Hosting a live virtual event can be a smart marketing move. By using technology to show houses—and promoting the event properly—you can reach more buyers and reduce the number of in-person showings. These tips can help you do virtual open houses right. (Read about one agent’s debut event here.)
- Pick your platform. You have plenty of choices: social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, online conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts, or newer platforms from firms like the Delta Media Group that can integrate directly with MLS feeds. Some videoconferencing tools let you broadcast simultaneously to multiple channels. For example, stream a Zoom event on Facebook Live or YouTube.
- Promote it. Schedule your virtual open house through Eventbrite or another online calendar tool that registers guests and provides automated reminders. Promote the event by alerting your sphere through email, informing your brokerage, and posting a notice on the MLS listing. Use social media to spread the word, too. Consider boosting a post on your Instagram business page for more exposure.
- Get the right gear. Keep it simple; a smartphone is fine for recording. Shoot it yourself or ask a peer. But invest in a stabilizer, like a gimbal or selfie stick, to keep your camera steady. To improve your lighting, consider attaching a ring light to the top of your phone or tablet. For better audio, a lavalier mic can plug directly into your smartphone and clip onto your lapel so your audience can hear you clearly
- Show off the home. Before you start, open all doors and turn on lights. Greet online visitors outside—slowly panning from left to right to show off the home’s exterior. Give brief introductions about yourself, the neighborhood, and the home. Then head inside. Focus on key areas: kitchen, living room, master suite, and backyard, and highlight any upgrades, attractive finishes, and notable closet space. Be sure owners have removed medications, jewelry, and other valuables from the camera’s view.
- Engage and partner up. If a chat room is available, monitor it and encourage questions. Pause throughout the tour to respond. Have a mortgage lender or title rep join you live to respond to questions, or conference them in remotely during the tour.
- Encore. Because some viewers will log in late, repeat the tour once or twice during the hour to accommodate visitors coming and going.
Sources: Mark Pessin, Realty One Group; Nancy Shear, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty