Wondering how to do a virtual open house that will actually be successful? Contrary to popular belief, the real estate market is very hot right now in certain areas, with buyers getting into bidding wars without even stepping inside a house.
How do these sellers and realtors get these crazy offers from buyers without even physically showing a place?
They put on amazing virtual open houses. That is exactly how it is done.
There are a few crucial steps that can set you apart from others in your market. Luckily for us, the internet has become an invaluable selling tool in real estate — it’s a magical place where sellers and realtors can reach a wide audience online by having a virtual open house.
Now, people looking to relocate from around the world can instantly tour a home thousands of miles away. And it happens every day, too — buyers now make offers without even stepping foot into a property.
Given that, virtual open houses often attract more attendees than in-person events.
Savvy realtors are upping their game by posting online home tours to beef up their listings.
However, one thing’s for sure: dazzling buyers when there are millions of properties featured online can be tricky.
Here are seven important tips for sellers to host successful virtual open houses and seal the deal.
1. Generate Some Serious Social Media Buzz
Promotions for live virtual open houses should (ideally) start weeks in advance. OK, I know life gets in the way. But write engaging posts with pictures or short videos on each of your social media accounts (with some local hashtags sprinkled in) can help generate interest in a way that doesn’t cost you a dime.
Link to the official MLS listing for detailed property descriptions.
Create a Facebook event and invite local home hunters.
Inform LinkedIn real estate groups about your virtual open house.
Reach out to industry influencers with a huge online following. Customize a catchy, creative hashtag for your event on Twitter and Instagram. Send out email blasts and text reminders to quality leads.
You could even list your virtual tour in the newspaper.
Get people excited to watch your virtual open house.
2. Choose the Right Platform
There are two ways you can host a virtual open house: live or pre-recorded.
Posting already-filmed videos on virtual platforms like YouTube or Vimeo gives you the most control. You’ll be able to edit and cut tour segments to make the virtual open house flawless. However, the downside is that there’s no method of talking directly to interested buyers directly.
That’s why live virtual open houses typically have better outcomes.
Web conferencing platforms such as Facebook Live, Zoom, and Google Meet let you mimic real-life open houses more closely. Your audience can ask questions and get an immediate answer.
Play around with different apps to decide which works best for you.
3. Develop a Striking Staging Design
Virtual open houses won’t typically be as successful when a property looks messy and dirty.
Do some spring cleaning to spruce up cluttered areas.
Pack up personal items like family pictures and monogrammed pillows.
Repair any noticeably broken house fixtures. You can also replace them on the cheap (hello, IKEA!). Even budget light fixtures can look incredible at first glance.
Repaint dingy and brightly colored walls with pleasing warm tones.
Minimize your furniture layout to make rooms appear larger. Don’t forget to mow the lawn and weed the gardens for good exterior shots too.
If your home’s already empty, download virtual home staging software like iStaging or VisualStager. You’ll be able to add furnishings digitally for filmed open house tours.
4. Write a Descriptive Script
When hosting a virtual open house, you don’t want to sound robotic and unnatural. However, you don’t want to get camera shy and draw a blank live either.
Rehearse your walk-through and find unique features to highlight. Jot down a checklist of important points to mention.
Get specific with your descriptions. Don’t merely say “here’s the master bedroom.”
Talk about the dimensions, closet, en suite bath, flooring, and view. Discuss the features that your audience won’t see, such as central air conditioning and energy-efficient lighting. These bullet points will keep you on track while you let your personality shine.
5. Recruit a Camera Operator
Successful virtual open houses are at least a two-person job. Holding the camera and showing off the house won’t work. Unless your arms are abnormally long, people will mostly see just you.
So, recruit a family member or buddy to join your filming crew. Pick a tech-savvy person with a steady hand to record the open house.
What equipment should they use? Today’s smartphones and tablets have high-quality cameras that could work. For a more professional look, a DSLR camera or camcorder is suggested, though. Shooting HD video around 1280x720p will prevent blurriness. Have your camera operator record horizontally for a better viewing experience.
6. Set a Strategic Schedule
As a rule of thumb, virtual open houses usually last 15-20 minutes. Larger properties may need up to 30 minutes total.
Don’t film much longer, as people’s attention spans will likely run out. After all, nobody wants to watch a two-hour film saga about one house (well, maybe except us realtors)!
Break down your timeline into small segments like chapters. Leave enough time to thoroughly tour each part of the house and show the outside. At the end, host a Q&As section to respond to viewer questions.
So, what is the best time of day for virtual open houses?
As you could guess, this is an important one.
Daytime is recommended to brighten up your space. If you have ample lighting inside, consider scheduling two tours to show the house at day and night. Remember that more people tend to be available on weekends, too.
7. Practice Makes Perfect
When using any new technology, it’s normal to have some glitches along the way.
Snafus during live virtual open houses might turn potential buyers off, though.
So, it’s much better to run into those fun little glitches while practicing instead of the live version, right?
Ergo, do some practice rounds to iron out the wrinkles.
Have at least one trial run on camera to rehearse. Of course, I’d recommend practicing even more so that you’re totally confident! That way, you’ll feel completely prepared and at ease during the live version.
Your practice session will definitely help work out logistics you’ve likely overlooked, such as transitioning upstairs and opening doors. After the first draft, watch the video back. Double-check that the sound level is loud enough.
You could also invite a friend to try out a practice round with you.
Make certain the lighting casts the right glow.
Tweak camera angles that may be unflattering.
Doing several practice tours will increase your chances of a smooth virtual open house.
Virtual open houses allow you to welcome the whole internet through your front door. Online home tours are the perfect opportunity to drum up buyers’ interest. Show off your property from outside in.
Buyers respond well to video tours narrated by friendly, fun hosts. Associate a smiling face and engaging personality with your MLS listing. Be yourself and honest about your property’s features.
Also, to make full use of your work, save the video and post it online for more virtual traffic. Successful virtual open houses can lead to multiple offers at or above asking price.
So, now it’s over to you: use these tips to help create the ultimate online open house.
Do you have any other tips or tricks? Share them with us!open house