In response to COVID-19, BCREA and the Real Estate Council have urged REALTORS® to cease open houses and in-person showings. Contravening these recommendations leaves you, your clients, and your brokerage potentially liable, not to mention risking the health and safety of the greater public. Using services like Facebook (or Instagram) Live, REALTORS® can lean into technology, creating compelling, and more importantly, successful open houses.
Here are 8 Steps to Hosting a Successful Virtual Open House.
Ensure Compliance with Quickly Changing COVID-19 Guidelines
After receiving approval from your clients, next, ensure you double-check the most up-to-date COVID-19 guidelines including any special guidelines unique to Westmar Realty. Refer to COVID-19 Guidance for Real Estate Professionals a resource provided and updated by the RECBC.
Create an Event in Facebook
Though you can certainly spread the news of your intended open house through all of your social platforms (Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), you might find creating an ‘event’ through Facebook offers more prospective buyers the chance to learn about your open house. Choose a date and time with your target audience in mind. Where open houses were commonly hosted on weekend afternoons, changing times means varied days and times may be increasingly effective.
Before beginning your open house (and with the help of your seller), do a quick tidy-up if needed. Similar to a showing, make sure toilet seats are down, towels are folded, dishes are away, beds are made, etc. To keep things bright and airy, be sure to open blinds and turn on lights. Essentially, do whatever you can to ensure you present the property in the best way possible.
Prep Your Equipment
You’ll need your smartphone, wi-fi, and your charging cable. While you can use data for live-streaming, any data slow down will leave your live-stream choppy and distracting. Consider asking your Sellers for wi-fi access. A charging cable is a good idea (and best for just-in-case) in the event your phone’s battery reaches ultra-low levels.
Make Yourself Speaking Notes
Speaking points will help you keep focused and ensure you share everything you deem important in regards to the property. Consider sharing a little bit about the neighbourhood (your favourite amenities like parks, shops, and restaurants), details about the building and its amenities (in the case of a condo), your favourite property features, details like size and price, and recent comparable sales too. Finally, add a few personal or professional details (your name, your brokerage and your niche) to let your audience get to know you.
Walk Through the Property
Using your speaking notes, walk through the property. Consider starting your open house at the front entry or at the most compelling property feature. You might offer a bit of an intro before walking through the property. Describe and discuss the property similar to how you’d approach it during a showing or at a face-to-face open house. Outline finishing details, ceiling heights, window exposure, etc.
Leave Time for a Q&A
Before ending your live stream, consider taking questions from your audience. A Q&A offers the chance to learn what your audience wants to know identifying or clarifying anything they deem important.
End the Open House with a Call to Action
In addition to sharing how your audience can reach you, consider adding another call to action. You might suggest viewers like your video, share the video, visit your website, send you an email, etc.