Virtual home tours evolve on the Internet - East Valley Tribune: Business

Virtual home tours evolve on the Internet

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Posted: Saturday, April 12, 2008 3:22 am | Updated: 9:28 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

In a brutally competitive housing market, real estate agents and builders have been clamoring to find the next great marketing tool to draw in buyers.

And the Internet is playing an increasingly crucial role.

A 2007 report by the National Association of Realtors shows 84 percent of buyers use the Web in their home search, up from 80 percent the previous year.

Home video tours have especially taken off - replacing virtual tours that use still photos as the latest industry trend. Agents post videos on Web sites such as Realtor.com or the wildly successful video sharing Web site YouTube.

Century 21 Real Estate has its own YouTube channel and recently kicked off a nationwide video contest in which sellers create their own home tour videos.

Homebuilders are also getting in on the action. Scottsdale-based Cachet Homes recently released a series of advertisements on television and on YouTube.

One video features Cachet president Matt Cody touting three of the builders' communities, including Carrara in Gilbert and Bel Canto in Scottsdale. The company reported a 59 percent rise in Web traffic at its Carrara site and 65 percent jump at its Bel Canto site after the ad's first run.

Chaparral Business Center

With businesses putting off expansion plans or consolidating offices amid a shaky economy, development of new office space has slowed Valleywide. But while some developers have scrapped projects, others are still seeing activity.

Lincoln Property Co. recently announced its first tenant in its Chaparral Business Center VI in Scottsdale.

Move, Inc., an online real estate research firm, leased 46,128 square feet of space as part of an expansion of its Valley operations.

Located at the northwest corner of Loop 101 and Chaparral Road, the 70,735-square-foot project is targeted for certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, national rating system for "green" buildings.

Zaio

A Canadian real estate database company recently moved its Arizona operations from Tempe to Scottsdale as part of an ongoing expansion.

The Scottsdale office, 9200 E. Pima Center Parkway, Suite 200, serves as Zaio Inc.'s United States headquarters and will employ nearly 100 people.

Zaio serves 500 lenders nationwide with data on 140 million properties. The firm's network of local appraisers photograph, inspect and appraise the value of homes.

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