RealTime IT News

Realtor.com Does a 360 on Visualization

Prospective home buyers will be able to take more online virtual tours now that Visualtour can offer its customers access to the Realtor.com site.

The new arrangement announced Thursday will take affect this summer and makes it easier for realtors with listings on Realtor.com to create links to VirtualTour's scrolling, panoramic display of homes.

"We have unbundled our product," said Dan Wool, spokesperson for Realtor.com. "Previously a real estate agent had to purchase an additional listing enhancement offer from us in order to link to a virtual home tour service. Now we are offering this a la carte."

VisualTour, based in Coral Springs, Flor. has over 17,000 real estate agent customers. "This new partnership makes it easier for these agents to post virtual home tours," said J.L. Winn, vice president of marketing for VisualTour. "If they have an account with us they just click on a button on the Realtor.com site."

Realtor.com a division of Homestore in Westlake Village, Calif., owns its own virtual tour service called Hometour 360.

Rob Sterling, analyst with Jupiter Research in New York, said these kinds of services are aimed at independent agents.

"Independent real estate brokers are a vanishing breed," said Sterling. "The question for the independent is always, 'where is your Web site?' This is a way to help the small guy look bigger."

Bucking the Realtor.com coup, some large firms and franchises such as Coldwell Banker and Century 21, which have their own Web sites that offer virtual tours.

"There is an increasing need for Realtor.com to make it clear why they add value," said Sterling. "This is another way for them to do that."