Here’s What Every Seller Needs to Know About Virtual Showings
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social distancing rules that have changed everything from your shopping habits to your work schedule to your social life. But if you’re in the midst of selling your home (or plan to in the coming months), the guidelines that affect social gatherings also affect one of the most important elements of the sales process: The open house.
When you can’t even host a party with friends, it goes without saying that opening your home to groups of strangers is a no-go for the time being. However, you can still show your home to the maximum number of potential buyers right now without violating any rules. It’s all thanks to virtual open houses.
Like virtual happy hours with friends or video conferences with work colleagues, a virtual open house happens from the comfort of everyone’s home. Potential buyers “tour” your home remotely through any number of platforms: I do live stream on Facebook, and individual FaceTime calls with buyers from all over the country, a video conferencing via Zoom is great for multiple people in different locations, and of course I create tons of video that can be accessed through your home’s listing page. See my most recent Bob's Top 5 videos that see incredible numbers of views!
While convenient, this new type of open house requires a little bit more planning on your end in order to make your home look its absolute best. Here’s what you need to know to show your home in its best light.
Take your own video first.
Your home is going to look a lot different on-screen than it will in person. Light, shadow, and colors will often appear more intense on camera than when seen in person, which can create the perception of smaller rooms. Before you can fix any of these issues, you need to see how your home looks on-camera — and the easiest way to do that is to take a walk through yourself, recording it with your phone.
Get ready to declutter like you’ve never decluttered before.
Rent a storage unit now, because you’ll be needing it. (Especially as many charities aren’t even taking donations for the time being.) For one, you don’t want any potential tripping hazards to get in the way! Second, the less you have in your home, the easier it will be for potential buyers to get a feel for the dimensions of a space. Since they can’t be there in person, it’s difficult to get a sense of a room’s scale on a screen. Furniture and accessories seem “bigger” when viewed on video and can easily create an overwhelming look.
Could a teenager really live here? Maybe for about 20 minutes-- but that's all we need!
Think white, light, bright, and airy.
Bob's most successful Instagram and YouTube home tours often feature spaces that hit all of these elements. White paint helps make rooms seem brighter on-camera, airy window coverings (like woven or sheer panels) maximize sunlight and natural textures (like wood, linen, woven baskets) look especially inviting on-camera as well.
Pinpoint the time when your home gets the most sunlight.
Artificial light casts yellow tones that you might not notice in person, but definitely notice on camera. That’s why professional videographers (and influencers) always strive to shoot when there’s the most natural light in a space. Take note of the time during the day when your home has the most sunlight (and also note any parts of your home that happen to get the least sunlight). This will help your Realtor when scheduling their virtual showings or recording their video tour.
Tip: If there are areas of your home that don’t get much sunlight, replace the bulbs in the light fixtures with white LED bulbs.
Come up with “Frequently Asked Questions.”
Whether we do a live stream or a fully produced video tour, potential buyers will have many more questions than they would during a traditional open house. Assist us by making a list of your favorite features and spaces, the approximate age of appliances, the finishes of the various counters and cabinets and the branding of appliances, fixtures and flooring in the home, any information about recent additions or renovations, etc.
In the end, a virtual showing might become the new normal even when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. After all, I've been doing it for nearly 10 years and it's value is finally being recognized. It’s convenient and time-efficient, requiring less time for potential buyers to schedule or travel to. Even if you decide to list your home later, making changes that enhance your home’s on-camera impression is an investment that might ultimately pay off.