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What Is a Virtual Open House and How Do You Hold One?

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laptop and notepad on a table to plan a virtual open house

Social distancing has become the norm for just about every industry in the world in the past few years. The need to social distance has challenged the real estate industry to re-think how they conduct open houses.

How do you sell a house when you don’t feel comfortable having dozens of people walk through it with you? How can a real estate agent do their job if they want to stay safe? 

They hold a virtual open house. A virtual open house allows sellers to showcase the home to dozens and maybe hundreds of clients without ever shaking a single hand in person. 

By the time you finish reading this article, you will understand the benefits of a virtual open house and gain valuable tips for holding a virtual open house. 

What is a virtual open house?

A VR open house is a great way to bring top iBuyers to the property you’re selling regardless of their location. It works much like an in-person one with one exception. Your attendees view the house and interact with you through a screen. 

Once you’ve done your research to learn your home value, you can list your house through a realtor or on your own. Then you can set up a virtual open house quite simply so prospective buyers can see your home. 

Interested in your home’s current market value? Receive a free online home value estimate!

Real estate agents will use a video conferencing tool or specialized real estate software to walk through the property and answer potential buyer questions on the screen. They may do this either live or in a pre-recorded fashion. 

Pre-Recorded houses allow the seller and realtor to curate exactly what they’ll show on film. They can edit the film and then host the open house from any location with a good internet connection. So the realtor can sit in the comfort of their office or the seller can sit in the comfort of their home as they host the pre-recorded session. 

Live sessions take more work. With these sessions, the realtor or seller will walk through the property in real-time and answer questions as they conduct the walk-through. 

Why use a virtual open house?

You can use a virtual open house to sell just about any property. There are a few circumstances, though, where a virtual open house works especially well. 

There are two main types of virtual open houses: pre-recorded and live.

With a pre-recorded open house, the seller films the rooms of the house and the property. Then, when they host the open house, they show the event from the comfort of their home or office. 

If a seller hosts a live virtual open house, they conduct a live stream of the property. The potential buyers will watch the event live. Here are a few situations where a virtual open house makes sense: 

  • Multiple parties interested in the property
  • Out-of-state buyers who have shown interest
  • A high volume of searches online
  • Sellers that want to avoid foot traffic on the property

A virtual open house allows the seller and realtor to show the property to multiple people at once. It saves time and energy while maximizing the number of people who can see the property and ask questions about it. 

How to do a virtual open house tour

Virtual tours fulfill the same primary goal that in-person house tours have. They will attract interested buyers and close sales. The success of the virtual tour depends on the approach the seller uses as well as the technology they utilize. 

Here are the basic steps for conducting an open house tour. 

Pick the platform

You must choose whether you’re going to host your open house live or through a recorded video. The recorded video can happen with a professional videographer or something as simple as your own cellphone. With a recorded video, you control what people see, and you can highlight the most important parts of the house. 

Your clients won’t get the real-time feel from a video, though, and you cannot zoom into areas of the home that the client asks for.

With a live video, your potential buyers will interact more as they view the house in real-time. This platform allows for a more personalized experience as buyers can ask questions about what they see on their screens while the realtor or seller walks through the house. 

Technical problems can cause problems for a live video feed, though. So be prepared with some troubleshooting techniques if you plan on using this platform. 

Buy ad space

After you’ve decided which platform to use, advertise your event two weeks before you host it. This will give clients adequate time to RSVP and you adequate time to promote the event. 

Create a custom landing page for the open house. If you’re a realtor hosting several open houses, create a landing page for each one. Use social media to post a teaser snipper with the date of the open house. 

Prepare the property

In the same way that you’d prepare the property for an in-person open house, prepare the property for the virtual open house. Plan out the route for the open house, and take notes on what you want to draw attention to. Do not skip this step, as going off the cuff will lead you down a rabbit hole of information.

You want to use your time efficiently and keep your audience. 

Then practice a run-through to get your timing right. Practice close to the day that you will hold the open house, and practice multiple times. 

Stage the house by removing personal items and making the home look neutral. You want viewers to picture themselves in the home. Set up the lighting and test the sound to minimize live technical problems. 

Prepare for virtual open house day

The virtual open house is your chance to shine as a seller and realtor. So if you’ve done your work ahead of time like testing technical details and staging the house, you should be able to relax and just do your job. 

Get a good night’s sleep so you’re fresh for the day. Then arrive at the property early so you can set it up. Review your notes and conduct a final walk-through to make last-minute changes. 

Then smile and focus on making your potential buyers feel at home. Make sure you include the address of the property in the video. Focus on being yourself and letting your warmth come through the screen. 

Once the camera starts rolling, let your experience as a seller come through with your confident voice and smile. As the open house begins to close, leave time for buyers to ask questions. 

This is when you can get your buyers engaged and excited about the property. The better you feel and more confident you are, the more likely you are to score a buyer for the property. 

Some final tips

The industry experts succeed because they know the tricks of the trade. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for your open house. 

  • Recruit a friend or real estate associate to help you with tech setup
  • Highlight the outside of the house including the backyard
  • Highlight finishes, garage space, closet sizes, and any other essential selling points you’d note if you were in person
  • Keep the virtual open house to ten to twenty minutes
  • Keep recorded virtual open houses to around ten minutes
  • Think ahead about what questions clients may have if you’re going live

After you’re done with the virtual open house, save snippets of the videos you’ve made. Then post those on social media as well as your real estate website so clients can see the property in real-time. This way you’ll maximize your video for extra promotion. 

After the event

When the cameras stop rolling, it’s not quite time to pack up and go home. You still need to turn the open house into a sale. Here are a few things you can do. 

Reach out to all the potential buyers who viewed the open house. Pay attention to buyers who had questions and comments throughout the tour. Set up an appointment with these clients for more viewing, and do this while their interest is on the property. 

Prepare a package of information that you can share via email or text when a potential buyer asks for it. This should include home specs as well as a link to the pre-recorded tour along with a high-quality picture. 

Follow up on all leads. Most real estate deals don’t happen with a single interaction but rather with a persistent realtor or seller that wants to work with their buyers. 

Real estate agents find their biggest successes through an open house. You can find the same success with a virtual open house. 

Go virtual, find success

A virtual open house gives you the opportunity to showcase a property to potential dozens of clients at once. It maximizes time through the power of technology. It also allows both buyers and sellers to distance themselves during a time when social distancing is necessary. 

Do you want to know the value of your home? Have you been thinking about selling your property? If so, contact us

Interested in your home’s current market value? Receive a free online home value estimate!

We can help you pinpoint the value of your property and get you started on the road to selling it today.

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