When open houses just won’t work, like in many areas of the world battling COVID-19 right now, it may come time to host a virtual show house instead.
After all, home buyers and sellers still need the expertise of a real estate agent to help guide them through available homes, as well as the rest of the home-buying and selling process, especially now during this unprecedented time.
“We encourage all RE/MAX agents to be ready to accommodate any situation thrown their way, including moving their show houses into the virtual space,” says Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
To combat the spread of this disease, open homes will soon take the form of Facebook Live tours. Events could be scheduled and a live walkthrough will be held by the homeowner through a virtual watch party.
Real estate agents will have to generate interest virtually just as they would for a normal open house. Digital marketing and e-flyers can help publicise the virtual event. Agents can also share the link to the event to their database of potential buyers.
Goslett highlights the importance of trial runs before the event. “Test that everything is running smoothly before the camera starts rolling on your live event. Potential buyers might exit the event if they see pixelated footage or a lagging connection. Agents will also need to properly explain to the homeowner how to conduct this tour, giving them tips on what features to highlight and what answers to give when the viewers raise questions. The real estate agent should be part of this virtual watch party to be able to help with answering questions as they arise.”
While a virtual open house solves the issue of showing the property without technically inviting anyone in, it can still be challenging for potential homebuyers to envision themselves living in the space. To overcome this, Goslett suggests that homeowners be as descriptive as possible while walking through the home.
“If a room features intricate features that might be missed (crown moulding, for example), be sure to call attention to it. Walk and pan slowly while describing the various features of the home, lingering on selling features like the granite countertops. At the same time, try not to get too creative with your camera angles. It’s important that buyers are given a realistic impression of the space, just as they would if they were there in person,” Goslett advises.
Finally, Goslett recommends that agents get creative to make sure they remain productive over this time. “If part of your sole mandate requirement is to hold show homes over the mandated period, speak to your sellers and let them know that virtual show days can be a viable alternative. Our priority is to keep everyone safe while continuing to deliver top-quality real estate services to all our clients. I, therefore, urge all sellers to be accommodative of our alternative solutions during these unprecedented times,” Goslett concludes.