Any house hunter on the prowl in the past year and a half has likely attended a virtual open house or two (okay — maybe dozens). With social distancing measures in place, virtual open houses have become the norm, and now serve as a convenient way for people to view a number of properties from the comfort of their home.
There are a variety of benefits that come along with virtual open houses for both buyers and sellers, even when held in conjunction with normal open houses. If you’re on the seller side of the equation, we’re sharing some insight into how to host a virtual open house.
An open house is an open house hosted online instead of in-person. While a virtual open house can’t fully replicate the experience of touring a home in real life, thanks to video technology, virtual open houses are pretty advanced these days. While photos are a great start, video can really help you explore a home from a distance.
In some cases, a virtual open house may involve a pre-recorded or live video tour of a home or a 3D tour that allows you to “walk” through a home online. These 3D tours really help you check out every nook and cranny of a house, and it’s harder for the seller to hide the less desirable parts of their home — like when they selectively post photos of their home’s best selling points.
Now that strict social distancing restrictions are less common throughout the United States, why would anyone still need to attend a virtual open house instead of a traditional one? There are many benefits that come with virtual open houses, so let's look at a few reasons why people like to attend them.
The type of technology you’ll use to host a virtual open house depends on the chosen digital format for your open house. There are two main options you can consider—a live virtual open house and a pre-recorded virtual open house. Each option requires different hosting platforms, but you can use either a camera or smartphone to record both types of open houses.
If you haven’t chosen a real estate agent to work with, consider working with one who already has experience with virtual open houses so they can help you through the process.
Your real estate agent can host a live virtual tour of your home via social media or video chat platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Google Hangouts, or Zoom. When you go live, you get the opportunity to engage with potential buyers similar to a traditional open house. The potential buyers can ask questions and your agent can adapt the tour as they get feedback throughout the session.
If your agent isn’t experienced hosting this type of live virtual house, they may find the experience awkward, so you’ll need to inquire if this is a service they offer.
If going live presents too much of a challenge, you can film a pre-recorded video and upload it to social media, a video hosting platform like YouTube, or a listing website. A pre-recorded video gives more control over how the virtual house turns out, but doesn’t allow for as much engagement with buyers.
It’s important to point the viewer in the direction of your real estate agent’s contact information so they know where to go if they have any questions about your home. Add their preferred method of contact to the social post or website you’re hosting the video on. Despite the lack of engagement, pre-recorded video open houses are still a great option as buyers can check them out whenever they get the chance, which is easier on everyone’s schedules.
If you’re interested in a pre-recorded 3D tour, speak to your agent about hiring someone to assist with that technology, as it’s more advanced than the average person with a smartphone can handle. Prices for this service starts as low as $99, so it’s worth looking into what it would cost to outsource this task. If you do want to tackle this assignment yourself, you can see if your phone offers the option to create 360-degree images.
Need some virtual open house ideas to help your open house shine? The last thing you want to do is just hit the record button and wing it. Here are a few tips that will help you and your real estate agent plan a smooth and effective virtual open house.
At the end of the day, a virtual house can’t perfectly replace an in-person open house, but it is a helpful tool that can lead you to the right buyer.
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