Equipment and Online Platforms to Help With Virtual Showings
by Linda Burke 01/12/2021
Virtual meetings and video conferencing have become the norm as we adapt to social distancing guidelines and staying well. And while these times will eventually pass and we will return to our previous times of normalcy, we're all going to need to continue to adapt and get creative in the meantime. In the real estate industry, this has resulted in virtual - rather than in-person - home showings. With in-person home showings limited and many home buyers or sellers uncomfortable either physically touring or showing a property, respectively, these virtual tours present a way to move properties without putting people at risk. Here's a look at some best practices for your virtual tours:
Acquire the Right Equipment
Minimally, you'll need at least your smartphone or tablet to perform a good virtual home showing. However, there are a few additional accessories that are worth investing in:
- A phone mount or tripod with rotating head: This allows you to place your device in certain rooms to give interested buyers a steady, more professional 360-degree perspective of the area and space. If you're connecting live, make sure you have an adequate data plan so you don't lack cell service or connectivity during the tour.
- Software: The likes of FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger and Microsoft Teams can make for ideal virtual tour platforms - and you can record said tours so that buyers are able to reference them when weighing their options later. Certain software packages can also enhance still images into 3D tours or help create interactive floor plans. It can make for a nice leave-behind with interested buyers following a live virtual home tour.
Staging the Home
Many people prefer the more "raw" look that a virtual tour over the video conferencing applications provide, but that doesn't mean that you still shouldn't be staging the home appropriately. Here's a look at some tips:
- Let there be light: Open shades, curtains and blinds, and turn on light bulbs so that it shows well. Be sure to test the light prior to giving the live tour to make sure there's not too much light, however. Too much or too little light can show poorly via video.
- Stick to the basics for a good home showing: Make sure the property is decluttered so that it looks bigger. Also make sure the property is clean (i.e, vacuum, clean windows, dust, etc.)
- Don't wing it: Plan the route you'll take when you connect for the live virtual showing so that it goes as smoothly as possible. You'll also want to be prepared to explain certain features as you conduct the tour. Make sure to leave time for questions before moving on to the next room.
- Have a conversation: After you're done giving the tour, pop your phone or tablet into a tripod so you can chat face-to-face. Then, have a conversation, ask for questions or there is interest in returning to any specific areas of the home for a second look.
- Do a trial run: Technology can be tricky, especially if you're new to using it. Perform a trial so you have time to get the hang of things before it's show time.