A seller that hosts an open house virtually using video conferencing software is called a virtual open house.

A virtual open house is a great way for buyers to view real estate. Even after the risk of coronavirus transmission has passed, virtual open houses are likely to still be essential. Individuals who cannot attend an in-person can find virtual events particularly helpful.

How to Know When to Host A Virtual Open House

Sellers who are motivated to sell their homes will often go to great lengths to do so. Most sellers want to find ways to get potential buyers’ attention instead of wearing a sandwich board with their address. Naturally, that makes an open house an obvious choice.

The tradition of having an open house dates back to the 1910s. This is when builders would allow the public to come in and see the new building. A practice that is common today of offering a plate of cookies or glass of champagne at an open house didn’t start until 1952 when a Dallas realtor promoted free soft drinks at his open house.

When does it make sense to have a virtual open house? There are a few things to consider:

  • Out-of-state buyers – If you’re looking to attract buyers who don’t live nearby—or even in-state—a virtual open house provides exposure and accessibility. It’s a convenient and interactive experience for all buyers despite their geographical location.
  • Online searches – Most home buyers begin their searches online. As such, a virtual house tour gives you an immediate advantage over in-person open houses. Virtual house tours allow you to reach more customers through the digital world so that everyone who is interested in the home can attend, no matter where they are.
  • House offers – A virtual open house allows buyers to get an up-close look at the property. These buyers will generally have a better understanding of what they’re looking for and you’ll, hopefully, receive more serious offers from potential buyers.
  • Social distancing – Offering a virtual tour will promote social distancing while allowing you to show a property to a wider audience with less contact. This option provides safety and comfort to both you and potential buyers during an open house.

Tips For Ensuring a Great Virtual Open House

To make a virtual open house successful, the same elements that make an in-person event great should be taken into account.

Here’s a virtual open house checklist:

  1. Choose the right platform. Many real estate agents know that a few pitfalls come with video conferencing. The platform you use for your virtual open house is crucial to its success in terms of reaching the right audience. For example, you could hire a videographer to create a video tour, or use a live virtual tour via a cell phone and video streaming platform such as Facebook Live, so viewers can interact in real-time. Research the different options to see which would fit you and potential buyers the best before announcing a date for the home tour.
  2. Make sure to start promoting your virtual open house well in advance to ensure that you attract motivated buyers. If you sign up to be a Neighborhood Sponsor, you will be able to post home listings, advertise, and connect with local buyers.
  3. A dress rehearsal is a practice session in which everything is done as it would be done during an actual performance. Practicing your virtual open house tour ahead of time will help you avoid any awkward pauses, skipping critical home details, or saying any dreaded “umms.”
  4. Before the show opens to the public, there is a dress rehearsal where the cast wears costumes and runs through the entire show. After that, there is a tech rehearsal where they work out any problems with the lighting, music, and sound effects. Test your equipment before using it to avoid any technical problems. You should try to practice your pitch with friends or family members so that you can be more prepared.
  5. Even if you are only giving a virtual tour of your home, you should still follow the typical protocols of home selling. This suggests that arranging furniture and decor in an appealing way is still crucial to making a room look its best. Maybe even more so. When you are taking a picture, you should think about what the camera angle will be and how the lighting will affect the photo.
  6. Take your time when going through a home to show potential buyers. By not rushing, agents give viewers time to absorb all the details of the home. Aim to stream for 10-20 minutes as you show viewers around the house in a virtual open house tour.
  7. If you’re feeling unsure about creating a virtual tour on your own, try partnering up with someone else. Having a second person to hold the camera and guide viewers through the space will make the process much smoother and yield better results. Team up for optimal virtual showings.
  8. While it’s great that agents can give potential buyers live virtual home tours, consider making a static video also. Film a showing of your product ahead of time and post it on YouTube, Facebook, or create a standalone landing page on your website.
  9. The saying “dress for the job you want” is important in real estate, which often uses first impressions. This is also true if the first meeting is online. Naturally, clothing should be modest, but also consider colors. What will look best on camera but won’t be too distracting for viewers at home?
  10. Most phones and recording devices have the ability to create 360-degree images. This enables potential buyers to get a sense of the space without being physically present in it. Adding a 360-degree image to the static video option may be something to consider.
  11. Schedule a day where potential buyers can view your property through a virtual tour. This will give them more value for their time and money. The buyer can save time by seeing multiple properties in one day.

What to Do After the Virtual Open House

Although it may be more difficult to generate interest virtually, it is still possible to see a return on investment from hosting a virtual open house. The following are some tips to make follow-up more efficient.

Use the Virtual Record

The benefits of a virtual home tour include the ability to generate a list of potential buyers from the names and emails of attendees. Start by sending a thank you email to everyone who attended the open house virtually, Single Property Sites suggests sending thank you notes.

Provide Value

Another way to follow up with leads is to give viewers an option to receive future information on listings. The author is trying to get the reader to follow their social media account. Make sure you follow our social media account to stay up to date on all the latest news!

Solicit Reviews

Many real estate agents are new to virtual open houses. You can humbly ask participants to rate and review their experience. This data can be used by real estate agents to improve future virtual home tours.

Ask for Feedback Live

While the virtual home tour is still going on, ask viewers for their feedback. Agents who respond in real-time have a chance to connect with potential buyers, which can help show their personality and build trust–both important factors in selling a home.

Present a Call to Action

Give viewers an incentive to stay in touch by offering something desirable. To grab a potential buyer’s attention, you can send them a brochure of the property details or follow up with them via email to answer any questions they may have. If you want your virtual open house to be successful, you need to build a connection with the attendees and stay in contact with them. Ask them questions about the homes they’ve seen to keep the conversation going, and you’ll eventually be able to ask the most important question: “Which home did you like best?