Virtual Tours vs. Static Renders: Which to Use for Your Real Estate Marketing

Virtual Tours vs. Static Renders

Virtual reality is slowly making its way into the realm of real estate. Some major companies have started to implement the technology in their listings, providing a chance for prospective buyers from all over the world to take an immersive glance into properties for sale, regardless of where the houses are located.

Unlike any traditional form of product visualization, 3D architectural visualization services take clients into a digital world created based on the actual property. They can inspect every detail, check every room, and determine how comfortable it would be. In some cases, clients never have to meet with the agents to take a tour; it’s a practical, convenient, and effective marketing campaign.

However, most properties’ online listings have no VR tour available. These properties are displayed as static renders—photorealistic computer-generated imagery to showcase physical objects in their best possible conditions.

Why VR Technology

By now, everybody knows the potential advantage of VR technology in the real estate industry. However, you may wonder if VR is worth the cost. Here is a rundown of the most significant benefits that the technology can deliver to real estate agents and buyers.


One thing that VR does best is eliminating the distance between the property, realtors, and clients. The property will sit still, but agents and prospective buyers sometimes have to travel many miles away to the exact location without guaranteeing that a deal will be made. Assuming the agent has made appointments with five or six interested clients, the agent may need to travel for hours back and forth every day. With VR technology, clients everywhere can put on a headset and take a complete tour of the property with no restrictions.

As for the agents, VR can be an introductory phase of the sales process. Agents can provide a VR headset in their office for visiting clients who will then take freelance architectural presentation services. The property itself can be located many miles away from the office in another town. Only when clients show serious interest in buying will agents schedule another tour.


Some VR headsets are not that expensive either. For example, a basic Google Cardboard is in the range of $10 – $20, and it will do a great job taking the client to enjoy a virtual tour of any property. When a property is made available in VR format, any client with a compatible headset can access it around the clock. An open house is only every few hours a week, but they are accessible all day every day with VR.

Emotional Connections

A big problem with traditional visits is that agents seem to explain everything in a hurry. Clients often feel like they are rushed into making a decision, which can be uncomfortable at times.

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VR gives a chance for buyers to explore all rooms and enjoy the view for as long as they want. When they virtually enter a property, they don’t bother anybody else. They can take their time in the virtual world and focus their attention on details. The more time clients spend on the tour, the deeper the emotional connection with the property. It’s as if the clients live in the house, albeit for a little while, and explore every corner with a great degree of privacy.

Global Reach

Once a property makes its way online, people worldwide can see the pictures and read the descriptions. When a prospective buyer currently lives in another state or even country, it requires a rather cumbersome process to make appointments, arrange visits, and schedule a tour. It’s cumbersome for clients living in the same city.

Freelance 3D AR/VR architectural services can change the paradigm. Regardless of where prospective buyers live, they can take a tour anytime, any day of the week, without all the troubles of traveling. This also gives agents a better chance of working with more clients, making quicker sales, and processing more inquiries.

Better Investment

High-quality VR tours are not cheap. It can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity and quality. Think of it as an additional investment on top of the traditional real estate market where you have to stage the house and print some marketing materials.

Keep in mind that VR and 360-video tours are a little bit different. The former takes clients entirely into a digital world where almost everything is interactive, like doors, windows, water fixtures, lighting, and so on. The latter is based on video footage of the actual property; the recording – viewed on a compatible headset – will be played on a 3D 360-degree panorama rendering. If a VR tour is too much for your budget, you can use 360-video, although you will lose the interactive elements.

While an investment of $10,000 for a tour might seem expensive, the cost is worth it. Many VR professionals use gaming engines to build a virtual structure as convincing as the physical counterpart. A high-quality VR environment tour makes the clients feel like they are there inside the property. Navigation and transition from room to room also feel smooth and natural.

Sense of Ownership

VR lets clients develop a sense of ownership once they put on the headset. They explore the house as if it is their own already; the personal connection established during the tour will continue to grow long after the client puts the headset down.

Now they know which door leads to the kitchen, the dishwasher brand, the color of the faucet, and other seemingly unimportant details. In a fully-featured VR app, add-ons such as a mortgage calculator, information about similar properties, addresses, and the town’s history exist.

Static Renders

VR is all about a dynamic, interactive digital world that takes clients into an immersive property tour experience. It requires a reasonable amount of money to build, yet it promises a greater return on investment. Unlike a virtual tour, a static render is easier to create and more affordable too. Static renders are computer-generated images based on the actual property.

They are essentially just regular images created from scratch using computer software rather than captured using a camera. The result is a photorealistic image representing the property in its best environment (lighting, weather, surrounding, horizon, sky color, etc.). Real estate agents and companies can use static renders on more platforms, including websites, social media posts, and billboards.


Photorealistic renders are often impressive. All the essential details are appropriately highlighted, and the image, in general, offers the best viewing angle of the exterior, interior, and surrounding area. However, there are two minor issues with renders:

Limited Information

In terms of features and function, static renders are similar to photographs. They are still images that clients cannot manipulate aside from simple actions like zoom and flip. When it comes to quality, renders are much better than a traditional photograph. A 3D rendering service can give the imagery plenty of digital touches to beautify the display without altering any real elements of the property.

Static renders are cheaper, quicker to make, and a more versatile advertisement piece. Clients never have to put on a headset to see the image, whereas agents can post it on just about every website and social media. However, looking at static renders might not be as informative or exciting as going on a VR tour.

Lack of Immersive Experience

With no interactivity, a static render cannot provide an immersive experience to prospective buyers. There is no way clients can open the door or water the lawn using a still image. The good thing is that a 3D construction rendering service can create multiple images for various parts of the house. When done right, clients will be able to see every corner and room of the house, and that is probably all that a client needs in some cases. 

In Comparison

Static rendering has become more sophisticated and photorealistic in recent years. A professional 3D home rendering artist can create highly detailed visualizations of both exterior and interiors to the point where the images look better than a real object. Property rendering has been around for many years; you can almost say it is a mature, time-tested proven-effective technology in the real estate industry. The vast majority of property listings still rely heavily on static renders to attract buyers.

Recent advancements in digital technology have made VR tour more convincing. The hyper-realistic environment in the digital world is getting closer; it is already ubiquitous in game development and is starting to see rapid adoption in the real estate industry.

At this point, only a handful of significant real estate companies show serious intention to implement VR technology in their marketing efforts. However, there have been some cheaper alternatives that personal home sellers can use.

The Alternative

To bridge the gap between static renders and VR tours, there is panoramic 360-view video footage. As the name suggests, it is a video recording of a property that works with a VR headset. The footage is not CGI – it is created by combining multiple perspectives recorded simultaneously using multiple cameras into a single sequence. It offers limited interactive elements, but it is not static either.

Cad Crowd’s Rendering Professionals Can Help With Real Estate Marketing

At Cad Crowd, we have the privilege of working with hundreds of the best rendering professionals. Regardless of what type of project you have, we can help. Our freelancers have worked on plenty of real estate projects. To find out more, get a free quote today.