With the surge in the virtual world that began in March and shows no signs of relenting, the real estate market has seen some drastic changes recently. Whether you are trying to reach buyers that are uncomfortable going out, been quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure, or can’t travel due to restrictions, virtual open houses can be a great tool. Likewise, if you are representing the seller, they will likely appreciate you providing exposure to their home while limiting the number of people that physically visit their home. There are definitely some benefits to virtual houses but like anything, if you are going to do it, do it well. Follow these five steps to make sure your virtual open house earns maximum exposure.
- Plan for it. The planning may be different but just like any open house, you must plan for it. The house should be well-staged, clean, and inviting. Ditch the refreshments and put time into simple staging like setting the dining room table or adding flowers in different rooms. Make sure the owners and pets can be away for the day. With fewer places open for them to go, this may present a challenge for some but even if they just go for a drive or to pick up their latest grocery order, that will allow you to hold an open house.
- Market the virtual open house like you always would. Many websites and MLS platforms have updated their software to allow information on virtual open houses. Take advantage of this option and share the information there. Make sure you also post it on social media and reach out to your database to make them aware of it too. Encourage your sellers to share your social media posts with their followers as well. If the neighborhood offers a Facebook page or group, that is another great place to post the information.
- Practice with your technology. If you know what to expect when presenting the home, you will be more comfortable. There is nothing worse than going through an entire open house to find out it didn’t work. Do a couple of quick test runs then watch yourself so you can make adjustments to your delivery and make sure you are easily understood and people are able to follow your remarks.
- Make notes for each room and part of the house in advance and write them down. No, you shouldn’t read from a script during your tour but the act of writing them down will help you remember the things you want to mention. You will want to share important details about the home with potential buyers so make sure you are telling them the things they can’t see. Don’t overlook spaces like closets and make sure to highlight recent updates as well.
- Don’t stop after the open house. Just like following up with buyers after a traditional open house, make sure you do the same thing now. Answer questions from buyers if they have any and make sure you share the tour with anyone that didn’t participate in the live viewing. Post the tour to your social media accounts if it wasn’t hosted there so others can view it. For a few dollars a day, you may consider boosting your post to expose it to more people. After you put the work in, you will want to reach as many people as you can.
It’s too early to say if all of the recent virtual changes will stick around for the long haul but while they are here, it’s important to use the tools correctly and to the full extent if you want them to benefit your business as much as possible.
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