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Real Estate Marketing

Virtual Open House: Wow Your Audience and Generate Leads with These Tips

A successful open house is essential for selling or leasing property, but in-person attendance isn't always feasible. Thankfully, virtual open houses have emerged as an effective solution, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, in 2020, 63% of buyers made offers on homes they hadn't seen in person.

In this guide, we will explore the concept of virtual open houses, their advantages, and how to host them effectively. From choosing the right platform and leveraging social media for advertising, to conducting trial runs and enhancing video production, we'll cover all the tips you need for a successful virtual open house. We'll also discuss the benefits of 360 panoramas and 3D home tours, hosting multiple tours, and the importance of expressing gratitude and following up with potential buyers. By implementing these strategies, you can expand your reach, save time and energy, and maximize the success of your virtual open houses in the real estate market.

What is a Virtual Open House?

A virtual open house offers a unique experience that closely resembles an in-person event, with the only difference being the participation of attendees through a screen. This format has become popular, not only for real estate agents but also in various fields like campus tours for prospective students, providing an opportunity to connect with current students and gain insights into campus life before enrollment.

In the context of real estate, a virtual open house involves leveraging video conferencing tools or specialized real estate software to conduct a comprehensive on-screen property walkthrough. This interactive session allows potential buyers to explore the property virtually and have their questions answered in real-time, providing a convenient and immersive experience.

There are two primary types of virtual open houses: live and pre-recorded. Pre-recorded open houses enable agents to film the property in advance, providing the flexibility to host the event from any location, such as their home or office. On the other hand, live open houses are broadcasted in real-time, allowing potential buyers to join virtually and engage with the agent during the tour, creating a dynamic and interactive experience.

Advantages of a Virtual Open House

1. Expand Your Reach

Virtual open houses have evolved to cater not only to local attendees who visit the property in person but also to a broader audience. By hosting open houses online, the reach of your videos expands beyond the constraints of time and physical space. Word-of-mouth promotion extends beyond traditional means as a simple link can be easily shared, creating additional opportunities for engagement and showcasing the property to a wider audience. The flexibility and accessibility of virtual open houses enable increased visibility and the potential to attract interested buyers who may not have been able to attend in-person events.

2. Convenient

Virtual tours offer a time-saving solution for both sellers and buyers, eliminating the need for travel and scheduling coordination. With virtual tours, individuals can conveniently explore properties without physically visiting them, resulting in a more convenient process. The added benefit is that virtual tours remain accessible until the property is sold, allowing potential buyers to revisit and review the property's features whenever they need to. This flexibility and accessibility provided by virtual tours streamline the home-buying experience and accommodate the convenience of all parties involved.

3. Save Your Time and Energy

In terms of time-saving, incorporating a prerecorded walk-through of a home can be highly beneficial as it eliminates the need to repeatedly deliver the same pitch to multiple prospects. By leveraging this approach, you can break free from the monotony of repeating the same information and utilize the saved time for other valuable tasks. With the extra time on hand, you can focus on expanding your marketing efforts, following up on leads, or conducting research on new listings. This efficient use of time allows you to enhance your productivity and maximize your potential in the real estate market.

Tips for a Successful Virtual Open House

Planning Stage

1. Choose The Best Platform For Your Event

Real estate agents are aware that video conferencing for virtual open houses can have its challenges. Selecting the right platform to effectively reach the target audience is vital for a successful event. There are different approaches to consider, such as hiring a videographer to create a professionally produced video tour, or conducting a live virtual tour using a cell phone and a video streaming platform like Facebook Live. The latter option allows viewers to interact in real time, enhancing engagement. It is important to thoroughly research and explore the available options to determine which approach would be the most suitable for both the agent and potential buyers before announcing the date for the home tour. Taking the time to make an informed decision can greatly contribute to the success and effectiveness of the virtual open house.

2. Utilize Social Media And Email For Effective Advertising

Similar to promoting an in-person open house, dedicating time and resources to advertising your virtual open house is essential. Implementing effective social media marketing strategies and utilizing email campaigns can help drive traffic and generate interest in your event. Through social media platforms, you can leverage engaging content, enticing visuals, and compelling messaging to capture the attention of your target audience and encourage them to attend your virtual open house.

Embracing a call-to-action, such as RSVPing, unlocks valuable opportunities for gathering attendee information and harnessing powerful communication channels. Implementing this approach empowers you to send push notifications, set calendar reminders, and dispatch additional timely emails to serve as reminders leading up to the event. This not only helps increase attendance but also allows you to adequately prepare for the number of participants and ensure a smooth and engaging virtual experience for all.

3. Do A Dry Run And Get Valuable Feedback For Improvement

To ensure thorough preparation for your tour, it is crucial to conduct a trial run with your team members, testing the viewing experience on different platforms such as computers, browsers, and mobile devices. This step allows you to verify that your presentation is polished and your software functions seamlessly across various platforms.

Following the trial run, it is essential to gather feedback from your team members. Engage in a discussion to evaluate what aspects worked well and what didn't, including any technical issues that arose. Additionally, it is advisable to strategize for potential challenges, such as poor internet access in specific areas of the property (e.g., the garage or elevator) or accommodating late arrivals by planning when to revisit certain sections of the property.

By conducting a trial run, seeking feedback, and devising contingency plans, you can ensure a smooth and successful tour experience, addressing any issues proactively and maximizing the effectiveness of your presentation.

4. Prep Your Property

Ensuring your property is in excellent condition is a crucial step before incorporating any form of imagery into your listing. Whether you're capturing photographs, shooting videos, or conducting a virtual open house, it's essential to present a clean and tidy space. Adequate lighting plays a vital role, so make sure to open windows and allow as much natural light as possible to illuminate the area.

If you have the resources available, consider staging the property for an open house. This can greatly assist potential renters or buyers in visualizing themselves in the space and gauging the available room for furniture and personal belongings. Adding small touches such as towels, plants, and even stock photos can inject life into the environment, helping renters envision themselves residing in the property more easily. These subtle enhancements can make a significant impact and contribute to a positive perception of the space.

Equipment Check

5. Enhance your Video Production

To ensure success in virtual tours, it is advisable to consider upgrading your camera equipment. Investing in the best camera for virtual tours is crucial for capturing high-quality visuals that leave a lasting impression.

Additionally, optimizing lighting conditions and utilizing a tripod can greatly enhance the overall professionalism of your virtual open house.

If you wish to expand your reach and simultaneously stream to multiple platforms, employing a multi-stream switchboard can prove invaluable.

Execution Stage

6. Utilize 360 Panoramas And 3D Home Tours

Imagine having the equivalent of Google Street View, but specifically designed for exploring the interior of a home. Real estate 3D tours offer 3D representations that allow viewers to navigate through the space, clicking their way down hallways, entering rooms, and seamlessly transitioning between floors, all at their own pace.

The beauty of these virtual tours lies in the viewer's ability to choose their own path as they explore the home, creating a natural and personalized experience. This freedom enables potential buyers to envision themselves living in the space, as they can navigate through every part of every room. With the ability to zoom in and out, viewers can closely examine specific features and details of each room, enhancing their understanding of the property.

To create such virtual tours, you will need a 3D or 360° spherical camera capable of capturing the space and converting it into an interactive 3D model. Alternatively, you can enlist the services of a professional to handle the capture process for you. It's important to note that utilizing this technology requires a learning curve, as it involves mastering the necessary equipment and techniques, which can be more involved compared to simply using a smartphone.

7. Consider Hosting Multiple Tours Throughout The Day

Virtual open houses have revolutionized the house-hunting process, offering unparalleled convenience for buyers and renters. However, it's essential to acknowledge that not every potential viewer will be able to attend a single event. To maximize reach and accommodate diverse schedules, consider scheduling multiple sessions throughout the day, allowing for broader participation. Additionally, leveraging streaming platforms that enable simultaneous broadcasting to multiple sites can further expand your audience, ensuring a wider net is cast and increasing the chances of attracting interested individuals. By embracing these strategies, virtual open houses can effectively cater to a larger audience and enhance the overall success of the event.

Post Execution

8. Express Gratitude and Take Follow-ups

While showcasing a property, it's important to recognize that not every property will suit every buyer, and in the end, only one buyer will secure the house. Therefore, when potential buyers sign up for the event, offer them the opportunity to receive information about future listings. Additionally, consider including this option again in a well-crafted follow-up email after the event. It's crucial to convey gratitude for the buyers' time and interest in the property. Sending a thoughtful thank-you email following the event, along with providing contact information, allows buyers to reach out with any further inquiries or concerns they may have. By maintaining open communication and demonstrating appreciation, you foster a positive and lasting impression with potential buyers.

Final Thoughts

Virtual open houses are a great way to showcase your property and attract potential buyers. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your virtual open house stands out from the competition and generates leads for your business. Remember to focus on creating an immersive experience for your audience, utilize technology to your advantage, and showcase your property's unique features. With these strategies in place, you'll be sure to impress potential buyers and generate interest in your property. So why wait? Start planning your next virtual open house today and see the results for yourself!

Rahul Agrawal

Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Styldod

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