Showings in the time of COVID-19: How to Hold a Virtual Open House

Welcome to Spring 2020. We’re just at home, like, all the time. But what if you’re trying to sell your home in the middle of a global pandemic? There isn’t exactly a guidebook for how to handle this situation. It can be particularly challenging for homeowners how are trying to sell their home on their own — you don’t have the networking connections a real estate agent would to bring in new offers. Open houses and other showings are key.

The good news is that we are in the 21st century and there are ways to show a property while still practicing social distancing. You can safely lure in potential buyers. If you’re new to the ideal of a virtual open house, you’re not alone, so we’re here to help. Here are the top platforms for holding a virtual open house or a virtual private showing. You may just get an offer on your home during quarantine, yet!

Instagram Live

You’ll need a public Instagram account for this option, but you can always create a new account for the sole purpose of selling your home. Use the gallery to upload high-quality still photos of your property, and answer questions in the comments. Then, when it’s time to do a showing, make use of the Live feature to give a more dynamic tour. As the name suggests, Instagram Live lets you stream in real time using your phone’s camera. Not on Instagram? The function of Facebook Live is almost identical.

Benefits of an Instagram Virtual Open House:

  • This option is totally free
  • You can add your Instagram Live video to your saved Stories, so people can continue to view the tour of rooms after you’re done going Live
  • This is a good option for reaching a wide audience
  • People can ask questions in real time, but only in written form, so you can pick and choose which to respond to

YouTube Live

Most people use YouTube for cute animal videos and random blooper reels. Did you know you can also go live on this platform? Because you can. YouTube Live is free; just keep in mind that you will need 1,000 subscribers and a verified phone number to start streaming on a mobile device. Because of the subscriber requirement, YouTube live streaming is a more ideal option if you are working with a real estate broker or agency that has built a significant channel already.

Benefits of a YouTube Virtual Open House:

  • You may reach a large audience, especially on a well-established realty channel
  • It’s free to live stream
  • You have the option to live stream over either webcam or mobile app w/camera access

Google Hangouts

Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are good for reaching a lot of people at once. Streaming a tour while you talk and receive written questions let’s you maintain control of the open house. If you want to conduct a private showing, an app like Google Hangouts might be better. This app lets you talk to the person you’re showing around the home via camera. Google Hangouts are free to use; you just need a GMail account and the app on your phone. You can also add an extension to your web browser on a laptop.

Benefits of a Google Hangout Virtual Home Showing:

  • You can talk to the people you’re streaming to
  • Multiple people can log in using the same Hangout link
  • Whoever is talking is featured on the screen, so viewers see your images loud and clear while you speak

Zoom Meetings

Zoom, like Google Hangouts, is good for small groups when you want to talk face to face to the people you’re streaming your virtual tour to. Zoom lets you see every call participant on the same screen, so you’ll want to limit the participants involved — or your own square will shrink. You can include multiple people on your call for free, but you only get 40 minutes to stream with the gratis plan. You may want to go with a paid plan if you want to conduct longer, more detailed Zoom showings followed by a Q&A.

Benefits of a Zoom Virtual Private Showing:

  • Zoom has great video quality and is a trusted video platform
  • You can talk face to face with multiple participants in different locations, like a potential buyer and their agent
  • You can sign up with any email address

Overwhelmed with trying to sell during quarantine? Let us help! We can come (safely) tour your home or take a virtual tour. If we decide to purchase your property, we may close as fast as one week.

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