Now offering services in Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Parry Sound areas
We are proud to announce that we are growing and have added another territory to our coverage area. We are now offering our services in the Muskoka area! It is an awesome location with lots of opportunity for growth and are excited to offer our brand and services to this market.
However, interestingly enough after doing some market research, while looking specifically at the Parry Sound area, I found something to be interesting to me. Unlike Huntsville, Muskoka Lakes, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and other popular cottage locations, the Parry Sound real estate professionals in this market, aren’t utilizing much of the marketing tools available to them. I found this a bit odd and wanted to dig deeper into the situation. It sparked me to analyze this phenomenon a little deeper and think back to my early days in the business. I haven’t had to think about this for years! In our core area, it has become a standard for a home to have, at the very minimum, a Professional Photographer capture the space before it is listed on MLS (even with “For Sale by Owner” channels). Furthermore, in our core service area of Southwestern Ontario, we are going even further than that and seeing a massive shift towards also adding 3D Tours, Interactive floor plans and various types of Video for almost 50% of the virtual tours which help further enhance the marketing of the properties. The fact that very little of this is being utilized in this specific area is taking me back to almost 10 years ago when I first started in the business…. so here are my thoughts on it:
This Parry Sound market seems to have been reluctant to use, or have had the lack of opportunity to work with good professional photographers and virtual tour companies (although we have seen some “high end” listings look good with professional photos, most of the listings on the market today don’t get the same treatment). With home prices on the rise, this may change and create more pressure to use services like ours, but for the moment, it makes the listings in the Parry Sound area seem less attractive to look at on realtor.ca and other realtor websites than areas like Huntsville, Muskoka Lakes, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst…etc. It, unfortunately, also makes the experience of shopping online in the Parry Sound area much harder to do as we experienced first hand when my family and I were shopping for a cottage last summer.
I won’t bore everyone with sell through stats between homes that have been listed with professional photography VS. ones that didn’t, as they are well documented online, but showcasing a home in it’s best light can go a long way for both the sellers and the real estate agent.
I should also mention that stats now show that the way a listing is showcased online also reflects how the listing agent is perceived by the general public in terms of how “good” of a job they did selling and marketing a property and how much effort they put into the listing. This should be taken seriously by real estate professionals as it directly impacts their long term business. This is why most agents, in most markets, continually use Virtual Tours along with Professional Photography on ALL their listings regardless of the size or price.
Our services have been made so affordable that there isn’t a reason not to, especially when considering the points mentioned above.
Something else to consider is that the savvy buyers from the Toronto and GTA market that are being targeted to buy cottages in areas like Parry Sound, are so used to seeing professional images in their own market that they have a hard time visualizing properties with images that aren’t made to impress. This, in turn, brings less traffic and affects demand. Understanding your target audience is key and even though demand has definitely grown over the past couple of years, and sales numbers are on the rise, it could be even greater!
Floor plans is also a major factor in the purchase of cottages and homes in general. It is the 3rd most requested item buyers want from realtors, after professional photos and price/description, according to the NAR (National Association of Realtors) report. If you don’t offer floor plans with room measurments and Suare Footage breakdown for every one of your listings, you should also consider making this part of your marketing plan.
As a side note, rental properties would also benefit from having virtual tours created to get a higher rate of return and more traffic coming to their rental listings as well. I use a virtual tour on all of my rentals that I own and I can guarantee you that I rent my properties faster than any of my competiton that don’t use these types of services.
At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple: Perception is everything, if you make it look great, more people will want to buy or rent your property. I’m sure that just like when we first started in the business over 10 years ago in Southwestern Ontario, once a few people start using our virtual tours and photography and experience it’s benefits, more will gravitate towards doing the same.
Until then, I will continue to love our new home away from home in this area and continue to help the real estate industry grow in any way I can.
Visual Advantage Inc.
Here is an example of an aerial video we created in the Parry Sound area that showcases this cottage’s location:
Example of photos for properties in the Muskoka region: