With shelter in place orders affecting almost 10 million Americans, virtual open houses can assist people in buying and selling real estate without leaving their homes. COVID-19 has pushed mortgage rates lower, and this creates a prime opportunity for both buyers and sellers.
The only catch is that buyers want to see the property before they buy it. As a seller, this is when it becomes virtual to use online tools such as virtual open houses.
Read this guide and learn a few virtual open house tips to make your online property listing an effective one.
What Is a Virtual Open House?
A virtual open house eliminates many of the challenges that a traditional open house presents. Buyers can tour the home from anywhere in the world and at any time that’s convenient for them. This modern trend in home tours merges technology with traditional marketing methods as real estate agents broaden their prospective buyer market.
Why Are They Currently In-Demand?
Virtual open houses have grown in popularity in recent years. This is partially due to the adoption of technology. It’s also because video is the future of online content and marketing.
When it comes to making a buying decision, 90% of buyers say a product video is helpful. If a video is included on a landing page, they increase conversion rates by 80%. Realtors have taken note of these impressive performance statistics and applied video to their marketing efforts.
The number of people working from home has tripled over the last 15 years. Now, we are experiencing COVID-19 which has changed the way everyone does business, and an unprecedented number of people are now working from home.
The required sheltering at home order has encouraged many real estate agents to become adopters of video technology. This enables them to continue to represent their sellers by effectively showcasing homes and making them available to interested buyers.
Open house virtual tours allow everyone to socially distance and remain at home. But they also enable people to continue moving forward in life by touring potential homes.
Best Ways to Host a Virtual Open House?
There are two ways that you can host open house virtual tours. You can either have a live open house, or you can have a static video. For the most coverage and exposure, you may want to consider using both methods.
Live and Interactive Tours
Virtual events are in real-time is typically done through social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. But you can also host your video webinars through Zoom, Google Hangouts, or even Facetime.
The advantage of a live video is that you get the most amount of real and natural engagement with potential buyers. This can mimic the communication you’d experience at a traditional house showing.
The challenge of a live video is the “live event” factor of it. The experience of being on video in real-time can be overwhelming for some people. This adjustment can present a challenge to real estate agents who aren’t accustomed to being on camera.
Static Video Tours
A static video is one that you film in advance, produce, edit, and then publish on YouTube, Facebook Live, or other video hosting websites. This lets you create a well thought out video in a controlled environment. If something doesn’t go perfectly, you can try again until you have a high-quality video.
For agents not accustomed to being on camera, a static video is a smart transition. They can utilize video editing, follow a preplanned script uninterrupted, and highlight the features they think are important.
The downside of a static video is that you can’t engage in real-time. Viewers can comment when they watch, but this is an after-the-fact communication. It takes constant vigilance to ensure these comments get addressed.
How to Host an Open House Virtually
Whether you’re hosting a live video or preparing a static one, creating a quality video is all about the preparation that goes into it. This is not the time to turn on the camera and “wing it”.
Have a Dress Rehearsal
Create a script where you have a bullet-pointed list of the most important features of the home. These are the points of conversation that you need to hit on in the video.
Take a walk through the home and ensure that each room is clean and staged. Check that the lighting in each room is adequate. You also don’t want there to be too much light and have the video completely wash out.
Check your video equipment and ensure everything is in working order. You should also check the microphone for sound quality.
Promote the Video
Making a video isn’t enough. You need to promote your virtual tour to a broader audience. You can do this by creating a Facebook event and promoting that.
You could link to the event or video in the property’s MLS or Zillow listing. Invite friends and colleagues and encourage them to share your event and video. If you have a budget for it, you can even pay for social media boosting or paid ads.
Follow up on Leads
When you host a traditional open house, you can have a sign-in sheet. This is your lead generation sheet that you can then follow up with. It’s slightly more challenging to create this virtually.
One way you can do it is by having a sign-in wall before viewing. This allows people to give you their contact information before viewing the video.
Another option is to create a strong call to action during and after the video. Offer something of value in return for their contact information. You could send them a brochure with all of the property details.
Host a Virtual Open House Today
Hosting a virtual open house can broaden a home’s potential buyer pool. It makes it easier for busy and remote people to tour an available home on their own time. This step forward in marketing practices and utilization of technology was coming.
Thanks to current world events, it has taken a giant leap forward. If you’re planning on selling your home, ask your real estate agent about using a virtual tour to showcase your home.