If you are in a real estate market, you are also among many businesses that are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, on April 3, 2020, Ontario updated the list of essential businesses that can remain open. Real Estate industry is hugely affected by the updated list which clearly states, “Effective Saturday, April 4, every person who is responsible for a business that provides real estate agent services shall ensure that the business does not host, provide or support any open house events.” In addition to prohibiting the open houses, RECO also requested all the real estate personals to take health and safety precautions in all other dealings, like transferring funds and signing the documents.
What to tell your clients?
We know, you might have a lot of questions in your mind related to real estate trading, processing, and listings. The first question that comes to our mind is, ‘Are we allowed to take new listings if we can’t host the house showing?’ The answer is yes! You can sign new contracts with the seller but make them aware of the restrictions and precautions that you will practice and how you will be handling their property keeping in view of the latest changes. Explain to them that the documents will be signed electronically to avoid physical contact, payment transfers will be online, and the showings will be virtual-only!
How will I organize the tour?
None of us in real estate business is in the habit of hosting virtual home showings because we never had to do it before (other than few exceptions), so we might be wondering how to organize it efficiently and properly. Most of the realtor have access to modern tools such as virtual showings apps, video conference calls and digital signing, so now is the time to use them. We at Regalway Homes are sharing a step by step guide on how you can keep your wheel rolling and stay in the business with virtual tours of properties that you intend to rent, sell or buy.
1. Shoot images and videos of the house:
The first step is to take out your camera, light stand and take images of the house. If you are not handy with the camera, you can hire a professional to take beautiful and flaunting 360 images for you that cover all aspects of the house properly.
Images: Make sure you cover all the Exteriors, Interiors, close-ups, finishes, utilities, ariel shots.
Video: There are many creative ideas to shoot different videos. You can use them along with the images. Social Media Tours, Advertising Videos, Agent Narrated Tour, Long Form Tour, GoPro Inspection, Drone Video, Neighborhood Tour etc. Please make sure you are abiding by the rules and seeking proper safety precautions when making drones and neighborhood tour videos.
2. Making and uploading a virtual tour:
Once you have all the images and videos, its time to upload them to a virtual tour application or a software. There are many easy to use and free applications that you can use to design your tours. We recommend these 3 free and open source applications to create your tour.
You can find more on the market, we suggest you go for an open-source application or software, it will be easy to use and accessible on all platforms.
3. Organize the conference (virtual tour)
Once you are done with making a virtual tour of the property, its time to publish it and make it available to the audience. You can do one-on-one tour to the interested buyer or seller or you can have a virtual “open house’. There are some amazing free conferencing platforms out there, we will recommend the following three to use
Zoom: It has both free and paid options. The free version is limited to 100 attendants and 40 minutes which is enough for a house tour. So, the Zoom is our number one recommendation.
Google Meeting: With Google Meeting, you can schedule a meeting just like Zoom and invite up to 100 people as well.
Skype: Skype is not as user friendly as the other solutions, but people usually have it as its present on the market since long, so using Skype can also be a good option. Please note that Skype will work much better in one-to-one meetings, rather that presentations for a larger audience.
Once the live session is over, the platforms will produce a link that you can save and share it with your clients so that they can view it later and share it with their family and friends before making a decision.
Advantages of Virtual Tours:
Once you adopt this methodology, you will notice that there are many more additional benefits of the virtual home tours other than just staying in the business. Some of the prominent ones are as follow;
Building Trust and Credibility
Generating more shareable content with less effort
Technology Savvy outlook
Brand building on the web
For those of you, who haven’t yet tried hosting a virtual house showing and worried about how they will continue doing it – we really want you to follow our guide and reap its many benefits. Along with this guide, we are offering a FREE Editable Real Estate Home Listing Template. Don’t forget to sign up below to get the template!