Real Estate & COVID-19: Keep Your Business Running With Virtual Open Houses

by Joe Sesso on June 2, 2020

Agents have always been innovators, but with recent events, they’ve had to find even more new ways to conduct business. With social distancing guidelines and regulations set in place by local governments, one thing that has taken a hit in the real estate industry is showings.

Showings allow potential buyers to view a home that they are interested in. With agents unable to have showings in person, they have to find a new way to show listings—virtually. To understand how to conduct a virtual tour, we recently had Sue Pinky Benson and Barbara Betts on our Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar. Benson and Betts, both notable REALTORS® in the industry, came together on a live panel to share ideas on how to conduct the best virtual tour.

The Difference Between a Virtual Tour and a Virtual Open House

The term “virtual tour” may sometimes be confused with “virtual open house.” While there is no major difference between the two, Betts and Benson described a virtual tour as something that agents are already familiar with since many agents already post them to their listings through an MLS.

Whereas a virtual open house will actually be you filming a video of a listing and sharing it with your sphere via platforms such as social media, Zoom or YouTube. During a virtual open house, you present the listing to viewers by walking through the home and showcasing the features through livestreaming or pre-recorded videos.

How to Hold a Virtual Open House

Holding a virtual open house can be simple. Benson suggests using video programs such as Facebook Live or Instagram Live to hold an organic virtual open house. When you use live social videos, you have the opportunity to reach your entire social sphere. For tips on how to go live on social media, check out this blog.

For a scheduled open house, Betts suggests using scheduled FaceTime or Zoom meetings to showcase a listing. By scheduling this time, you will limit your attendees to those who are truly interested in the home. Betts says you can prepare to show the home by practicing several times in the home—remember to open all of the doors and turn on the lights. Another big tip is to know your way around the home, as the last thing you want to do is be unsure of where you are going.

What Equipment Should You Have?

Now that you know how to hold a virtual open house, you should make sure you have the right equipment to make your virtual open house as successful as possible. Benson shared a few things that you should purchase to make your video look and sound as professional as possible.

First off, if you have a smartphone, you already have a pretty decent camera. Next, you should purchase a tripod to keep the video as steady as possible. The last thing you want is for your video to be shaky or unstable. And lastly, you should obtain a microphone. You want your audio to sound as crisp and clear as possible.

Best Practices

Knowing how to go live and what equipment to use is a great start, but to make your virtual open houses even better, check out some of the tips from Betts and Benson below:

– If you wish to hold a virtual open house via Zoom or another platform, you do not need to require registration unless you are planning to collect information.

– Know how to use the software you are using to show the listing. Do a few test runs before you host a virtual open house for potential buyers.

– Dress as you would for an actual open house. You want to come off as the same level of professional as you would for a normal open house.

– Be prepared to answer questions about the home. Have the home’s listing details nearby so you can easily answer questions during your virtual open house.

– Make sure you know your code of ethics as a real estate agent. You are there to sell the home, not yourself.

Virtual open houses may be new to you, and that’s okay. Betts and Benson were able to share some great tips in their Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar. In addition to the webinar recording, you can view the Facebook Live recap where Betts and Benson answered attendees’ questions live and provided some additional tips.

Image of Joe Sesso Joe Sesso is an Award Winning & Best Selling Author

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