Broker Marketing Series: 3D Virtual Tours vs Open Houses

More real estate agents rely heavily on their mobile devices to connect with clients via phone, email, or text.

“Consumers get more discerning about their choices and sellers want to present their properties in the best light possible. Open houses are only a couple of hours a week, but when you have Matterport virtual reality, we can be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.” - Gregg Lynn, Sotheby’s International Realty

In their cross-generational Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) research department revealed that home buyers are more comfortable than ever starting and continuing their home search online. In fact, almost half  (44%) of home buyers launch their new home search online - and 95% of them continue their search online.1 It’s little surprise that more than 90% of real estate firms have a website - primarily to post property listings. And more real estate agents rely heavily on their mobile devices to connect with clients via phone, email, or text.

With the increasing digital adoption, we see a commensurate decrease in real-world engagement. Consider these responses from the NAR study about what broker marketing resources home buyers seek and appreciate as they make decisions:   

  • Photos - 89%

  • Detailed information about the property - 85%

  • Virtual tours - 50%

  • Neighborhood information - 44%

  • Interactive maps - 41%

If you are already using Matterport technology to capture 2D photos and 3D virtual tours and supplying detailed information about your properties with Mattertag™ Posts, you are satisfying many of these needs.  

Let’s focus on virtual tours. They’re becoming increasingly important - already, half of all prospective home buyers say they find virtual tours useful, and 50% of people attend open houses. So while it’s clear that both have an important role in the decision-making process, the digital trend indicates that the reliance on virtual tours is likely to outpace traditional, in-person open houses.

Comparing Virtual Tours and Open Houses

Traditional open houses can be a hassle for buyers and agents. If they’re crowded, it’s hard for the agent and buyers to connect. That leads to time-consuming follow-up. If they’re poorly attended, the open house is a waste of your time and budget.

Luckily, you don’t need to rely solely on traditional open houses to be successful and complete a sale. By combining virtual tours with the basic components of an open house, you can give buyers the flexibility they need with the immersive experience of visiting a home in person.

Let’s review the differences between traditional open houses and virtual open houses powered by Matterport virtual reality technology:

Traditional Open Houses

3D Virtual Tour Open Houses


  • Experience the house in person

  • Can ask questions on the spot

  • Physically enter and tour the house


  • Immersive digital / VR  tour of the house with detailed information overlaid on important features

  • Can ask questions on the spot

  • Leave with exact measurements of any room or space

  • View the property tour anytime from any device anywhere

  • Instantly share the tour and pertinent details with other decision makers via email or web links


  • Meet prospective buyers in person

  • Establish a relationship with potential buyers

  • Provide follow-up pamphlets with details and photos


  • Share information and details about the house with anyone, as requested, without the constraints of time or location

  • Supply unmatched levels of detail about a property, from measurements to special features 

At Matterport, we have clients all over the country who utilize our virtual tours for their brokerage. They use our technology as a selling point to attract top agents because virtual tours not only benefit the buyer but also give agents more flexibility and efficiency. Since buyers are starting their home search online, they can take your virtual tour within the first few steps of their search. A home buyer who has already been on a virtual tour is more knowledgeable and prepared to make a purchase decision when they contact your agents.

Matterport is helping us draw in interested qualified buyers before they even visit the house. We have been able to increase the efficiency of our agents by not having as many live showings, and focusing their time on the more serious buyers.” - David Caveness, President & CEO of Carpenter Realtors

How to Get Started with 3D Virtual Tours

You have many options to get started creating virtual tours for your agents and buyers. Every Matterport 3D camera is designed to accommodate specific agent and brokerage needs, including 2D photography, 360° photography, virtual tours, 3D floor plans and more. With a Matterport 3D camera, you can introduce your entire brokerage to the world of 3D because the camera is very easy to use in any home.  

Learn more about Matterport’s Cameras and how you can boost your marketing plan >>.

If the photography process is a hurdle to your progress, turn to a  qualified service partner to get started. The global network of Matterport Service Partners offers professional, quick, and quality 3D scanning services of any property. With an expert provider capturing the visuals, you’ll be set to show your property in interactive, fully-immersive 3D quickly and cost-effectively.

Find a photographer near you >>.  

If you’re still using traditional open houses, you may be missing out on half of the potential buying market. With such affordable and useful resources available to create and offer virtual tours, you can compete for more buyers more effectively than ever. The chances are great that those same prospective buyers will appreciate that you have accommodated their schedule and location. They'll have enjoyed a private tour experience and learned more details about the property. And they will have done so in a format they can share with others whose opinion matters as they’re buying the place they’re going to call home.

Learn more about Matterport’s 3D technology and how to get started with virtual tours here >>.



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