Live Streaming Real Estate Tours in Singapore: A New Trend

1. Introduction

In a typical live real estate tour, the real estate agent brings his mobile phone equipped with a smooth stabilizer and shoots the interior and the surroundings of a real estate in different angles, guiding viewers about layout, structure, facilities, and community. The live real estate tour can be delivered via popular social media platforms like Facebook Live and YouTube Live, with the agent going through the live chat function to answer questions to people interested in the property. The social interaction gives the potential buyer and the agent a chance to understand each other and sets a foundation for working together.

The development of real estate technology has been rapid in the past two decades. Real estate agents no longer need to rely on newspapers or big signs to convey house information. The widespread use of real estate websites or social media platforms has changed the way information is distributed, making information about property easy to access. Talking about the house and sending pictures is the first step when a customer contacts an agent. Although Singapore is a small city-state, the time spent traveling house by house with a house buyer or tenant can be substantial. Through technology, photos can be taken and sent quickly, shortening the time agents spend sending messages. The development of streaming technology further shortens the distance between buyers and sellers.

As part of the marketing efforts that most real estate agents make, live streaming of properties allows potential clients to better understand a property without the need to make an appointment for a physical visit, letting clients filter out properties that do not fit their needs. This paper explores the real estate live streaming trend in Singapore through a qualitative survey done on local real estate agents and a live stream watch party on real estate focused internet platforms.

1.1. Background of Live Streaming in Real Estate

Based on previous research, spatiotemporal technologies such as virtual tours, video clips, and live streaming Singapore can also influence a potential homebuyer’s decision-making processes by assisting in their preparatory tasks and enhancing the buying experience by offering an alternative purchasing method.

Research has suggested that the benefits of using live streaming can include substantial savings in both time and money, allowing for increased accessibility and instantaneous feedback. When choosing to invest in a property, these tours allow potential buyers to gain insight into Singapore homes through their computer and see the insides of their potential homes for investment up-close. Furthermore, the potential buyer’s selection set of properties that they may consider would include virtually videographed properties, allowing them to have a feel for the homes before they view the physical Singapore home.

The use of live stream service real estate tours presents a new way to bring property seekers to Singapore homes. Such tours help to eliminate the need for traveling long distances, the restraints of time, or the high cost of planes to Singapore, especially for Asia Pacific buyers who are increasingly taking a keen interest in the Singapore property market due to investment opportunities offered, responsive infrastructure, English-speaking population, and it being a regional education hub.

Combining the use of smartphones and mobile applications, live streaming of video content has gained immense popularity in recent years. This allows the coverage of a live or pre-recorded video in real-time on a digital platform, which enables viewers to watch an event as it unfolds. As advancements continue to be made in video and digital technologies, it has allowed the transformation of live streaming from a medium of communication for socializing to a form of delivering education and marketing.

2. Benefits of Live Streaming Real Estate Tours

Why has this phenomenon appeared so much in the real estate industry today? The answer is significantly due to the huge amount of time that customers have to spend online each time they need to buy a property. This is a strong motivation for businesses to continue to change to find the most practical medium to attract customers. However, if you think that live streaming real estate tours are just a way to see properties without leaving home in this sensitive period, you may be surprised. This is a form of sales that is increasingly being improved and optimized for the best user experience. Businesses are investing large sums of money in creativity, organization, and technique to make this online service realize the same experience that customers would have during a traditional viewing. Let’s find out the benefits of live streaming real estate tours!

Most businesses in the real estate industry in Singapore, before the spread of COVID-19, did not readily take up and apply new ways to present properties to potential customers. In fact, not all real estate companies have moved into restructuring or innovation in technology, especially in digitizing property viewing content in order to adapt to the new normal situation under the influence of the pandemic. Therefore, this habit of thinking has made the real estate industry here seriously affected during the social distancing period as well as the temporary stop of activities in various fields. However, with the development and emergence of artificial intelligence and the rise of platforms specializing in digitizing real estate, live streaming real estate tours have been adopted and implemented by many real estate companies in Singapore for quite some time. This has helped them to keep the business stable, increasing the level of innovation and the ability to operate more flexibly, ensuring social distance and avoiding spreading diseases.

2.1. Increased Reach and Accessibility

Live streaming also allows for instant and real-time feedback and decision making. Given that traditional real estate purchase generally requires a considerable amount of preparatory work, many do not make regular ‘window shopping’ trips down to the real estate show flats or resale units, with the travel involved and time spent at the real estate physically lowering the chances of the clients committing to their decisions, especially if they are just looking around to test the waters. With live streaming, clients can view the real estate in high definition from the comfort of their homes, without having to make the physical move. They are also able to get their queries answered on the spot before making faster, more confident decisions in an instant-reply and 24/7 setting.

By tapping into the concept of virtual reality, the same property and its surroundings can now be viewed by everyone around the world, leading to a much wider pool of prospective clients. Moreover, live streaming allows real estate agents to engage clients in real time, answering clients’ queries and showing multiple units at a go in real time. This not only saves time and effort for clients and agents physically, but also saves time for both parties as they need not go through the time-consuming process of scheduling a time to visit the units. In addition, clients with limited mobility or from overseas can have a ‘step’ into the real estate property without stepping out of their homes. They can have the full visual experience even without being grounded, and when the need arises to purchase or rent, only then do they need to make the physical move to Taipei to confirm their decisions.

3. Challenges and Considerations

The nature of where the real estate is located also adds certain content considerations. Particular care should be taken when streaming properties located in exclusive residential areas, as to not generate any kind of negative or unwanted attention. Furthermore, the design of the properties being showcased can often be a sensitive issue in regions of political unrest. Particular care must be taken to ensure that live streaming is carefully orchestrated in regions with often sensitive designs. Finally, the type of building being streamed can also often be used in the commission of crimes, so the police could be notified to ensure the safety of the presenters and cameras.

Streaming real estate content can be challenging and has certain inherent risks. The use of these skills and knowledge of professional video teams and high-quality equipment is paramount, and caution should be taken to ensure legal requirements are met. Footage may inadvertently capture illegal activities, pirated products, or counterfeit brand items, or partially affect privacy rights, which all pose potential problems. Often, streamed content covers private spaces of other people who are not accustomed to being on camera, unlike in a film or television show. Sometimes, partially awkward scenarios can occur when streaming properties that are conducting viewings at the time of the shoot, or when other estate agents who are at the property get captured on the video. Furthermore, getting a home tour right often requires several retakes, something that cannot be done when livestreaming. Despite this, the live component of the service makes it an engaging and more authentic experience than on-demand tours can achieve.

3.1. Technical Requirements

The built-in microphone in most devices is fairly basic. You’ll get better sound quality if you use an external microphone. The $25 Shure MV88+ microphone connects directly to Apple devices while the Rode Wireless Go, priced at $199, is a popular wireless mic that works with a variety of devices. Note that some home tour enthusiasts combine homemade or affordable clip-on boom microphones with a decent digital camera. In terms of sound enhancements, application features such as echo cancellation, automatic gain controls, and noise suppression functions can improve the audio quality of the live stream.

III. A Microphone

Whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet, or digital camera, having a stabilizer for your camera can greatly enhance the quality of your live streaming broadcasts. Many tour and cam hosts simply use a selfie stick combined with a microphone to do their home tours. There are also more elaborate gimbal alternatives, of which the DJI Osmo Mobile is a popular consumer option. With a gimbal, the camera can move freely in any direction while keeping the image smoothly stable.

  1. A Stabilizer for the Camera

Nowadays, many real estate agents and casual property sellers film their own home tours using their smartphone. Most smartphones (beyond the most basic models) have decent cameras that work well enough for this purpose. It’s likely the smartphone you own is good to go. However, older models might not perform well in low light conditions. Modern smartphone cameras feature enhancements, such as wide-angle views, optical image stabilization, and AI enhancements. Some models even feature panoramic views and hyperlapses for off the beaten track home tour enhancements.

  1. A Smart Phone

4. Case Studies

The live stream could be recorded and put on display on a website so that people could watch it at a later stage. The viewers who are buying in their home country are then flown into Singapore to see the properties they are interested in. They are housed in a five-star hotel and taken around by the client manager so that they can evaluate and buy their property on the spot. A case study is done of each company to determine what kind of technology is being used and how the live streaming is managed and recorded. Data was collected through interviews with each live streaming company. Some scenario observations were also made on Live Stream Property when a new listing was broadcasted live to see how everything was managed and recorded.

Three real estate companies were studied to find out how they managed live streaming in order to sell real estate. In all three companies, some form of live streaming was taking place. All the companies allowed people to watch live streams from the comfort of their own home. The people involved in the live streaming were able to talk to the live streamer and give their comments during the session. The live streamer could either choose to answer the comments live or answer, if it was a general question, after he/she had finished showing the property.

5. Future Trends

The overseas market for property information will create tremendous opportunities for live streaming real estate tours. Real estate agents and marketing companies in countries such as the UK, US, China, or even Mongolia commonly send teams to carry out ‘video shoots’ to show properties in Singapore to potential buyers, often highlighting points of interest in Singapore itself. These costs could be drastically reduced if they are able to provide their clients with a live streaming tour of properties of interest in Singapore, particularly if the client is interested in something specific that is not currently available in the market. This is especially true where the average price to rewards ratio of properties in Singapore is quite low compared to developed countries or China, where new wealth is constantly created. With the advent of augmented reality and better control of high-definition cameras, these clients can potentially be worldwide.

The advent of augmented reality in mobile devices will allow live streaming tours to become instantly engaging. Buyers and investors will have the immediate experience of ‘walking through’ a property, but still be looking at it live. A real-time augmented reality application will allow the seller or salesperson to highlight points of interest of the property as the buyer watches – in Singapore, this could be translated into 3D room views, scenic view overlays, or future renovation ideas. Remote buyers will also be able to request a closer look at particular areas in the room.

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