A Guide for Hosting Virtual Open Houses

By March 27, 2020COVID-19

Traditionally, real estate transactions are often rooted in a variety of in-person meetings and conversations to ensure clients are satisfied with their overall experience.  Recently, Real Estate has been deemed an essential service by the province of Ontario because there are thousands of transactions in Ontario that have not officially closed. While some may not require the help of a REALTOR® to close, others will.  REALTORS® are expected to adhere to advice provided by Public Health Officials during this time and use all the tools at their disposal to work with clients and close transactions remotely.

The Cambridge Association of REALTORS® is providing a quick guide to aid your transition into hosting virtual open houses in order to practice social distancing. Please contact your Brokerage to determine open house polices.

What Is A Virtual Open House?

A Virtual Open House is an online alternative to a traditional open house in which prospective buyers are able to conduct a walk-through of a property during a scheduled time. Instead, a virtual open house provides a LIVE walk-through of a property and is hosted by an online streaming service. Open houses provide an excellent opportunity for prospective buyers to learn more about a property they are interested in. Virtual open houses are strategic and contactless while allowing REALTORS® to open up conversations with a broad and dispersed audience and answer any questions the audience may have in real time.

Benefits of virtual open houses include: extended reach, it is device friendly, real time interaction, cost saving, helps capture leads, and promotes social distancing.

Getting Started: Choosing A Platform

There are many online streaming services available to host your virtual open house, but we recommend using a social platform you already actively use for simplicity. Popular platforms include Facebook LIVE, Instagram Live, and YouTube LIVE.

While you may choose to host a virtual open house on a platform of your choice, below are a few links with instructions and support provided by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Facebook Live Guide: Click Here

Instagram Live Guide: Click Here

YouTube Live Guide: Click Here

Promoting Your Virtual Open House

Promoting your virtual open house can be similar to how you promote a traditional open house. After picking a date and time for your event, it’s time to let your clients and the community know about it! Below are a few ways you can market your virtual open house:

  • The MLS® System – Add an open house to your listing remarks, indicating it’s a “Virtual Open House.”
  • Make an Announcement – Build anticipation by letting your audience know when you’ll be broadcasting.
  • Email Your Contact List – Send a direct email to your clients. This could be a good opportunity to check-in with them!
  • Social Media – Post about it on your social media pages. Examples include creating an event on Facebook (Learn How), create captivating posts, use images, etc. Remember to tell your followers the details and where they can find your live stream.

TIP: Check Your Signal – If you have a weak cellular or Wi-Fi signal, your live video will be choppy or unavailable. Ensure you have a strong signal before going live.

Engaging with Your Audience and Follow-Up

While you are conducting a virtual tour of the property, remember to monitor your screen for any incoming questions. Perhaps you can take a moment while in each room to answer any questions specific to that area.

Once your live house tour is wrapped, don’t end your live streaming session just yet. Go back through and respond to any comments you may have missed and set aside some time for a Q&A at the end of your video.

After your Virtual Open House, follow up with your viewers! Examples include sending a follow-up email to attendees or open up the conversation on social media.