The Coronavirus pandemic compelled many businesses to adapt to virtual and digital platforms to ensure minimum disruption for their people and processes. As a result, we've seen a drastic rise in online stores, and people prefer making transactions from the comfort of their homes.
It's the same for the real estate sector. Gone are the days of open houses and house tours, as these happen online now. That's right, staging has gone virtual, and if you are a real estate agent that hasn't caught on, the chances are that you are missing out.
This recent paradigm shift has brought real estate agents a wealth of opportunities for marketing and promoting their properties.
A virtual open house is an online showing of a house where the real estate agent invites buyers to explore the property. They can ask real-time questions about the property and get a personalized virtual tour of the house.
The invitations can be sent out via email, social media, and newsletters. There are several benefits associated with virtual open houses. These include:
- Stand out on an online platform
- Offer greater convenience to your buyers
- Avoid instances of cancellation
- Get your property out in front of more potential buyers
- Eliminates buyers that are just window shopping
- Real estate agents can expect serious inquiries about the property
- Minimize showings by inviting everyone to a single showing
Virtual open houses are the future of real estate transactions. And there are several steps that you can follow to ensure a successful open house.
Let's find out how you can set up and execute a successful virtual open house and what needs to be done after the virtual tour is over.
Plan Your Open House
The first step is to choose the right method to host your virtual open house. There are two options to choose from. We will discuss each option in detail and the pros and cons associated with it.
Pros and Cons:
A live stream is one of the most interactive ways of conducting a virtual open house. This method allows users to ask questions in real-time and give the audience a personalized feel.
The one downfall of this method is the time schedule. A live stream is hosted at a fixed time and lasts until the tour is finished. This would mean that hosts might need to run more than one live stream to accommodate more potential buyers.
Pattern 1: Livestream from the property
This is the most widely used method where the agent hosts a live stream giving you a tour of the actual property in real-time. This method is much like the traditional method of an open house shifted online. However, this makes for an interactive session that allows buyers and agents to ask questions about the place.
Pattern 2: Sharing a virtual tour via online meetings
If live-streaming does not feel like something you want to be a part of, RICOH360 Tours might be the right solution for you. It allows real estate agents to easily create a virtual tour through their phones. This solution has some features that give a professional feel to your virtual tour. Moreover, these virtual tours can be shared on Zoom as a live stream format or a pre-recorded version that can easily be accessed.
The second option is creating a virtual open house posted as a pre-recorded video. If you go down the pre-recorded route, the potential buyer can watch the tour at any hour, making it easier and more convenient for them. Additionally, this allows buyers to watch the video as many times as they want and ask questions where they find it necessary.
Pros and Cons:
The lack of interaction is a setback when choosing this method over a live stream. The buyer can't ask questions in real-time, which will set off a chain of correspondence between the buyer and seller on specific queries, prolonging the time taken to close the deal.
While it is quite convenient, live stream offers a sense of personalization for the customer that can't be achieved through a pre-recorded video. You should bring together both aspects and create a virtual tour using solutions such as RICOH360 Tours and stream the live tour while offering answers to queries as they come in. This makes it easier for real estate agents to live stream. It will always be the same video, and you can keep the interaction flowing between you and your customer.
Advertise Your Open House
The next step is to make people aware of your open house. If the open house is virtual, the best way to market it would be through digital means. You can start by promoting the open house on your website, sending emails, and even promoting it on social media. According to Statista Research Department, 93% of potential homebuyers are looking for a new home online. This means that almost everyone is looking online to buy their new house. So using the same platform to invite these people to your virtual open house makes sense.
Certain aspects need to be addressed before diving into the live stream or creating the virtual tour. First, you need to prepare the property before you start a tour. There are a few steps that you can take to ensure onsite preparations.
- Clear the property and ensure that everything is clean and in place. The tour will cover everything, and it is essential to give an excellent impression to your buyers
- Check and recheck your presentation. If you are doing a live stream, it is vital to ensure that the presentation is correct. You do not get a second chance in these situations, and everything needs to be done perfectly
- Make sure you have all the sales points covered
- Ensure that you have a route that you are going to follow; a haphazard tour can give the wrong impression to your guests
- Walking around with the camera in your hand during a live stream can seem unprofessional, which is why it's good to have a professional cameraman
Once you have prepared onsite, there are a few things that you need to prepare offsite as well. For example, set up the camera for your live stream ahead of time. You also need to check every detail about the house and prepare answers for all the potential questions the guests might ask.
Preparing these questions can help you compose ahead of time for your guests and give a more professional feel to the virtual open house.
The Day Of The Tour
The most important day is here, and you need to do everything to make the day a success. If you have opted for the live stream route, ensure that you are at the property ahead of time. Do not make your guests wait. Reaching the venue before time can help you take care of some last-minute preparations that you might have missed.
You also need to ensure that the zoom meeting or live stream should start at the exact time you have specified. Finally, before you begin the tour, ensure that you have introduced yourself as well as the property. This means talking about the property and stating the address thoroughly. This is for the buyers who want to know the property's exact location for future reference.
After you have completed your tour, your next order of business is to contact all the guests you have invited and get a follow-up from them on their experience and any questions they might have. This follow-up can help you identify interested buyers and pursue them. It can also help you convert more people that were previously on the fence to consider the option of buying the house. Customers prefer an excellent experience, and several studies have shown that providing a good customer experience can help you close a deal efficiently.
Examples Of a Virtual Open House
Here are a few examples of how a virtual open house is done.
You can have a pre-recorded video wherein the host narrates a walkthrough in the house, talking about its facets that may appeal to the audience.
“VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE! 232 Auburn Glen Close SE”
by The REICH Team, RE/MAX Landan Real Estate
22 March 2020
The next video is a video tour. This one does not have a specific host but rather a voiceover explaining all the aspects of the house.
“557 Marksbury Road Pickering Open House Video Tour”
In the next video, a virtual tour is shared via an online meeting tool. A host can tour around the house without even being at the property, but it allows attendees to ask questions in real-time.
Customers prioritize convenience over everything else. Whether buying groceries or looking at interesting properties, they can now do everything online, and it's your responsibility to evolve with the times to facilitate your prospective clientele.
Streamline your processes, automate your systems, and set up a virtual open house to enhance profitability.
The good news is that there is a wealth of tools to help you speed up the digitization of your real estate agency. RICOH360 Tours has been a torch-bearer in this regard, allowing brands to easily create virtual open house tours to entice their customers and bring them in. RICOH360 Tours is designed with a specific purpose, and creating virtual tours has never been easier. Learn how RICOH360 Tours can help you simplify your next virtual tour.