The Bradco Companies
A commercial real estate group
Representing business and property owners in the rapidly expanding Victor Valley region of Southern California, Joseph W. Brady, president of The Bradco Companies, was in constant need of connecting buyers to sellers and vice-versa. A particular challenge for Brady was the fact that many potential customers were from out of the area making it difficult for him to physically show properties.
The Victor Valley is located along a major interstate corridor leading into Southern California and many large businesses were beginning to realize the area’s logistical potential. The area’s able and inexpensive workforce was also an attraction to these businesses. As more businesses began to establish new facilities in the Victor Valley, the demand to lease or purchase commercial or industrial properties increased. Naturally, Brady needed to take advantage of this opportunity to market his customer’s properties.
Many potential customers that Brady was reaching out to on a normal basis were out of state and often were over a thousand miles away. Just like many other commercial real estate brokerage firms, Brady used a website to post his property listings and included specifications such as square footage, electrical output, clearance height, etc. There were a few pictures included to show what the property looked like but in order to get a good sense of the property, customers needed a personal tour of it. Since many of these potential customers were from out of the area, it was difficult and expensive for them to travel to the High Desert to see the properties. Brady needed to come up with a solution.
Being a progressive company that liked new ideas and technologies, Brady was often the first in the area to employ something new. When a longtime business associate suggested to Brady that he use a virtual tour to solve his problem of how to show a property to someone from out of town, he didn’t think it would work. Brady was familiar with virtual tours being used for selling residential real estate but couldn’t see how it could possibly be used for something as complex as a commercial building.
That longtime associate was Cliff Bandringa of Virtual Tours West. Instead of trying to further explain how a virtual tour could help Brady, Bandringa offered to develop a tour for one of Brady’s smaller listings to show him what a virtual tour would look like.
The tour of the property started with a map of Southern California that would zoom into the property location. As it got closer, the view switched from a map to an aerial view and then it showed the property’s site plan. The tour continued with views of the exterior, then interior of the property and showed it all in correlation to the site and floor plans as well as with the scene at that given location.
Specifications about the property that would normally be listed in a brochure were pointed out directly on the picture of the item specified throughout the length of the tour. This helped to clarify what item is being specified. At the end of the tour, demographics of the area were presented in both table and graph form.
After seeing how the property was shown through a virtual tour, Brady began to realize the potential. Soon, Brady commissioned Bandringa to develop tours for several of the high-profile listings that his company was currently showing.
After Bandringa developed the virtual tours, they were placed on YouTube and linked to Brady’s website. When a prospective customer pulled up a webpage regarding a given property, the YouTube video was the first item on the page. All the customer had to do was click on the Play button to sit back and watch the tour.
Brady states that “soon I realized that I was spending less time showing properties and more time working with customers who already had a good feel for the property that they were interested in. That dynamic didn’t exist the previous year.” The new virtual tours were doing their job and were now another vital part of Brady’s marketing engine.
Another part of Brady’s marketing engine was to e-mail an exposé on a property he was showcasing to brokers in other regions. Now his e-mails could include a virtual tour of that property. People could easily click on a familiar YouTube box to take the tour and learn about the property instead of reading a printed brochure with less information.
Brady admits “at first I had some doubts about the usefulness of virtual tours, but now I’m convinced that they are an important tool to have in my war chest of sales tools. Most of my competitors still doubt virtual tours, which is fine with me.”
More about Virtual Tours West
Founded in 2010 by Cliff Bandringa, Virtual Tours West (VTW) combines the talents of photography, graphics, mapping, demographics, presentation development and a lot of experience with computer software. With those skills, VTW can develop virtual tours that can showcase all types of facilities, businesses and properties and do so in a variety of mediums.