The result was a CD-based tour of their home, totally designed and created by them.
“Several forward-thinking real estate agents – Marilyn Berger and Marilyn Shank of Berger Real Estate and Anne Lusk of Prudential Commonwealth Real Estate – immediately saw the potential,” said Ginna, owner and president, “They approached us about doing CDs for other homes,”
A digital-based home tour isn’t a totally new idea, Many real estate offices have virtual tours that potential buyers can access through company Web sites, CD-based home tours, however, have certain advantages for the customers – home buyers and home sellers – and the agent,
“Most Web-based virtual tours must be downloaded through the Internet to the viewer’s computer; plus, they have smaller images “and are not high-resolution,” explained Mike Sabol, “The pictures on our CDs are sharper, full-screen images, and there is no downloading anything. So there’s no danger of cookies or viruses sneaking into your computer through an Internet link.”
Anne Lusk is thrilled with the competitive advantage the CD tours give her.
“People were impressed with the idea and enjoyed the high-quality images and viewing the homes so easily,” she said.
The CDs have proven to save time for the agents and brokers, as well.
“When people are making the serious investment of buying a home, they want to be sure it’s the right choice for them,” Lusk said. “The CDs can allow us to spend less time taking prospective buyers back to a home for additional visits. Home buyers and sellers like the convenience of popping the CD into their computer to view the layouts and rooms as often as they like.”
Ginna and Mike creates the whole package. They takes all the high-resolution digital photography, creates a storyboard of the property and adds royalty-free background music and narrative about the home and property features.
The CDs even include sound effects like birds warbling cheerily when the tour goes to outdoor views. They create authentic impressions, promising never to alter or “touch up” true images of a property.
“Everything is realistic and top quality,” Ginna said. “Even the sound is multi-channel high-fidelity stereo.”
No cheap paper labels for them – they have perfected the ability to print label information directly onto the CD. With their technology skills and personal backgrounds, they took the real estate-related CDs a step further.
“We came up with the idea to create a relocation CD from personal experience,” said Ginna. “We moved our family frequently during our careers, and every move meant acclimating ourselves to a new area.
“You had to find answers to everyday questions like ‘Where are the grocery stores,’ ‘How do I find the schools,’ ‘How do I register ours cars and get a license to drive in this state?’ And of course many more questions. I would have loved to have a CD like this.” While there are relocation magazines real estate professionals use with clients, Ginna explains several differences.
“Go ahead and pick one up. They are 70 to 80 percent advertisements. Ours have no advertisements, but give a wealth of information about the area. Plus, mailing one of the magazines costs at least several dollars. Mailing a CD costs 85 cents.
Anne M. Lusk uses the home tour and relocation CDs in Lancaster County. “She’s been our expert R&D,” Ginna said.
Her suggestions resulted in insightful adjustments, especially after receiving comments from clients who saw earlier versions. The CDs not only have maps, business listings and tours of individual municipalities, but are full of cultural opportunities and history. There are even links to government Web sites for needs like registering to vote.
“With these CDs, I can offer an incredible tool for all involved,” Lusk said. “The relocation CDs paint a picture of Lancaster County that is beyond most people’s expectations. If people are from other geographic areas, their image of Lancaster generally centers around the area’s being charming but backwards, and lacking in cultural diversity.”
Lusk gives an example: “Many think they’ll never find great Thai or Mexican food here. And particularly with people from the West Coast, they believe they’ll have to travel out of Lancaster to find sushi bars. But when they see the relocation CDs with everything this area has to offer, they get excited to move here. And yes, the CDs include Lancaster County food!”
There is also a relocation CD for Berks County, and Ginna is in negotiation with other counties as well. All their CDs start automatically once inserted in a computer, so anyone can easily access the
Several of theirs creations are now mixed-mode CDs, including DVD capabilities. Putting these digital products in a CD player yields music, but they’ll also play images and sound in a computer CD drive.
As an ideal application, they created a mixed-mode CD for the Pennsylvania Academy of Music to help with fund raising.
Ginna and Mike have also designed and produced story and tour CDs for the National Christmas Center on Route 30 and marketing CDs for artists, and there’s even a cook- book in the works. Just browse the recipes and print out the ones you want.
“Imagination is our only limit,” Ginna said.