Tools, Tricks, and Tips for Showing Homes during COVID-19 and Beyond
Opportunities for Residential Realtors Now
The initial fears for residential real estate during this time looked grim. Still, we’ve been encouraged by a recent flash poll from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Though fewer people are looking for homes, interested buyers are moving much more quickly.
Realtors are always well-served when they understand how today’s trends could affect future habits – behavioral changes will be lasting. We can learn from this crisis, emerging stronger and wiser.
Additionally, many of us have begun to realize how much time we can save (and convenience we can gain) through video and teleconference. Future clients will remember this moment, so it behooves us all to learn how to leverage this technology fully.
In this article, we’ll talk about:
- What a virtual showing is
- How to plan your online performance
- How to convert your skills as a realtor to the role of movie director
- What gear will make your showing more enjoyable
- How to leverage links, photos, and analytics to move people down the funnel
What is a virtual showing?
Virtual showings, in the broadest sense, are just those real estate showings viewed over an Internet connection. Whether through real-time video conferencing (like Zoom or Facebook Live) or merely posted to your website, it was already a growing trend.
The current situation, however, promises to thrust us more quickly into this inevitable future.
Besides—engaging videos on your website will keep viewers on your page longer, which is good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Open houses, which are hard work, can be conducted virtually and reduce the number of uninterested parties more quickly.
Virtual showings have always been great for out-of-town buyers. They have a leg up over photographs: They move, allow for interaction, and give you as the realtor the chance to control the experience from beginning to end.
When you have your next virtual showing, try these techniques for a smoother experience.
Plan Like a Filmmaker
There’s a lot more to a well-crafted virtual showing than opening up Facetime and walking around a house. Since you are the director, actor, and film crew, make sure you arrive early to set your equipment up, plan your shots, and rehearse.
Bring the Right Gear
These days, most smartphone cameras will work for a quality virtual showing. Though some people get fancy and buy expensive 3D cameras to provide a virtual-reality experience, there’s little need to do that for most properties.
Though Zoom has become the teleconferencing app of choice for many, it’s more about what works for your clients. For open houses, try going live to Facebook and encourage interaction. Just make sure that whoever you’re connecting with has access to the app you’re planning on using.
Besides your smartphone and the correct app, you’ll need to find a way to stabilize the shot. A jittery or crooked view of a home can be sick-making! A tripod with a level on it or (even better) a gimbal stabilizer will go a long way to improving the viewer’s experience.
Plan it out
In person, it’s easier to imagine what a space could look like with a little love. But over a video showing, you’ll have to work harder to set up the interior of the house for success. Clean out clutter, move furniture that blocks exceptional views, and find every point of interest.
Think like a movie’s “Director of Cinematography” and plan your shots ahead of time. You don’t have to go crazy, but view the home through your camera lens and make sure you know what you want to capture.
If you’re conducting a live open house via Facebook, YouTube, or Zoom, advertise your schedule. For Facebook, you can pre-schedule watch parties to attract attention in advance. Then, stick to your plan.
Before go-time, try a practice-run with another agent or friend who has a great eye. You’re in the moment and might miss something important, like a breathtaking view from the deck or a pile of clutter you forgot to clear away.
When it comes to the actual showing, hopefully you have the right gear, a stable Internet connection, and a plan of action. Start with the house’s façade, giving viewers a good look at the entire home—the property as a whole, if possible.
Try to show the house in such a way that would mimic the way buyers would experience an in-person showing. Walk them through the house naturally, and don’t get too creative with your cinematic filmmaking.
However, narration is good. Describe the grain of the wood floors, the texture of the walls, and the quality of the doors. If someone would want to reach out and touch a surface or fixture, do it on their behalf and tell them about it.
Finally, like any good filmmaker, know when enough is enough. Keep showings as short as possible without rushing through the best features. Think about your audience’s attention span and pace yourself accordingly.
Video is not a replacement for the rest of the assets you typically provide interested buyers. Make sure to follow up with good photos and a link to the listing on your website.
Then, make the video accessible for later viewing. Just imagine letting a potential buyer experience a house showing (as well as your pitch) over and over again!
If you post a virtual showing to Facebook or YouTube, elicit comments from your fans and friends. Let people know they can share it and ask lots of questions. Find out what the viewers think. They may have insights you haven’t yet discovered.
If you’re up to it, you can track analytics on videos, including click-throughs to your website. On Facebook, you can even monitor at what point in the video viewers tend to leave.
The more information you can gather, the easier it is to learn who’s genuinely interested so you can follow-up in the future.
What have you learned during COVID-19?
Many of us in the real estate business love people, and right now, you may feel disconnected from clients, colleagues, and business partners.
We miss seeing all of you at the office as well, and we’re looking forward to getting back together. But if you want to connect now, we’d love to find out how you’re doing, what your experiences are, and how you’re innovating during this challenging moment.