Real estate agents have successfully been throwing open houses for decades, but virtual open houses are a different ball game. The freedom of the internet allows you to be more flexible, and creative with your showing. Which can lead to amazing results, without inconveniencing your clients. It can be hard to know where exactly to start though. So, we have prepared some easy guidelines for you to follow. Who knows, with some practice virtual open houses could become your new favorite marketing tactic.
Pick Your Platform
You have two primary options when it comes to recording your virtual open house. Each one offers great benefits, so it may even be worth it to do both for your listings.
You must have a smartphone or high quality video camera regardless of which you choose to do. A smartphone would be more convenient because it allows you to directly connect to, or upload to, the online platform needed to share your open house.
Interactive, or live virtual open houses can be hosted on social media sites like Facebook, or on conferencing platforms like Google Hangouts or Zoom. The fact that these are done in real time, and allow potential buyers to comment and ask questions in the moment, makes them the closest to traditional open houses. Buyers love the interactive aspect of these tours, but if you are not well rehearsed and comfortable on video, you can easily have complications or fumbles.
This method also allows for easy lead capture. For potential buyers to access the open house you will need to provide them with a code or invite. You then know that everyone you provided access to the open house is interested, and you can reach out to them at a later date.
These videos can be filmed ahead of time, allowing you to practice, re-film, and edit as much as you want. Once you have your open house filmed perfectly you can then upload the recording to Youtube, Facebook, or your website. Obviously this approach will let you have more control over how your showing goes, and for agents who are inexperienced in front of a camera this is a good way to get used to it. The downfall is that buyers will not be able to ask questions and comment in real time. Leaving you to address any concerns they may have later.
Regardless of the platform you decide to use to film and post your video, practice is essential. Here are a few tips to help you get your video flawless:
- ALWAYS film with the camera horizontal. Filming vertically will not fill the screen when someone views it on their computer.
- Outline your talking points. Outlining your points will ensure you don’t forget anything, and give you a reference if you get stuck during filming.
- Do a full run-through, and record it. Practicing a couple times as if you are truly giving the virtual open house will help you feel more confident, and comfortable when it actually comes time to film. Make sure you get out your camera during these run-throughs though. When the camera comes out it makes many people uncomfortable, so you will want to get used to talking to it before it comes time to actually make your video. Having a recording of your practice runs will also let you go back and see what you liked and didn’t like. Allowing you to make adjustments before you are ready to really go for it.
- Test your tech. If you are planning to go live, you will want to ensure all of your technology is working properly. So, do a test open house using your chosen platform and have a friend watching the stream to make sure the sound, lighting, and camera angle are all good.
- Provide your name, phone number, and email address at the end. This may be a given, but it is crucial you don’t forget it. How is anyone supposed to contact you about their interest if they don’t have your contact information? So, always make it easily found, and accessible.
This is the aspect of virtual open houses that is not much different than traditional ones. You will want to promote your showing as much as possible on all your go-to outlets. Make a social media graphic, post in community Facebook groups, and call up any leads you think would be interested. Get the word out any and every way you know how.
The Big Day
Once you have finally made it to the day of your live virtual open house, or the day you got all dressed up to record it, there are a couple things you will want to keep in mind.
- Prepare the home. Make sure all blinds are open, lamps and lights are on, and all the doors are open. You don’t want to be fumbling trying to do these things as you are filming.
- Start from the curb. Everyone will want to see the front yard and street view of the house, so be sure to show them that.
- Introduce yourself. Tell everyone your name, thank them for watching, and encourage comments and questions.
- Avoid sounding scripted. That’s what practicing is for! You want to sound natural when presenting the house, not like your giving your viewers a scripted sales pitch.