In Depth


Realtors look for high-tech edge

September 29, 2006

When Toronto real estate agent Monique Clement sets out to sell a house, she doesn't pile prospective buyers straight into a car and head out to tour properties � she asks them to click on a link like this one, and then instructs them to sit back and enjoy.

"The first time I used this, the client was blown away. It was so different from anything they'd seen in the past," she says.

Video tours are the latest in sales devices being employed by agents to sell property over the internet, which itself has changed the way homes are sold.

"In 2005, 59.2 per cent [of homebuyers] ended up buying the property they first saw on the internet, the highest number in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, the lowest in Ontario," says Bob Linney, communications director for the Canadian Real Estate Association. "According to Comscore Networks, in 2002 averaged 300,000 unique users. In July 2006, that number was 2.78 million."

Real estate entered the online world with the launch of the website in 1996. Back then, the site basically carried text-based descriptions of properties for sale.

Ten years later, homebuyers are able to scout the market online, viewing everything from digital pictures to 360-degree panoramic shots of homes and yards. And now audio guides, electronic brochures and even complete video tours of a home and its neighbourhood are the new hot things sellers are using to help their properties stand out in a crowded online market.

"About 25 per cent of listings now have some type of attached tour, whether it's virtual, panoramic photography or an audio tour, all possible because of internet technology," Linney says.

Former Toronto bar operator Alex Morias got in on the ground floor of the video tours industry � he started two years ago after his real estate agent called him to see how his renovation had gone. Armed with a video camera, Morias toured his house and e-mailed the agent the mini movie. The agent was impressed, and since then Morias has produced more than 1,000 video tours.

Video tours help with international marketing

The tours show the interior and exterior of the house, along with visuals and a description of the neighbourhood.

"Agents tell me it's helped them sell a home," he says. "One told me it created a bidding war over a condo, and one of the bidders was from Trinidad."

Agents constantly have to justify their commissions, Morias adds. "There are 27,000 agents in Ontario going after the same piece of pie. This distinguishes them from the others."

Linney says Internet video tours also allow realtors to focus on international marketing, especially with higher-end homes or commercial or investment properties. Morias agrees. "We videotaped a house in Toronto listed at $16-million. We did the original tour for a banker from Italy who wanted something better than pictures on the net. He wanted a video so he could view the house before he flew in to see it." Real estate agent Clement agrees video tours are a great way to reach out-of-town buyers. "I have a client in New York City who got that video tour and e-mailed back saying, 'I don't have to visit it � I know I love the property.'"

Another tool gaining popularity, says Linney, is the electronic brochure, which offers both audio and video. The difference between a virtual tour and an electronic brochure is that a virtual tour is viewed on the real estate company's website, while an electronic brochure can be opened as a multimedia display.

Neighbourhood features can be highlighted

Philip Pellat's company, Shaw Street Productions of Toronto, produces videos of house interiors that are then used as part of an e-mail campaign or burned to DVD or CD-ROM as part of a marketing package. He often works with developers and says, "This can provide in-depth material about the community, the product, the builder. It creates credibility as well as excitement. The internet is playing a huge role in allowing them to talk to the consumer."

Some listings now use GIS (geographic information systems) technology to give people a better idea of the surrounding area, as well. "It shows you where the railroad tracks, schools and shopping centres are. It's a way to enhance the marketing of the property because people are looking at the surrounding area, not just the property," Linney says.

Offline, audio tours broadcast by short-range radio are popular in Western Canada, especially B.C., says Linney. Prospective homebuyers can listen to audio tours outside the house or as they walk around a property via an AM transmitter, which Linney says is the same technology used by drive-in theatres or walk-around tours in museums and galleries. "There's a transmitter in the sign. The real estate agent tells the client where [on the dial] to listen on the radio."

All these technologies not only widen the market to more potential buyers, they can help make the home-selling process a lot less stressful for people. "Not everyone wants open houses because of the security issues. It cuts down on a lot of unqualified showings," says Toronto real estate agent Marian Neal. It also cuts down on home sellers having to clean up every time someone wants to take a look. And for those who feel uncomfortable with the idea of someone taking a virtual tour of their home, Linney says, "When a video tour is being recorded, a realtor stays away from anything that gives away clear identification of the house or any high ticket items."

Clement can't stop singing the praises of the latest home-selling tools. Of a recent house she sold, she says: "The video tour brought the house to every single agent out there without them having to come and visit."

Neal sees the new technology gradually replacing old techniques. "I'm surprised anyone even wants a public open house these days," she says. "What are the chances of the right buyer coming to your house on Saturday between 2 and 4?"

Much better to open it up to the whole world via the internet.

Go to the Top


Main page


Green machines
Disk drive: Companies struggle with surge in demand for storage
Open season: Will court decision spur Linux adoption?
Analogue TV
Video games: Holiday season
Video games: Going pro
Guitar Hero
Parents' guide to cheap software
Working online
Laptop computers for students
Technology offers charities new ways to attract donations
The invisible middleman of the game industry
Data mining
Two against one
The days of the single-core desktop chip are numbered
Home offices
Cyber crime: Identity crisis in cyberspace
Yellow Pages - paper or web?
Robotics features
iPhone FAQ
Business follows youth to new online world
A question of authority
Our increasing reliance on Wikipedia changes the pursuit of knowledge
Photo printers
Rare earths
Widgets and gadgets
Surround Sound
Microsoft's Shadowrun game
Dell's move to embrace retail
The Facebook generation: Changing the meaning of privacy
Digital cameras
Are cellphones and the internet rewiring our brains?
Intel's new chips
Apple faces security threat with iPhone
Industrial revolution
Web developers set to stake claim on computer desktop with new tools
Digital photography
Traditional film is still in the picture
HD Video
Affordable new cameras take high-definition mainstream
GPS: Where are we?
Quantum computing
What it is, how it works and the promise it holds
Playing the digital-video game
Microsoft's forthcoming Xbox 360 Elite console points to entertainment push
Online crime
Botnets: The end of the web as we know it?
Is Canada losing fight against online thieves?
Malware evolution
Money now the driving force behind internet threats: experts
Adopting Ubuntu
Linux switch can be painless, free
Sci-fi projections
Systems create images on glass, in thin air
Power play
Young people shaping cellphone landscape
Digital cameras
Cellphone number portability
Barriers to change
Desktop to internet
Future of online software unclear: experts
Complaining about complaints systems
Canadian schools
Multimedia meets multi-literacy age
Console showdown
Comparing Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 networks
Social connections
Online networking: What's your niche?
Virtual family dinners
Xbox 360 console game
Vista and digital rights
Child safety
Perils and progress in fight against online child abuse
Biometric ID
Moving to a Mac
Supply & demand
Why Canada misses out on big gadget launches
Windows Vista
Computers designed for digital lifestyle
Windows Vista
What's in the new consumer versions
Cutting the cord
Powering up without wires
GPS and privacy
Digital deluge
Consumer Electronics Show
Working online
Web Boom 2.0 (Part II)
GPS surveillance
Hits and misses: Best and worst consumer technologies of 2006
Mars Rovers
Voice over IP
Web Boom 2.0
Technology gift pitfalls to avoid
Classroom Ethics
Rise of the cybercheat
Private Eyes
Are videophones turning us into Big Brother?
Windows Vista
Cyber Security
Video games: Canadian connections to the console war
Satellite radio
Portable media
Video games
Plasma and LCD
Video screens get bigger, better, cheaper
Video games:
New hardware heats up console battle
High-tech kitchens
Microsoft-Novell deal
Lumalive textiles
Music to go
Alternate reality
Women and gadgets
High-tech realtors
The itv promise
Student laptops
Family ties
End of Windows 98
Browser wars
Exploding laptop
The pirate bay
Stupid mac tricks
Keeping the net neutral
PS3 and WII at E3
Sex on the net
Calendars, online and on paper
Google, ipod and more
Viral video
Unlocking the USB key
Free your ipod
In search of
Sony and the rootkit
Internet summit
Electronic surveillance
[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

World »

North Korea claims right to shoot down U.S. bombers video
North Korea's foreign minister says U.S. President Donald Trump has declared war on North Korea, and that Pyongyang reserves the right to shoot down U.S. bomber planes even if they are not in the country's airspace.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko rejects call for anti-corruption court video
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says judicial reform aimed at rooting out corruption in his country will be introduced in two weeks, but the leader rejects calls for the creation of an independent anti-corruption court in his country.
CBC IN BANGLADESH 'The scale is just vast': Authorities, aid workers in Bangladesh overwhelmed by Rohingya refugees video
The movement of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh is an exodus of vast proportions that has bewildered even the most seasoned aid workers, writes Nahlah Ayed.
more »

Canada »

Exclusive Ukraine asks Canada for access to satellite images to monitor Russian, rebel troop movements video
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has pressed the Trudeau government to restart a program to supply the Ukrainian military with satellite images to monitor Russian and separatist rebel troop movements.
Sports and energy drinks unhealthy for kids and teens, Canadian pediatricians say
Most children and teens shouldn't consume sports and energy drinks and the products should no longer be marketed to them, the Canadian Paediatric Society says.
RCMP pursuit policy must change, says Sask. man who called 911 about stolen truck that killed 3 video
When Curtis Byford watched police chase a stolen vehicle off his property near Lloydminster, Sask., early Friday morning, he thought "perfect, they got them." The next day he found out the truck was involved in a crash that killed three women from Edmonton.
more »

Politics »

Chrystia Freeland to stress importance of cultural protections at NAFTA dinner
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister plans to stress the importance of Canadian cultural protections when she sits down to dinner with her U.S. and Mexican counterparts at the newly renovated National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Exclusive Ukraine asks Canada for access to satellite images to monitor Russian, rebel troop movements video
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has pressed the Trudeau government to restart a program to supply the Ukrainian military with satellite images to monitor Russian and separatist rebel troop movements.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale revamps rules around using information gleaned through torture
The federal government is strengthening safeguards around the use of information derived through torture, but will not issue a blanket ban on receiving information obtained from abuse or mistreatment.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Rick Mercer will say goodbye to 'best job in the world' after 15th season video
The Rick Mercer Report will launch its 15th and final season Tuesday on CBC-TV. The comedian and host of the program that combines biting political satire with folksy visits across Canada says he is wrapping the show up on his own terms and has no idea what will come next for him.
Hochelaga, terre des âmes named Canada's foreign-language contender for the Oscars
Hochelaga, terre des âmes (Hochelaga, Land of Souls) has been chosen to represent Canada for the best foreign-language film Oscar.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle make first official public appearance together video
Prince Harry and girlfriend Meghan Markle have publicly acknowledged their relationship and have been photographed together from afar in the past, but today in Toronto was the first time they have appeared together at an official event.
more »

Technology & Science »

Global accounting firm Deloitte hacked
Global accounting firm Deloitte said on Monday it was the victim of a cyberattack that affected the data of a small number of clients, providing few details on the breach.
Astronomers discover an asteroid is actually two — and that it's also a comet
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that an asteroid discovered in 2006 is actually two and that it acts more like a comet.
The Long Dark is a fiercely Canadian video game. Why aren't there more like it?
Canada is one of the world's largest hubs of video game development. So why aren't more Canadian-flavoured games like The Long Dark made here?
more »

Money »

Cenovus sells Suffield for $416M to International Petroleum
Canada's Cenovus Energy Inc has reached an agreement to sell its Suffield oil and gas assets for $512 million to International Petroleum Corp, striking its second deal this month as it pushes ahead with its debt reduction plan.
New Uber CEO apologizes for company's past mistakes, vows change
The new CEO of Uber offered contrition for past mistakes on Monday, just days after London’s transport authority said it would scrap the company’s operating licence.
American business group says loss of free trade with U.S. would be a big concern
A new report says potential changes to NAFTA and a loss of free trade with the United States represent the biggest concerns for a number of big American firms operating in this country.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Opinion As athletes protest, Crosby and NHL strike an off-key chord video
It turns out Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the rest of the NHL have decided to take a knee after all.
Video Top 5 other times athletes protested​ video
After President Donald Trump called for protesting NFL'ers to be fired, over 200 of them did it anyway. We have seen many athletes perform protests over the years, and Rob Pizzo counts down five of them.
Analysis NHL has lots of work to do before gaining foothold in China video
If the NHL's recent foray into China proved anything, it's that the sport is in its infancy just five years out from the Beijing Winter Games.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »