Virtual Open Houses Finding a Home in Real Estate Marketing
Over the past few years, the value of virtual options for businesses of all types has skyrocketed, helping to keep large parts of the economy running during difficult times. However, in a post-pandemic world, virtual open houses continue to be a useful and unique tool in real estate marketing beyond just social distancing.
Open houses are a popular and effective strategy in the real estate industry, allowing multiple home buyers to view properties at the same time. While it is rare for a buyer to make an offer on a property without first touring it in person, virtual open houses have made the process more efficient by eliminating the impersonal, stressful, and staff-dependent nature of in-person open houses. With the help of 3D virtual tour technology, buyers can see a property in vivid detail, whether it is staged or empty, making virtual tours just as reliable as in-person tours.
When prospective home buyers are shopping for a house, they often line up several open house tours per day on weekends. While realtors try their best to keep them in close proximity in time and space, after the first 2 or 3, fatigue sets in, stress takes over, and the properties all begin to look alike, leaving buyers feeling frustrated and sellers unaccomplished. If a prospect does manage to see a house, a follow-up visit is usually necessary especially with couples when only one of the buyers has seen the property. Often times several additional visits are even requested to show parents, friends, or even business partners.
Choosing a home is probably the biggest decision one makes in their lifetime, so this is part of the natural process, and any real estate agent worth their salt understands this and accommodates these requests. But, in a seller’s market, inventory is low and demand high, properties sell fast, leaving home buyers, especially first-timers, feeling pressured into making a fast decision or risk losing the property.
With a 3D virtual tour, prospective buyers can do their own walk-throughs of properties from anywhere, and at any time, generating higher engagement and interest. Virtual tours allow buyers and sellers to come together online at a time that is mutually beneficial. Time constraints, crowds, and frustrations are taken out of the equation, which adds up to a smoother and less stressful process. Because virtual tours, photographs, aerial photography, floor plans, and other measurements are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, buyers can examine the details, compare properties, and share the information with family, friends, and realtors at their convenience.
Further, 3D Virtual Tours attract more qualified prospects by giving viewers the most complete and accurate representation of the property, filtering out unqualified or uninterested leads, and attracting those that are genuinely interested in the property.
3D Tour Stats to Consider
- 95% of prospects are more likely to call about a property with virtual tours
- Properties that use 3D Virtual Tours sell at a 6% higher sale price than those without
- Market time is decreased by 31%
- Time viewing site is increased by 15%
Virtual open houses have become an increasingly popular and effective solution to these challenges in the real estate industry. By hosting a virtual open house, sellers can showcase their property to a larger audience and eliminate the need for multiple in-person visits. Buyers can view properties from the comfort of their own homes and at their own pace, without the need to coordinate schedules or travel.
Virtual open houses also offer convenience and flexibility for both buyers and sellers. Sellers can host virtual open houses at any time, making it easier to accommodate a wider range of interested buyers. And with 3D virtual tour technology, buyers can see a property in vivid detail, whether it is staged or empty, making virtual tours just as reliable as in-person tours.
And because most buyers spend more than two-thirds of their time online when searching for properties before they actually buy or rent, providing them with more information than ever, they are better equipped to make informed decisions. If a picture paints a thousand words, virtual open house tours paint millions.
Overall, virtual open houses provide a valuable and innovative solution for both buyers and sellers in the real estate industry, eliminating the fatigue and stress of in-person open house tours and allowing for more targeted marketing efforts. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that virtual open houses will become an increasingly important part of the real estate marketing process.
What is a Virtual Open House?
A virtual open house is an immersive online tour of a property, especially attractive to the first round of clients who would otherwise visit in person. An excellent feature used to show an agent’s buyers around a property from the comfort of their own home virtual tours are more than just a feature; they are revolutionizing the home-buying business. Take it from the Ottawa homebuilders eQ Homes and Richcraft Homes, who both integrate model home virtual tours in their marketing strategy.
Every year, we donate our 3D virtual tour service to support the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and scan the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime: Minto Dream Home.
Benefits of Virtual Tours for Real Estate Buyers
- The 24/7 open house: Unlike traditional showings which require tedious scheduling and time constraints, virtual tours are “hosted” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, giving visitors the opportunity to take their time exploring every corner of every room at their leisure and return to take a second (or third) look without the need to schedule an appointment.
- See a property from anywhere: Because virtual tours are worldwide, clients who may have been able to travel to view the listing before having the opportunity to look at properties regardless of the distance, expanding the customer base on a global level.
- Learn the layout better: Virtual tours are more detailed and easier to visualize than just photos and floor plans. Adding tours of the neighborhood, schools, and town centers, prospective buyers can gain a great insight into the area without ever stepping foot on the grounds.
- Prospective buyers can take their time: Clients can spend more time in the rooms and areas that matter to them. If someone is especially interested in closet space, they can take time to explore every storage space in the home. Those who want to pay particular attention to the kitchen, yard, bathrooms, or office space can take their time to “walk through” the spaces that matter most to them without feeling rushed or crowded.
Benefits of Virtual Tours for Real Estate Agents
- More visitors can view the space at once: Because virtual visitors don’t take up any space in the tour, the capacity is limitless.
- Faster Deal Cycle: Present the complete information about a property in an immersive, online format that shortens your deal cycle by providing prospects with everything they need to close.
- More Qualified Prospects: Attract more qualified prospects by giving viewers the most complete representation of your property which cuts down unnecessary site visits.
- Save time, money, and a lot of hassle: Intended to be the first viewing, the purpose is not just to reduce in-person viewings, but to ensure that the second physical viewings are qualified. By streamlining the time spent searching and narrowing down properties to view, buyers will only plan viewings for those in which they are most interested. Because an agent can spend as much as eight hours with clients on first-time viewings, virtual tours are a more efficient marketing tool.
- Immersive experience: By offering an extra dimension and immersive experience, virtual tours enhance the value of online hosting substantially, helping to set the agency apart from the competition. Because 80% of first viewings don’t lead to a second, agents can eliminate wasting time on clients that have little or no intention of purchasing.
- Accessible to buyers with physical limitations: Virtual tours make showings to prospective buyers with restricted mobility or other issues that make it difficult to view properties in person possible. Visiting numerous properties is a time-consuming and draining process for anyone, but for those with disabilities and special needs, it’s just that much harder. Agents can provide all prospective buyers with an immersive experience regardless of their limitations.
- Show properties in their best light: It’s always sunny in the virtual world. Because 60% of viewings are done on evenings and weekends, 3D Virtual Tours have the ability to change the time of day making it easier for agents to show the home’s interior and exterior in daylight, no matter what time of day it really is.
- Editing Tools Highlight Property’s Best Features: Virtual technology also makes it possible to portray the property in its very best light, in springtime, for example, even in the dead of winter. Virtual gardens, lawns, pools, and other exterior features can be virtually optimized as well. Grass made green, pools blue and clear, and gardens filled with colorful spring flowers.
- Less disruptive to sellers’ lives: One of the hardest parts of showing homes to prospects is encouraging sellers to keep the house clean and tidy without being a thorn in their side. This can be especially difficult for sellers with small kids and pets or who work from home. With pre-recorded virtual tours, sellers never have to worry about keeping the property constantly neat and tidy or having their family or work life disturbed.
- Elevate a property’s aesthetic appeal with virtual staging: Virtual staging: Virtual staging can add, change, or upgrade interior design elements to 3D tours and images, in order to make a property, more aesthetically pleasing or easily understood by a buyer. Virtual staging and interior design can be personalized to fit the age or style of the prospective buyer.
Like many other industries that pivoted during the pandemic, the real estate market has changed forever and virtual tours are a huge part of that change. Most of our clients are now including a 3D Tour with every listing because it helps qualify buyers and quickens closing the real estate sale. As a buyers agent, having a digital twin of multiple exclusive listings gives clients the freedom to tour many homes as many times as they want, all from the quiet and convenience of their own home or office.