Although virtual home tours were already widely used even before the COVID-19 pandemic, they have become the go-to marketing method for many real estate agents and home sellers today, due to the increased safety and convenience they provide in this age of social distancing.
And while it may seem straightforward, it’s not as simple as moving from room to room with a smartphone in hand as you talk to viewers online. In case you’re new to hosting a virtual open house, here are several helpful tips for you to keep in mind:
Don’t forget to promote your virtual open house
Just like a conventional open house, make sure you promote your upcoming virtual open house ahead of time. Although you can count on your real estate agent to do most of the work when it comes to promoting, be sure to do your part as well by telling friends and family about it or sharing details on social media.
Choose the right platform
There are two main ways to host a virtual open house, both of which will require a smartphone camera or a digital video camera. The advantage of using a smartphone however, is that it can link directly to live streaming platforms. Here are the two different ways of hosting a virtual open house :
- Interactive virtual open house – This type of virtual open house can be hosted on social media platforms with live streaming, such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as digital meeting platforms such as Zoom, Facetime, and Google Hangouts. Since they’re conducted in real time, there’s natural engagement between prospective buyers and agents/sellers, which makes it the closest alternative to a conventional onsite open house.
- Static virtual tours – Static virtual tours are filmed and edited ahead of time and then uploaded to online platforms. While it does not have the real time aspect of an interactive tour, static virtual tours allow for a more strategic approach and a controlled environment that’s perfect for highlighting specific amenities and unique features.
Perform a dry run
Completing a dry run will help you avoid hiccups and other issues that might pop up during your tour.
If you’re planning an interactive virtual open house, plan a route that will help you highlight all of the unique features in your home. Be sure to outline talking points as well, and practice what you’re going to say during the tour.
Before the big day, test the platform you’re planning to use for your virtual tour, and have it recorded (most apps and programs have a built-in recording feature). Invite someone else to your test session, and ask them to note down any problems they might notice regarding lighting, sound, and other details. After your test run, watch the recorded version to see how everything looks, find out in case you missed anything, and look for ways to improve your virtual tour.