal spot to call home, for now.

Let’s take it from the top. Suppose my six month lease is about to come to an end and it’s time to start the ever-trying search for the perfect abode. Naturally, the first place I head to is the internet where I likely can obtain speedy, suitable results upon my search. When relying on the internet to have my best interest in mind there tends to be a few drawbacks, like the fact that I am sincerely banking on the idea that the pictures in which are representing the space are not dramatically glorifying its truth. Aside from that, this isn’t such a bad thing, in fact, I take delight in the idea of dictating all of my options at the click of a mouse or tap of my thumb, rather. Now keep in mind that folks in their 20’s opt to rent for many reasons, i.e. potentially relocating for a job, or simply the desire to be self-established before committing to the responsibility of home ownership. In any event, when exploring potential homes and listings there are routinely three things that are essential for me, those being; two or more bathrooms, close proximity to the Light Rail, and designated parking! If a listing does not include one of the features listed, I will simply move on to the next. Perhaps it’s safe to say that we, as either agents, buyers and even renters all have our “thing”, you know, that specific component or element to a home or apartment that we refuse to sacrifice for the simple reason of being comfortable.

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Let’s talk bathrooms, one of the most important rooms, if not the most important in a home. It’s essential to me that I have a separate one for guests and company to use, in addition to a personal one. No matter how big or small my square footage is, this is something I consistently seek. This leads me to my next point, a high-resolution photo can go a very long way, especially of a toilet. Take it from me, one lousy photo of a bathroom and game over!

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Now, as a city girl I’ve become accustomed to getting around by either foot, or public transportation. So, it is necessary that I live within a fair distance to Denver’s version of the subway, otherwise known as the Light Rail. This is actually a pretty common request amongst those who commute for work, if it eliminates the headache of having to sit in traffic and save on fuel, count me in! Thus, bringing me to express the importance of including an aerial map with a listing. As a potential tenant, having the convenience of inspecting the surrounding area will likely score some major brownie points.

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The final element I seek out is parking. Sounds pretty standard, right? Unfortunately, parking is actually a rather costly requirement or request as not many urban apartments come with this (at least not by having to cough up an arm or leg). In my humble opinion, parking very is worth the price tag and I’m willing to shell out a few extra dollars for it for the simple reason of safety, which in reality one cannot put a price tag on. As a Colorado native I strongly believe that the occasional mountain getaway is good for the soul, so it goes without saying that having a safe place to keep my vehicle for those spontaneous trips up to the peaks is high on the priority list.

As a rookie to the world of real estate I have a lot of learning to do, but what I can tell you is that as a buyer OR renter it’s okay to set standards when it comes to looking for a home. After all, home’s where we spend a majority of our time, it’s our oasis so to speak and agents, remember that it’s the little things that mean the most. So, how does one find the perfect home, you ask? It’s simple, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want *within reason* and refuse to settle for anything less. Happy house hunting and good luck!

 

– Sydney Crowell, Marketing Coordinator

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PlanOmatic Launches “Modern Theme” PhotoPlan

Introducing PhotoPlan Modern Theme

Elegance Redesigned

Tomorrow, PlanOmatic is launching PhotoPlan Modern Theme. If you already thought our PhotoPlan was a slick and elegant viewer, wait till you see this. Here are a few of the new tricks Modern Theme has to offer:
  • Full-browser screen mode
  • Even faster load time
  • Wider, larger images
  • Better use of thumbnails
  • Clearer photo captions
  • Cleaner slideshow user interface
  • iPad finger swiping & interactive floor plans

Click here to see PhotoPlan Modern Theme in action!

Now that we introduced Modern Theme, that means you have THREE different themes to choose from. Vintage, Classic and Modern.

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We strongly encourage any form of constructive feedback. Please don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts.

Flash Free PlanOmatic PhotoPlan 3GN Home Tour

No, not the flash on our cameras.  The flash I’m talking about is Adobe’s Flash.  You remember, right?  It’s the Flash that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, has repeatedly criticized for mobile use, specifically for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.  It’s the action that results in a “Please download Flash…” message when browsing a flash-based website on your iPhone or iPad.  It’s the Flash that seems to be dying a not to slow death.

At this point, it’s no longer up to us to decide whether Steve Jobs is right or wrong.  Apple has clearly paved the way for our current and future mobile experience.  It’s now up to us to make sure our end users (potential buyers) are getting the experience they set out for upon visiting a PlanOmatic PhotoPlan for one of your listings.  We’re not the only ones moving away from Flash.  Here are some big name companies that have either scrapped Flash altogether, or have an HTML5 or JavaScript substitute:

There are many more not listed here, and many yet to come.

Well, that’s exactly what we’ve been cooking up in our kitchen, and the meal is ready to be served.  A special shout-out goes to our friends at FarView Consulting for a job very well done.  Introducing (drums please)… The PlanOmatic PhotoPlan 3GN, completely free of Adobe Flash.

Landing Page

Photo Gallery

Contact Page

Property Info

Interactive Floor Plan

Google Map

PhotoPlan 3GN now allows our home tours to be usable on all Internet platforms for both mobile and desktop.  Don’t worry, we still have our proprietary PhotoPlan Mobile for the iPhone.  So if you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, right about now you’re asking yourself “So what? Why are people bothering me with this Flash crap all the time?” If you’re one of those people, take a step back for a moment and think about this.  You actually don’t really care whether your PhotoPlan works on your own mobile device. Why? BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT THE ONE WHO WILL HOPEFULLY BUY YOUR LISTING!  Based on this article by AppleInsider, chances are that 33% or more of the potential buyers searching for real estate from a mobile device are doing it using Apple’s iOS  on the iPhone, and we’re not even talking about the iPod Touch or iPad.

Ok.  So I covered exactly why we moved away from Flash, but here’s the real reason for this post.  Not only did we convert our PhotoPlan viewer from Flash to JavaScript, but we took this opportunity to completely redesign the entire presentation, inside and out.  Here are the main points you need to know about PhotoPlan 3GN, and why it’s a huge leap from our Flash-based PhotoPlan Pro:

  • Clean and elegant with a great user experience. No hard to find features. Everything organized and always just one click away.
  • 3GN focuses on your large, beautiful photos, now at 830 pixels wide displayed at an HD 3:2 ratio, more than double the size of our previous viewer.
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile. PhotoPlan 3GN works seamlessly on the iPad. Don’t worry, we still have our proprietary PhotoPlan Mobile for the iPhone.
  • A full page dedicated to branding yourself with more information than ever. Same goes for Property Information.
  • Location, location, location. Large integrated Google map/satellite view.
  • PhotoPlan 3GN loads faster than you can say the word “Internet”.
  • New, redesigned interactive floor plan. We separated the photo gallery from the interactive floor plan viewer, now getting the best of both worlds.

PlanOmatic is offering PhotoPlan 3GN on an exclusive basis for the remainder of 2010.  If you are interested in participating, please post a comment or email me at kori(at)planomatic(dot)com.  Once you apply, please allow us 2-3 business days to get back to you.

We hope you find this to be as ground breaking as we do. Without a doubt, this change will make the home buyer experience more friendly and more focused on what is important about YOUR listing.

“This is the way all tours will be soon!” (Mobile)

The quote in the title is from a blog post by Larry Lohrman, author at Photography For Real Estate Blog.  In that blog post, they talk about the PlanOmatic PhotoPlan Mobile, the first interactive floor plan & photography virtual tour to be optimized for a mobile device.

We came out with this feature in April ’09, and have enjoyed its success, both based on client feedback, and actual use.  Below are some of the many benefits the PhotoPlan Mobile features:

  • The ability to interact with the property’s floor plan, giving more realistic views of the property photos
  • Gallery mode shows photos/floor plans of the property in large, high quality format
  • Call the listing agent directly with the tap of the screen, along with other contact info
  • Navigate directly to the property via Google Maps app
  • One virtual tour link is recognized by both desktop computers, as well as iPhones (We are currently working on other mobile platforms, so stay tuned)

To read more about the PhotoPlan Mobile, and it’s features, please visit our press release.

PhotoPlan Mobile Landing Page PhotoPlan Mobile Photo Gallery
PhotoPlan Mobile Floor Plan PhotoPlan Mobile Agent Page

I have to agree with Larry on this one.  This WILL be the future of virtual tours.

Imagine a world where a potential buyer standing outside a home for sale, visits the website displayed on the rider sign.  Instantly, they have access to property photos, floor plans, price, beds/baths and agent contact information.  What do people currently do when they find themselves in this situation?  Do they write down the web address on a notepad and pen they conveniently brought on their walk, and visit the site at home on their desktop computer?

Mobile access dramatically improves overall exposure for a listing, the listing agent, and makes the mobile real estate search experience, easy, fun and realistic.  Not to mention, it’s not a bad listing tool to present to sellers.  This stuff impresses pretty much anyone.

The idea that mobile real estate marketing will soon be common practice is becoming apparent with each day that goes by.

Are your virtual tours viewable on mobile devices? Have you seen other examples of mobile virtual tours (besides YouTube or video)? Please share.

~ Kori Covrigaru
@KoriCov