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Should this Part-Time Realtor Buy a Matterport Pro2 3D Camera?9077

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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
Hi All,

Moving this post here from:

New to the Forum? Please introduce yourself

Dan

Should this Part-Time Realtor Buy a Matterport Pro2 3D Camera?

Quote:
Originally Posted by @mattyb


My name is Matt and I live in the Tampa, FL area. I am a school teacher and part-time realtor.

I got the idea to look into Matterport for the 3D property tours with thoughts of marketing myself to other agents and making extra money that way since it's relatively quick and I can do it in the afternoons when I'm done teaching.

Unfortunately my real estate ventures aren't really soaring because I can't devote my full time to it. Being that this wouldn't be my primary job I figure I can undercut local pricing and get some decent business. The pricing seems a little confusing, but I think I have a decent handle on it.

At $3,400 the camera is a bit steep, and I just saw that they support some much cheaper 360 degree cameras, which I thought about trying to see how it goes. Just looking for thoughts and advice on breaking into the industry. I might have to sell another house or two before I pull the trigger as I'd prefer to pay for all the equipment up front rather than throw any of it on a credit card, but I want to do all of my homework.

The Pro2 camera seems like the best option, especially with the added benefits & processing credit. Just seems like A LOT of stuff to consider.
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TrustedPhotoDC private msg quote post Address this user
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.
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osakadave private msg quote post Address this user
Personally speaking, I don't believe undercutting serves anyone. Beat competition with excellent service and top quality work...good luck in the decision!
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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
@mattyb

Engage a Matterport Service Provider until you know that you can make enough sales to justify the purchase.

Dan
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Matt19 private msg quote post Address this user
Save yourself the money and hire it out! You have to scan a lot of houses to recover your investment. Then there are the ridiculous annual hosting fees along with extra fees for large scans. And Matterport is constantly changing terms which could be a good thing but they tend to be short sited. So unless you know you can get extra jobs you are better off paying per job!
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Matt19 private msg quote post Address this user
I would also chat with some realtors and see how many are willing to pay you for it. I would say from many other users on this site they’ve had lots of frustrations with realtors not being interested in the service.
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mattyb private msg quote post Address this user
I was thinking this could be an additional revenue stream for me but after studying the service plans and associated monthly costs it seems it’s probably not as much of a money maker on a part time scale. What do you guys think about the 360 cameras, or are they mostly a waste of time for any serious work? Maybe if I can find a great deal on a used Pro or Pro2 camera or something it might be a different story.
Is it just me or do their monthly plans with all the extra associated costs and credits and stuff seem overly complicated?
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izoneguy private msg quote post Address this user
No the monthly plans are not complicated. If you are focusing on the $19.00 per year hosting of a space - you are missing the point.

Remember, there is more Matterport business out there besides shooting houses for real estate agents.
My first job paid for all of my equipment. I use Matterport as an add on to my photography/video business. It is not my main source of income (yet). I have yet to really go after any real estate business. The few I have done were from referrals. I have several commercial real estate scanning jobs lined up. I am scanning dozens of motor coaches per month as well. And I have a possible large tour for a college.
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sidcam private msg quote post Address this user
I've been a full-time agent for about 15 years. Let me be honest. Our industry is filled with people who absolutely suck to work with/for. If your go-to market strategy is to undercut the price of existing providers, you're going to attract the agents you don't want as your clients- i.e. people who are demanding and will look for any flaw (including their listing sold too fast) as a reason to not pay you and/or get you to negotiate an even lower rate.

Also know that for every agent you show a Matterport tour to that says, "OMG, YES I'D BUY THAT!" maybe 1 in 10 will actually buy it once you have your expensive camera. And even then, you may have to wait 3-4 months before they get that "special listing" they want to "try it on."

You should also know Matterport's biggest flaw. Cool marketing (as a whole) can create as many headaches for agents as they solve because they often lead to sellers having unrealistic expectations.

Every agent I know that jumped on the Matterport bandwagon early on would privately admit that once tours were made nobody was looking at them because there wasn't a solution for getting them out en mass to the public -- and eventually their sellers realized it!

Now, over the years this has gotten a lot better and a lot of that is because of third party products you add on top of the Matterport experience, but realize that doesn't mean the agents you're selling tours to are in-tune with these solutions (or have the skills and time to implement them).

Over and over again I've seen agents get excited about Matterport and buy one or two tours from a person like you and when they fail to immediately generate new business -- mostly because the listing sold before the agent did anything with the tour -- the agent not only stopped buying tours but told other agents in their office that the tours were worthless and they shouldn't buy them either.

What that means for you is your expensive camera will be sitting unused while you try and find more agents to give you a try.

So instead of asking, "How can I make a few bucks after work shooting a Matterport tour?" you should ask, "How can I provide a valuable solution to agents that they will integrate into their seller marketing and repeatedly buy over and over again FROM ME at a PREMIUM RATE?"

My advice is look at the single property website products and determine what it would cost you in time and money to make (or have made for you) and host them after you shoot the tour. Talk to sign companies and determine your cost (again, time and money) for making and installing a custom sign rider with a custom URL pointing to that single property website. Then sell a premium TURNKEY SOLUTION to agents that provides them something more than a tour they'll never do anything with. If you do this, you'll end up with repeat and loyal clients that makes it worth your time to quit teaching and just do tours.

As far as lesser cameras are concerned, I purchased a Ricoh Theta several years ago and tried to duplicate the Matterport experience with a couple of different hosting companies. Found it extremely time consuming and ditched the idea, although it's my understanding it's gotten easier. With that said, my wife the listing agent insists the Matterport floorplans are a legitimate added value.

BTW, another solution to consider is to watch eBay and Craigslist for used equipment. There's always 5-6 cameras on eBay (which should tell you something BTW).

I'd also suggest contacting existing providers and see if they're hiring. Why not first see if this is even something you want to do long-term before striking out on your own? Taking a job you know will actually pay you while giving you experience might be better than sinking more money into starting yet another side business that may or may not pan out. It beats painting houses all summer just to pay off an expensive camera.

My thoughts. Hope it helps.
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angusnorriss private msg quote post Address this user
3 rules:

1. Cheap is sometimes very expensive.
2. Undercutting never pays-off.
3. Don’t forget the first 2 rules.
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JonJ private msg quote post Address this user
Hi Mattyb,

If you are only interested in Matterport to generate additional income, I would look into other opportunities. While the Matterport technology and presentation are impressive, you will find it difficult to find agents to shoot for since this is not an essential part of the real estate sales process.

When I started my business (5 years ago), I too started by strictly offering Matterport. I found this to be a hard sell and have since grown to provide the full gambit of real estate marketing services. That being said, if I knew then what I know now, I would start my business as a real estate photographer. The equipment cost to get started is significantly cheaper (as low as $800) and there are no ongoing fees if you decide to go in another direction in the future. However, if you decide to grow your photography business, you can add Matterport and other services down the road. This would be a much easier path since you have already built relationships with a base of clients and can now operate as a "Full Service" marketing provider.

All that being said, the learning curve to be a traditional photographer is a bit steeper, but you can learn everything you need to from YouTube.

Good luck with whatever path you choose!
JonJ
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Wingman private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanSmigrod
Engage a Matterport Service Provider until you know that you can make enough sales to justify the purchase.


If real estate agents have nothing to do during a day, why not.

However if they are busy with selling/showing/negotiating they really need to keep in mind that it is not just an initial training on how to scan. They need to keep themselves updated with all changes(or sudden bugs) that are coming from Matterport. They also need to be aware of all(or at least most) problems they can run into during scans and after processing and should have a solution ready to overcome these problems. It means a lot of reading on a lot of different online places.
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Wingman private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidcam
Also know that for every agent you show a Matterport tour to that says, "OMG, YES I'D BUY THAT!" maybe 1 in 10 will actually buy it once you have your expensive camera. And even then, you may have to wait 3-4 months before they get that "special listing" they want to "try it on."


That's exactly our experience. All say OMG, WOW but nobody wants it. And some agents to our surprise even tried to send us to another agency that they are competing with. That's really disturbing, looks like they really think it is going to shake their industry and ruin their business.

And since they are not expressing their fears about tours affecting their industry you cannot say them "Start using it and you will be above all competitors now. And it will help you to survive later as the agency every seller will go to for their listings and every buyer will use as you will give them a time saving tool."

So at this point I am thinking to stop offering tours to real estate directly. I will wait for them to chase MSPs when it is a buyer's market. Then they will have no choice as to provide potential buyers something better and more advanced than just still photos to get their listing chosen among 100s. At seller's market they do not even care to suggest to their vendors to add a floor plan or even advising against it.


Selling it to businesses is a bit easier as there is no fear involved but it is still a very bumpy road. So far all tours we have done and those that are coming have been referred to businesses by our friends and relatives. It is hard to build business on personal referrals only.

With business tours is just really hard to meet on a spot an open minded person as a business owner or a marketing manager(most small businesses do not even have them) who wants to try something new for business marketing.

It looks like if it has not been a lot of talks on mass media about it or they have not been taught to use it during their training/education they barely listen how it can help them to grow and are quite happy doing only things they have been told/taught to do.
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BrokerBruce private msg quote post Address this user
A lot of good info here for you to digest. I am a Realtor® and own a Pro 2D Lite. So far I only use it on my own listings. Your problem, trying to approach other agents, is they are very protective of what money they do make after all of their costs are considered. Most are saying to themselves, "it's a great listing, priced right. It'll sell without it. You can turn that in your favor though when on a listing presentation. Mr. Seller if you are going to pay x commission with XYZ Realty and pay the same with me but I include Matterport 3D tours. And you explain why those other agents aren't offering it, which is the better service for you?" If they are trying to save money are they really invested in the sale of your property? What other corners might they cut in order to keep their costs down and not give you the full service you're paying to get.

Another thing to consider trying to do this in the afternoons is lighting conditions for the property. Some may be better shot in the morning and some better mid-day or afternoons.

I wish you well in whatever you decide to do.
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sidcam private msg quote post Address this user
Wingman-

I have mixed feeling about Matterport. Do I think 360/3D/VR will become more commonplace over the next few years? Yes, because its getting too cheap and easy to make.

However it's not a revolution or going to radically change our industry. At best it's the evolution and future of listing photography. But the problem is that the MLS IT guys have been struggling to incorporate advanced media into the search process since I first stitched a 360 for my wife in 2004 and so far all we've got are three blind links that may or may not appear on the 1,000 various websites buyers are searching on. And if they are there, what the buyer gets when they click on the link might be a 3D tour, might be a shaky YouTube video or just another slideshow of photos they've already seen. It's a hot mess.

The other real challenge is that 360/3D doesn't allow you hide things you're really hoping people will overlook quite like still photography or video.

Buyers, well, they're going to look at everything on the market regardless of marketing and buy the home with the best price and condition inside their search criteria. At best, good marketing gets you looked at first and may speed up the process as long as price and condition are still competitive. At worst, it's an expense eating away at your commission.

Personally, I think in real estate Matterport plays best when buyers are frequently remote (commercial, vacation markets) or hard to get into for an onsite visit (commercial, rental) and in price points that sell slower where the tours have greater longevity and can help keep out the non-serious buyers (luxury).
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craigsauer private msg quote post Address this user
I agree with most of the sentiments above, but I have an idea to share about the new cheap 360 cameras and realtors that could be relevant to this thread:

MSPs always think about selling Matterport tours to listing agents to market their listings. The cheap 360 cameras aren't a great alternative to Matterport's Pro2 camera for this business because it is really important to have really high quality imagery to market a property widely.

However, I think realtors who are BUYERS AGENTS could possibly really benefit from creating Matterport tours with a Theta V or Insta 360 camera, just to show to a particular buyer who can't make it to see a particular property. Creating tours with the cheap cameras is insanely fast, so you could make the tour during a normal property viewing time period. You'd only share it privately with the one (or few) client(s) you specifically want to see it. You still have to pay upload fees for each tour, so you'd have to weigh the value of doing this vs the cost, but I think it could be a way for a buyers agent to distinguish themselves from their competition, especially when serving buyers who are relocating from far away. You might even get the seller's agent to pay you to share the tour with them for the MLS.

I thought of this when I recently saw a buyers agent doing a cell phone video walkthrough of a property to show to her client. In about the same time, you could easily create a Matterport tour with a Theta V.
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GFHoge private msg quote post Address this user
Wow! That was a lot to read. I had to go back to the top and re-read the question. Here is what has worked for me:
I am a broker in Florida and 14 years in real estate.

My daughter saw the MP in 2017 and I bought one on eBay from a guy who couldn’t make it work. I started another company with my daughter and we were charging $200 for 2000 sq ft with 2D photos, and Mattertags. We didn’t get too much business initially. I could have kept it to myself, but thought I would benefit from the lack of solutions for REALTORs here. We dropped our price and made it a-la-cart and have been increasingly busy. We have joined the Realtors Association here and sponsored a few events to get our name out. It took time, but we have made enough to pay off the first camera, buy an Pro2, Theta V, 4K still camera, and Theta Z (when it is released).

It has been a blast doing the REALTOR stuff, but I have also done commercial work that has been fun too. There aren’t enough ways yet identified to make it profitable for you. MP is the flagship. I use the Theta to identify lots for buyers and “show” show sellers from afar what they can’t see online.

Look at it as an opportunity to make some money, but understand that the closer you get to agents and offices, the more success you will have. Take them bagels for their office meetings so you can pitch your product. Start somewhere and don’t quit.
Good luck!
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