In the current coronavirus climate, more realtors than ever before have been turning to virtual open houses as a means to advertise a property to prospective buyers.
It shouldn't have taken this pandemic for people to realize how worthwhile a virtual open house can be!
This option can provide opportunities for individuals or families to buy property without visiting the location, which in itself is a real advantage. But there are additional ways in which you can make the experience of a virtual open house even better for your future clients.
That's why we've listed 12 of the very best tips for performing open houses virtually. Follow these tips and you'll be a virtual open house veteran in no time!
1. Go Live or Film and Post Later
The first tip to bear in mind is whether or not you will be conducting your virtual open house live or filming it to be uploaded on your website. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Making the decision can be similar to deciding on live streaming or uploading for typical videos, but there are additional aspects to consider for virtual open houses.
With live open houses, you can encourage interactions from potential buyers. You can also see all potential buyers in one place at all times, which can give a good indication of the interest in a property.
But in going live there are more opportunities to mess up. Pre-recording can allow you to edit your video in post to maximize on showing off your property.
You should consider which of these are most important in showing off your property before you commit to filming.
2. Consider the Platform
Once you know whether you're going live or pre-recording, you need to decide what platform to use for your virtual house tour. This will be driven by your above decision, but there are some options.
With live videos, you could use Facebook video or the increasingly popular Zoom. Both will allow viewers to interact with your video as it happens.
For pre-recorded videos, you could upload it to YouTube which can then be embedded on your company website. You could also upload your pre-recorded video to multiple platforms, such as Facebook.
You should consider where your business receives the most interest, and look to schedule the virtual house viewing with that community.
3. Prep Your Property
When it comes to a house tour, preparation is crucial. This is equally true for virtual house viewings.
You need to make sure your property is clean and well-presented, just like you would with an ordinary viewing. The trick is not to overthink it; your house will look just as good when filmed as it does in real life.
Consider following similar guidance to photograph staging and your property will be ready to be viewed in no time. If you do need to renovate though, don't worry! Take a look at our previous post on how to renovate your property on a budget.
4. Designate Roles
With a virtual house tour, you need at least two people. One person should work as the host, similar to a traditional viewing, whereas the second can operate the camera.
The cameraperson's role is just as important as the host's in a virtual open house. It's your job to make sure the viewers see all the best parts of the property from all the right angles.
Acting as a host is something you'll be more familiar with, but it can be a bit different acting for a camera and not real people. That's why its vital to do a walk-through first!
Whether you're going live or pre-recording, you have to do a walk-through of your hosting before you film. This is particularly true for live videos where you don't get a second take!
Walking-through the virtual tour will allow your cameraperson to get accustomed to where they need to be at all times. It will also help your host get to grips with the layout of rooms and the process of hosting the virtual open house.
6. Have a Cheat Sheet
While you don't need to write out a whole script for what needs saying in a virtual open house, your host should carry a cheat sheet. This can be a quick list on their phone or a piece of paper that lists everything that must be mentioned in each room.
For a live video, this sheet can help remind the video host of information in case the pressure of a live stream has caused them to forget. Don't worry about looking unprofessional, as you won't! It's perfectly normal to look at notes during a virtual open house and your viewers won't mind.
They want to know everything possible about the property. If anything, having a sheet works to your advantage as there are just too many good talking points about the house to remember all of them!
7. Test Your Equipment
The last thing you want to do is schedule a live virtual tour, have hundreds waiting for the stream, then realize your equipment is faulty.
This is something that can be recognized in the walk-through section of your virtual open house. Equipment can and does fail to work at times, your job is to make sure it doesn't happen at the wrong time.
By testing, you're making sure the event can still go ahead as planned and don't risk losing buyers to failing equipment.
8. Turn on the Lights
When it comes to advertising a house through a virtual viewing, you need to have your lighting on point. This is especially true for a pre-recorded video, as you won't be told until after the video is uploaded that your viewers can't see parts of your property.
Turn on all the lights and open all the windows when you first arrive. That way, you won't forget to do so, and your property will look suitably illuminated when it comes to filming.
9. Film Horizontally
This is a fairly straightforward tip but one that you'd be surprised how many people forget. If you're using your phone to record your virtual open house, always make sure that you are filming horizontally.
This will allow for considerably more of the house to be in the camera shot and avoids the awkward cropping caused by vertical filming.
Make sure you lock your screen tilt also so that the view doesn't switch as you move around the property. A very simple tip, but an essential one when it comes to optimizing your virtual open house.
10. Take Your Time
It can be encouraging to speed through a property during a virtual open house, but that isn't what people are tuning in for. Often serious buyers need time to get accustomed to space and to understand all it has to offer.
As the host, you will need to have remembered a large number of talking points for each room. That way, you can continue to provide information as the cameraperson shows off the space and facilities.
11. Question and Answer
One of the most important parts of an open house is inviting questions from viewers after the tour. This is something that can and should still be done during a virtual open house.
You should allow time at the end of a live recording for questions, which can be sent directly in the video comments. Or, for a pre-recorded video you should allow for a comments section or a contact form so that viewers can ask any additional questions they have.
Do not forget this! If a potential buyer has a crucial question they don't think was answered in your video, and has no way of asking it, they will likely look elsewhere.
12. Treat It Like a Normal Open House
The most important thing to remember about virtual open houses is that you should treat them like an ordinary open house.
Cordially welcome your viewers at the start of the video, plan out your route of the house appropriately, and act exactly as you would on a regular house viewing.
This can put your viewers at ease and also ensures all the relevant information is being shared during the virtual open house itself. Once you stop overthinking it and start treating it like an ordinary viewing, the virtual equivalent can be an exciting and enjoyable way to advertise your property.
Use These Virtual Open House Tips Today
At Hommati, we have a technology-focused approach to advertising property which includes full 3D tours, virtual reality tours, drone videos, and more.
We work with the top real estate agents in the country to list and promote some of the finest properties on the market today.
If you want to know more about virtual open houses, or how Hommati can assist with advertising your property, you should contact us directly.