Are open houses still important/relevant?
In short: Yes! Open houses are very much important for realtors, specifically listing agents. Though times have changed, traditional and new methods are still proving open houses are an effective tool in real estate. In fact, 30% of buyers in higher price points go to open houses to decide which property to put an offer on that very weekend. Some evergreen benefits of open houses include direct contact with prospective buyers, the ability to gauge market interest, the opportunity to meet prospective clients, establishing a presence as a neighborhood expert, and faster receipt of offers. For the higher price point and remodeled properties, spending a few hours for a weekend open house can be very fruitful.
How does covid-19 affect open houses?
Covid-19 has not decreased the frequency of open houses, but has, however, changed their structure. Open houses today are a less crowded affair as safety guidelines are a top priority in every social setting. It is now common practice to allow one party inside the property at a time, offer hand sanitizer upon entry and require masks of all attendees.
Although it does make for a time-crunch event, it allows the listing agent to have one-on-one contact with each prospective party. This is a great way to answer direct questions as well as gauge each party’s interest and whether to expect an offer. Additionally, the waiting period and inevitable line created outside of the property indirectly builds a competitive atmosphere between prospective buyers. These prospective buyers may be more inclined to send in attractive offers to snuff out their competition if they really want to purchase the property. This is a win-win scenario for you AND your client. Although open houses have not stopped, the number of private showings has increased.
What are alternatives to hosting an open house during covid-19?
Covid-19 has caused concern for personal health and safety and therefore, may not attract every prospective buyer. This has, however, caused an increase in alternative methods to showcase properties to buyers.
Live streaming, for example, has become popular. Viewers are able to participate and engage with listing agents from the comfort of their homes in real-time. The best part is live streaming is available on many widely used social media apps such as Instagram and Facebook, making it super accessible and easy to use. The ability to draw in more viewers by advertising days in advance, making these streams consistent and scheduled takes things up a notch. Live streaming will enable listing agents to reach prospective buyers that may not be physically able to visit the property. The wider the audience, the higher the potential for a quicker, attractive offer.
Virtual tours have also become increasingly popular as an alternative to open houses. This method is less interactive and requires more work however, it does have the benefit of utilizing social media to promote it. In this alternative, you film a walkthrough of the subject property with as much content as you’d like. You can include voice narration, descriptive on-screen captions, and background music when editing the video.
Elements that you’d want to incorporate for this are:
Staging. Help your audience visualize themselves in that space
Be descriptive. Include relevant and concise info that would cover basics yet keep it simple. Leave room for inquiries.
Lighting/ Camera Quality. Make sure areas are well lit for video ensuring optimal quality.
By simply adding the final video on your social media page as a post, reel, or story, you can reach your entire network and beyond. The video can also be posted on sites such as Zillow and Redfin to allow other prospective buyers outside of your network to see the property at their convenience.
Lastly, three-dimensional property scans are an alternative to open houses. Formally called 3D rendering, this method uses three-dimensional software to make high-resolution two-dimensional images. The three-dimensional rendering has interactive components to allow viewers to digitally “walk through” rooms at their own pace and see stills of the interior. This alternative, however, may require a professional.
Covid-19 Open House Tips
If you decide to host an in-person open house, make sure to follow CDC guidelines and local ordinances in order to keep everyone safe.
Here are some Open House tips to help stay within those guidelines.
Require masks and have extra masks available.
Ensure all lights are already on and doors are open/ajar.
If the property is occupied, offer shoe covers and gloves.
Have a handheld thermometer and screen guests for covid symptoms before entering the property.
Limit the number of people inside the property at a time and ensure social distancing of six feet is upheld.
Have guests use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before entry.
Did we miss any tips? Share your open house tips with us in the comments!
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