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How to Host a Virtual Open House: Real Estate Tips

If you have wanted to learn how to host a virtual open house, then you’ve come to the right place. Day in and day out, people rely on realtors to help them find and settle into their homes, which is a big responsibility. Woligo created this post to compile the very best virtual open house ideas to help make your job a little bit easier.

What is a virtual open house?

Open houses have been a staple across the real estate industry to allow buyers to see a property up close and personal. A virtual open house is similar to a traditional open house, except now potential buyers get to see a property up close and virtual.

 

Technology has become so advanced that there are now, more than ever, different ways1 one can host an open house. A realtor can pre-record a walkthrough, host a live-stream video, share overhead views of the property with the help of drones, or even develop a 3D walking tour of the property so buyers can feel like they are there in person.

 

Hosting a virtual open house is not a new concept in the real estate industry, but it has become a more popular tool in light of COVID. A virtual open house allows interested parties to view a property 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, regardless of location, time zone, or schedule.

Why should I host a virtual open house for real estate?

Virtual open houses offer a myriad of benefits for realtors and buyers:

Saves time

A virtual open house can save you an enormous amount of time. Instead of hanging out at a traditional open house for four hours on a Saturday waiting for people to show up, you could host one live walkthrough and invite all interested parties. You can then record the content and repurpose it to send out to anyone unable to join.

 

You can also use a virtual open house to whittle down the pool of interested parties to focus your time and energy on the serious buyers. People learn things at an open house that help them decide2 whether or not to move forward with a property.

Tour more people

A virtual open house means that you can invite every person you have ever met. You don’t have to worry about cramped spaces or social distancing guidelines.

Easier for buyers relocating

If you are looking to relocate within the city you currently reside, work obligations and family responsibilities could make it difficult for you to set aside time to go and see every property you are interested in. Now, imagine you live in another city or even across the country. Virtual open houses allow buyers to check out any home they are interested in from the comfort of their couch.

Step 1: Choose the right virtual platform

The first step is combing through the different platforms to find the best one for your potential buyers. You can use each option on its own, or you might find that combining different approaches is the winning formula.

Live-stream

Live-streaming your virtual open house is perhaps the closest thing to a traditional open house. You can walk through the house with buyers in real-time, and they can ask questions and respond accordingly. You can host a live-stream with one buyer or one thousand buyers. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are all platforms that offer live-streaming options.

Pre-recorded video

If you decide to live-stream your open house, you can always record it and repurpose it to serve as a pre-recorded video. However, if you don’t want to repurpose the video that has you tripping on the stairs because it was, after all, live, then you can always start from scratch

A pre-recorded video gives you complete control, and you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. For example, you can hire a camera crew or use your cell phone to record the video and upload it to YouTube. Once you have the pre-recorded video, you can email it to your contact list, post it on social media, and add it to the MLS listing.

3D walking tour

3D walking tours3 allow buyers to digitally tour a home and control which part of the house they look at and from which angle. It is similar to Street View on Google Maps, but for the inside of a home. 3D walking tours are considered to be more engaging for the buyer compared to simply watching a video.

Zillow 3D Home, my360, GoogleVR, and 3D Home Tours are only a few of the available resources out there to help you create your very own 3D walking tour experience.

Aerial and drone footage

Real estate drones4 (also called unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS) are used to capture aerial views of a property’s acreage, home features, and highlights. The cost of owning a drone or hiring a professional real estate drone pilot is minimal, meaning aerial photography and video fit into the budget for just about any property.

Showcasing a property through aerial and drone photography might not seem like much, but MLS statistics report that homes with this photography statistically sold 68% faster5 than listings without aerial images.

Depending on how much you plan on using drone photography, you can hire someone or consider making an investment and becoming certified yourself. Zillow6 points out that real estate drone photography doesn’t just help sell houses — it sells you as an agent.

Step 2: Promote your open house

Sending email announcements, reminders and posting on social media7 are all great ways to promote your virtual open house. Use your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites to market the open house and post teasers. Don’t forget that virtual open houses can still be a new concept for some, so make sure you explain how it works to avoid the ‘what is a virtual open house’ email.

Step 3: Prepping for the big day

The preparation that goes into hosting a virtual open house is very similar to hosting a traditional open house.

Know your facts

You want to make sure you know the house inside and can answer any question. You should conduct market intelligence8 in advance and anticipate questions such as:

 

  • What school district is the house in?
  • What did the property across the street sell for?
  • Are there any other homes at this price point on the market in the area?
  • What are the city taxes?
  • What are the approximate utilities?

 

You should also prepare two FAQ sheets9, one that targets realtors/brokers and targets buyers. You should include facts about the house and the area that could further entice buyers, such as:

 

  • What year was the roof replaced?
  • What model are the appliances?
  • What are the top restaurants in the area?

Step 4: Test the tech

As great as technology is, it can also be a pain. You should do a test video several days before the virtual open house to allow time to work out any issues and again the day of to make sure everything is in working order. You might even consider sending a test video to a friend or colleague to get their feedback. You want to make sure the video’s clarity, the lighting throughout the house, and the sound of your voice are all ready for game day.

Step 5: Day of the open house

On the day of the open house, you should prepare as though you expect buyers to walk through the front door. You should send out any final reminders, arrive early, check the lighting, and have your tour already mapped out. You may even want to practice your introduction in the mirror to make sure you get it just right.

 

As working remote has spread across the country, so has the virtual wardrobe of professional on top and pajamas on the bottom. Don’t make that mistake when hosting your virtual open house – make sure you dress as you usually would be if your open house were in person. If a potential buyer asks for a closer look at the floors during a live-stream, you don’t want to embarrass yourself by accidentally flashing your Star Wars pajama bottoms.

 

And of course, the most crucial part of the virtual open house, don’t forget to check the tech!

Step 6: Follow-up after the virtual open house for real estate

If you don’t follow up after a virtual open house, you could be missing out on a sale. It might not be the sale of the current home you are working on, but the most successful realtors are known for having massive contact lists because you never know what friend of a friend is looking for their next home.

When it comes to follow-up emails that will turn leads into buyers, RingCentral recommends sticking to these five tips10:

Step 7: Make sure you are protected

As those in the industry know — being in real estate means constant juggling of multiple parties’ interests. There can often be emotions tied up in these transactions, and an oversight on your part or an inability to deliver on promises can quickly spiral into a situation where a disgruntled client is suing you.

 

Who looks out for your best interests? That’s up to you. With Woligo’s insurance solutions for real estate professionals, we can help cover you if an unhappy client files a claim against your business or if you become injured and can no longer work.

Step 8: Get comfortable in front of the camera

Learning how to host a virtual open house has been necessary for the real estate industry because of the pandemic. Still, it has also become an enormous benefit for realtors and buyers alike. Continue researching the best virtual open house ideas because it seems as though this virtual trend is here to stay.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.homes.com/blog/2020/05/what-you-need-to-know-about-virtual-open-houses-in-the-covid-19-era/
  2. How To Conduct a Virtual House Hunt As Good As the Real Thing (realtor.com)
  3. https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/how-to-make-a-virtual-tour-for-real-estate
  4.  Real Estate Drone Photography and Video | Zillow Premier Agent
  5. Drone Photography is Changing Real Estate...Are You Keeping Up? | RISMedia's Housecall
  6. Real Estate Drone Photography and Video | Zillow Premier Agent
  7. 5 Best Ways to Promote Your Virtual Open House | Real Estate | HSA (onlinehsa.com)
  8. 31 Savvy Real Estate Open House Ideas and Scripts for 2021 (revrealestateschool.com)
  9. 31 Savvy Real Estate Open House Ideas and Scripts for 2021 (revrealestateschool.com)
  10. 11 open house follow-up emails that'll turn leads into buyers | RingCentral