Property agents know that the key to a successful sale is often hosting an open house. Traditionally, open houses have been in-person events held at the property, and therefore subject to limited flexibility to cater to the busy combined schedules of owners, agents and prospective buyers alike.
In the virtual world, however, there is much more room for flexibility. By utilizing virtual home tours, agents can assist buyers who may not even be able to attend the property in person, such as in the event of relocating. Moving forward, providing virtual open house experiences is fast becoming instrumental in how real estate agents sell homes and generate leads.
So, if you are an agent thinking of making the switch to virtual, here are some top tips for hosting successful virtual home tours.
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Choose your method
Aside from choosing which platform to host your virtual tour through, there are two different ways to host an open house virtually:
Static video tours:
For convenience, these can be filmed ahead of time and uploaded at strategic times on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, or to landing pages on sites like Command.
- Pros: Pre-recording allows for more control over the final piece. It enables you to edit to perfection and highlight any desirable amenities or property features, even adding some flashy effects such as fade-in titles, transitions between shots, etc. For any agents lacking in camera confidence it also makes the process less stressful.
- Cons: Whilst secondary comments can open up discussions, pre-recorded video doesn’t allow for any real-time engagement with prospective buyers. This limits an agent’s ability to build rapport with buyers and answer any concerns as the tour progresses.
Live/Interactive virtual open house tours:
Hosted live by the agent, these interactive tours can be hosted on social media sites like instagram and Facebook, or via online conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Google Hangouts.
- Pros: The nature of live tours allows for real-time engagement with prospective buyers, the building of rapport and the opportunity to answer questions and concerns as they arise. It is the closest alternative to being face-to-face in a traditional open house setting.
- Cons: For agents that lack confidence or experience with being on camera, this option may cause stress or overwhelm to the agent, that could consequently lead to a lack of confidence in the buyers.
Promote your virtual open house
Regardless of whether you opt for live or pre-recorded, once you have decided on the platform you will host it through, Realtor Darren Robertson of Northern Virginia Home Pro says you’ll need to advertise it as if it were happening in-person: “Choose a time and date and let your clients know well in advance when the virtual event will be taking place and how to get connected with ease. Spread the world via multiple channels, too, using not only social media but emails, websites and other business platforms.”
Also, consider investing in affordable, yet highly effective lead generation and lead nurture products, such as those offered by Home ASAP. The real estate industry is bursting with over-priced lead generation services, but ours are priced to respect the value of each lead and allow you to effectively increase your audience without breaking the bank.
Preparation for virtual home tours
Practice makes perfect, as they say, and this couldn’t be more true than in the preparation for virtual home tours. Working through a couple of dry runs is essential to avoid unnecessary hiccups when it comes to the main event, especially, if you’re going live.”
Do a walk-through
Ensure that you familiarize yourself with the layout of the house, including any obstacles and special features, to make your tour as seamless as possible.
Prepare your talking points
Run through what you are planning to say on camera before recording or going live. You could also opt to have a list of prompts handy for live streaming – this may seem unprofessional, but thoroughness and preparation is key well over and above the memorization of points!
Pre-test your tech
If you plan on going live, connect and stream to your chosen platform before your open house event, and make sure that someone else watches it as you do. This enables you to get all the feedback you need regarding lighting, sound and any other logistics, and make the necessary changes ahead of time. You don’t want to be wasting precious time configuring your technical issues when you are live.
- Prior to the main event, monitor and respond to any social media commentary in a friendly, helpful and timely fashion
- Create a custom tag for the tour
- Send an email reminder out to everyone registered with clear instructions on how to attend
- Send a text reminder on the day
Tips for going live on the day
- Arrive early to set up
- Turn all of the property lights on and open all of the doors
- Begin your tour on the street to show viewers the whole property
- Introduce yourself, thank your viewers for joining you and encourage them to comment or ask any questions as you go
- Have fun! Speak to everyone just as you would if it were a face-to-face tour – keep it natural and lighthearted, and avoid sounding scripted
Extra tech tips
- Hold camera horizontally to give viewers a wider angle to see more of the property
- Consider recruiting a friend or colleague to film it for you, leaving you to move about freely as you host the tour
- Organise for team members to connect up and ask questions. This not only helps you with flow but encourages legitimate viewers to engage with you
- For more tips on selling homes online, we recommend this comprehensive article from Porch
If you are still unsure of how to approach going virtual, we have teamed up with Asteroom, who provide fast, easy and hig- quality 3D tours at affordable prices, so check out these services to explore all of your options. No matter which approach you take, make sure that you strategize in advance and prepare your content and your tech well for a professional, yet welcoming and enjoyable experience for your clients!