According to the governor of Maryland’s executive order, it is still possible to host a residential showing, but not an open house. So what can you do to get people through the door?
You need to answer for yourself whether you should be working up close and personal with buyers and sellers right now. One option for staying in compliance with new coronavirus-related rules is to host a virtual open house.
A virtual open house is a live video walk-through or tour of a property at a designated date and time so that interested buyers can watch online rather than walk though a property in person. Offering to conduct virtual open houses may help you score a listing with a hesitant seller, and they are a great way to zero in on serious buyers and eliminate spectators, while also helping you identify new buyer leads.
They may even become a new way of doing things in the future so you consider trying it out.
Having hosted virtual open houses on Facebook, I wanted to offer some tips for conducting a live tour and helping buyers and sellers during the process. I hope these tips help you increase your productivity and service during this unusual era we are living through.
WHEN HOSTING A VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE:
1. Tie into the property’s Wi-Fi to not lose signal.
2. Decide whether you want a cameraperson there or whether you want to do it yourself: Another person means a potential exposure. There may also be costs associated with having a cameraperson.
3. If you hold the camera yourself, carry it at your eye level with a bent arm close to your body so you are relaxed and people can see the property as you see it. Walk slow and steady to prevent the camera from shaking.
4. Do a dry run: Practice your walk-through and pick out highlights you want to discuss before you host the open house so that you don’t have a lot of filler words like “um” and “err.”
5. Create a “card” or “end plate” with your name, phone number, and website on it so that people can follow up with you. Display it at the beginning and end of the broadcast.
6. Go to the bathroom before you arrive at the property (and wash your hands afterward!) 😊
7. Record and repost the video as soon as it’s over and on a weekly basis.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WITH SELLERS HOSTING A VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE
1. Ask the seller beforehand what they like most about the house, for instance, convenience, privacy, traffic, so you have information to share with prospective buyers.
2. Have the seller wipe down all the door knobs and disinfect before you arrive. Only touch the front door knob and clean it before you leave.
3. Make sure all lights are turned on and doors, including closet doors, are open so that you don’t touch anything or slow down the tour. Put away items they do not wish people to see.
4. Ask the seller whether they are comfortable letting in someone who shows up unexpectedly to the “virtual” open house? Let the seller know you may call during the showing if someone comes to the property to repeat and verify in front of the prospective buyer whether it’s OK for them to enter.
5. If they are OK with a live walk-through, remind them to disinfect the door handles afterward (even though you will do that for them before you leave).
6. After the virtual open house, give them a summary of the number of people who viewed the event and any comments or feedback.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WITH BUYERS ATTENDING A VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE
1. It’s VIRTUAL! Make that clear in all your advertising and promotions. They are being asked to watch the tour online. Tell them to make an appointment with their agent if they like the property. If they don’t have an agent, ask them to privately message you their information if they want to learn more or see other properties.
2. Provide property highlights in the event announcement, for example, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age of the home and roof. Repeat them during the tour.
3. Ask viewers to add comments and questions about mechanicals or appliance ages, etc., in the comments section of the event. You will not have time or may not be able to see the questions during a walk-through so tell viewers that you will provide answers afterward in an email. Remind them of your email address or tell them to privately message you. Provide answers to common questions on the tour replay post.
4. Ask buyers to write down what they like and dislike so they have a reminder of what they saw.
5. If buyers unexpectedly show up on site, call the seller in front of them to see if the seller is OK with a live showing. If the seller is OK with it, remind the buyer not to touch anything. Bring along sanitizer to offer them.
6. If more than one buyer shows up during an open house, make them wait outside or in their car and only show one buyer (or one group that is together) at a time.
Anything else you want to add? Contact me at Rob@talktorob.com or call 410-262-7396.