With the global pandemic, many industries have had to make plenty of adjustments in order to create a new normal. Virtual open houses used to be seen as futuristic, high-tech supplements, but now they are viewed as essential tools. With real estate, typically, an open house has played a huge part in the buying and selling process, so adaptations have been made to keep the momentum going
Let’s expand on how you can bring exceptional home touring experiences to home buyers right now.
1) Pick Your Poison
While there is ample virtual tour software available, there are two major options to showcase your open house online. Both require either a smartphone camera or a high-quality video camera. An upside to smartphones, however, is they have the ability to connect directly in real-time.
Option 1. Go Live
Instagram and Facebook have Live features that allow for real-time, natural engagement with potential buyers. This makes it the closest alternative to a traditional open house. The best part is you can address comments and answer questions as they arise on the feed, and your followers can feel like they are right there with you.
Option 2. Static Videos
These are videos that are prerecorded which allows for a more controlled environment. Editing and highlighting specific amenities is easier to do with this option. It also gives agents who might be more camera shy to navigate the space with less stress.
Just like you would place a sign out front saying, “Open House,” you must promote your tour ahead of time. If nobody knows about it, nobody will come! Give a timeframe for the virtual open house and build interest with details about the property. Get the word out through your regular channels such as social media, Zillow, email, personal website, etc. You can also utilize local real estate groups or pages to promote your virtual tour. Teasing with pictures of some of the home’s best features or amenities is a great place to start. Make sure you are using upscale equipment to get the most out of your efforts.
Another rule of thumb is to promote cross-functionally amongst all social channels. Facebook remains the most popular network and has incredible opportunities for community-based engagement and event promotions. However, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter should not be overlooked if you’re itching to create a buzz.
3) Get There Early
Preparation makes perfect. You will want to stage it appropriately and be sure it is spotless. In person there are lots of different sensations – try and make up for that with your descriptive words and showcasing abilities. Write down major questions that need to be addressed and ask for feedback. This is where going Live comes in handy- it is a great way to address comments/concerns in real-time just like a normal open house tour.
Remember, the success of your virtual open house hinges on preparation so the more details you have considered and planned for, the better the impact it will have.
4) Take Your Time
Do a rehearsal the day before and make sure your equipment is up to par. If you’ll be conducting a live open house, test the internet connection to see that it is stable and won’t give you any lagging or trouble. On that note, test your audio quality and make sure it is crisp and clear. Review your scripts and information on the property so you can answer all questions without fault. If you are nervous about being in front of the camera, there is no shame in practicing at home. Do a trial run by touring your own home, or simply voicing over the biggest touchpoints of the property you’ll be showing in front of the mirror. Getting used to hearing your own voice and locking down your nervous mannerisms helps tremendously.
On the day of, do not race through space. Devote enough time to touch on all the details that might be overlooked online but stand out in person; you want to make it as personable as possible. If there are any parts of the home that need upgrading, make sure you are as transparent as possible while steering it in a positive light. You can even suggest beautiful new fixtures or amenities that would complement the space really well as an upgrade. Just like in a real open house, you want to paint a picture for the prospective tenants to imagine themselves in.
After doing all that work researching, rehearsing, and recording, why not reduce, reuse and recycle all of that hard work? Splinter your content and make it work to your benefit. Use that footage for your personal website, Instagram, ads, etc. Take pictures of the best parts of the property and feature them when it’s sold across your social platforms. Take stills from your video tour and use them as Instagram posts. Use the questions asked by followers on your live feed and turn them into blog posts or FAQs for your personal website to attract more traffic to your page. The beautiful thing about adapting to this new world is that it opens up so many more paths. The opportunities are (virtually) endless!