5 Things You Need To Know About Virtual Open Houses

In this era of social distancing we Realtors can’t use some of the proven and tried techniques that were the common and accepted practice. The first weekend of open houses was a premier event in every home’s marketing campaign. It allowed us to welcome dozens, and sometimes hundreds of potential buyers to the property. But for the foreseeable future the open houses are banned due to the health safety concerns. What should we do? What can we do?

The answer is the virtual open house. Both REALTORS and consumers should try to get comfortable with this new way of doing business. Open houses were the best way to comparatively shop for homes. The buyers were able to see a few homes one after another, compare the feel for the spaces and experience the neighborhoods while navigating their way from one house to another. It was also common to mix with the curious neighbors at the open houses and listen to their stories about living next door.

The social distancing protocols made this type of events unacceptable and we see more and more sellers staging virtual open house events. These are 5 things you need to know about the virtual open houses:

  1. A virtual open house is an interactive online event that can be run on a variety of platforms. Sellers are using everything from Facebook Live to Google Hangouts to Zoom meetings. You, as a virtual open house visitor, should be able to view the presentation and get your questions about the property answered by people most familiar with it. At our virtual open houses, we use Zoom and can show property details not commonly visible in the picture and 3-D tours like interiors of the closets, water heaters or electric panels. We are here to help you learn all possible details about the property so please don’t hesitate to ask any questions.
  2. Virtual open houses will help you preview more properties without exposing yourself to the unnecessary fac-to-face contact. It will help you narrow down the selections of homes you would like to visit in person or even pick a home you want to buy. Yes, it is possible to buy a home without ever setting your foot inside.
  3. Finding information about the virtual open houses may difficult. Our Multiple Listings Service, or MLS, implemented a special field for listing times and URLs of the virtual open houses. Unfortunately, this information is not being properly syndicating to most commonly used web sites yet. The best source of the virtual open house info would be the MLS itself, check mlslistings.com or ask us to set you up with personalized alerts for listings you want to see.
  4. Virtual open houses are public events. We would recommend you limiting your questions to the details about the house for your own privacy. If you want to know more details, let’s schedule a private online session, an in-person property visit or just a phone call to discuss further private matters.
  5. Don’t feel pressured to be on-time at the beginning of the virtual open house. Pop in and out at any time, at least this is how we run ours. Plan your day, plan your questions and try to visit as many virtual open houses as possible so you can compare the homes side-by-side and choose your top pick.

Now let me kick it back to you – did you have a chance to attend a virtual open house yet? What did you like and what would you want us to do better? 

Before you make any big and costly decisions about your real estate needs, let’s have a conversation. We are focusing on keeping our clients safe – let’s talk on the phone or have a video conference, just like a virtual open house. We are looking forward to safely connecting with you!

-Elena & Michael

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