Article in Part By Rachel Burris

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Grow Your Business Faster With SELL THE DWELL Advertising...Know How To Shoot your Live Open House  

Open houses have long been an advantageous tool for generating buyer or renter interest and more and more agents are turning to new technology. Active Online Open Houses have been gaining a lot of traction especially post-pandemic giving real estate professionals the ability to market and show properties anytime. If you’re a real estate agent who hasn’t started to incorporate technology into your business model, now’s the time to start learning how.  A virtual tour is as close as you can come to an in-person showing. Real estate agents across the country are implementing this as an alternative to physical showings. Many home buyers, renters, and businesses are still shopping for residential or commercial property by utilizing virtual tours.

Although essential to any listing, photographs of properties have their limitations. They’re intended to entice buyers to view properties in person, but they can’t be expected to give consumers a clear grasp of the space as a whole. "You have to use your imagination to link the images together to understand the flow of the space. A virtual tour allows the home buyer to explore each room completely with 360° movement,” says Jerry Clum. “You can see each room from every angle and perspective. You can look down to see the flooring and up to see the ceiling. You can move through the space however you want. You are able to walk up and down the stairs and hallways, giving you a feel for the flow of a home.” Rosamaria Acuna with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services says; "Virtual tours are a great way to motivate a buyer to preview the property in person. The presentation in person is what always sold the property for me,” she says. “Now, we must adapt quickly to this new norm and present the properties, with authentic photography and video.”

While many professionals and non-professionals are starting to use advanced 3D virtual tour technology which Sell The Dwell offers their members, others don’t have the means to incorporate it. Sell The Dwell offers many ways to advertise open houses. The use of a cell phone or tablet isn’t complicated, and the cost is free to already have a smartphone video feature. While walking through the property, you can use the peer-to-peer video chat within our app to discuss many of the same issues and features as you would when doing a showing together. 

If you haven’t conducted a virtual tour in the past, you may be a bit nervous to try it out. But you don’t need to be a videographer to create something that’s useful for your potential customers. Of course, you may need a few takes or practice runs to get it right, but we’ve asked agents who’ve already gotten the knack of it to share their insights into how to create a strong virtual tour. Remember, virtual tours are all about overcoming the limitations of still photography and highlighting the flow of your properties. So, before you create your virtual tour, make sure you are familiar with the layout of the home and consider what information about the home buyers are unable to see from your listing photos. “Point out items that you can’t show in pictures,” says Natalie Alchadeff with HB Group. “The virtual tours should focus on layout, so the buyer has a feeling of what is it like to walk through a house.” Prior to the shooting, you should also prepare the property. Ensure that it's clean, and staged and that all lights are on. Plan the route your tour will take. “Have doors open before you start the video,” advises Nancy Brook, of Billings Best Real Estate. By opening doors ahead of time, you can eliminate those awkward moments of fumbling with doorknobs and create a more seamless video of the properties. To enhance the quality of your tour, be sure to clean your camera's lens and turn your phone to airplane mode. You don’t want calls or messages interrupting your footage.  Once you begin to film, it’s crucial that you act professionally and create a context for potential buyers or renters. “Start the video with you talking to the camera,” says Brook. “Make sure to show the outside of the house and the neighborhood at the start. Then, go inside and take your time. Open doors to closets, pantries, and utility rooms. Take videos from different angles in the living room, kitchen, and family room.” As you present rooms from different angles, slowly move the camera up and down to show off the homes’ fixtures, floors, and finishes. Make sure you describe everything the camera sees and highlight specific features that may be of interest to buyers/renters. There’s certainly a learning curve involved in creating virtual tours. The more practice you have, the better you get. However, there’s no need to fret over the quality of your first few virtual tours.

Many real estate professionals believe that virtual tours coupled with workers being remote will lead to more buyers and renters relocating and buying virtually. Frigan says, “I do suspect that on the rental side, you may see sight-unseen deals. Leases are happening virtually. And as of now, movers are considered essential staff, so as long as the building does not prohibit moving, the rentals are probably going to start happening.” Any method you can use to market and show your listings virtually will get potential customers’ attention. Your virtual tours may not lead to sight-unseen purchases, but they will motivate buyers and renters to come to view your properties once the nation is able to return to business as usual. 


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