Nailing the Virtual Open House – For Pandemic Times, and Far Beyond

For obvious reasons, agents everywhere are getting familiar with virtual open houses in a hurry. It’s a craft that certainly feels awkward at first, but we must adapt to serve clients and maintain our livelihoods. However, there could be real value in mastering virtual open houses long term, well beyond the grasp of the coronavirus. 


Virtual open houses enable you to reach hundreds of viewers who may not be able to make it to a physical open house, and provide a more shareable experience for viewers to send to others who may be interested. During this pandemic, many agents are seeing record viewership on virtual open houses. Some have gotten these views organically through their own networks, while others are reallocating or increasing their social media marketing spend to “boost” these posts. If you haven’t done that just yet, now is a great time to experiment with boosting your videos to take advantage of the captive market of buyers.


What are some of the best ways to put on a virtual open house? Preparation and execution are key. Promote the upcoming open house extensively, across multiple contact methods. Before going live, scope out the property and consider the setting and lighting in each room. You’ll want a live session that moves smoothly, but not too fast — remember to build in time to discuss non-visual attributes you’d normally discuss with guests such as nearby schools, amenities, and the neighborhood vibe in general (which is arguably even more important than ever to discuss, seeing as viewers won’t be seeing the neighborhood on their way in and out of the open house).


Make sure to engage with your audience throughout. Keep an eye on the comments for any questions — maybe someone wants a second look at the walk-in closet, or another viewer really wants to see the wine cellar. Addressing questions in real time not only removes a barrier between the client and you, but also allows them to feel a level of ownership over the experience, as if they were really in the room with you.


Another useful strategy can be to lay out talking points for each location in advance. It can be easy to forget a few specific aspects in a live video, so there’s nothing wrong with creating an outline in advance. Scripting the entire experience, however, can feel overly rehearsed and discourage engagement, as it feels like a lecture than a conversation. 


Speaking of which, one attribute buyers consistently resonate with is authenticity. No need for professional video editing services or effects, as making an overly enhanced video presentation probably wouldn’t translate as well as an authentic one. Just be prepared, professional, and yourself, and the virtual open house could be your oyster, both for now and many non-pandemic years to come.