Lately, real estate professionals have been discussing live streaming to host virtual open houses. And, with COVID-19 restrictions still in place in many areas of the country, online tools are often a lifeline for agents and brokers, allowing them to continue showing properties to clients. What’s more, major real estate search platforms like Point2 now offer ways to promote your live-stream events to homebuyers on the site — providing even more exposure for your virtual open houses.
The recent increased adoption of live streaming has been long-awaited and is a welcome change for the younger generation of buyers. In fact, agents who continue to use this feature after social-distancing restrictions are lifted will benefit from this modern way of connecting with clients. So, let’s dig in to find out why live streams are so powerful and exactly how you can use them to your advantage.
What Is a Live Stream and How Does it Work?
Live streaming, in a nutshell, is a technology used to deliver live video and audio content over the internet. The data is streamed in real-time, thus allowing the viewers and the host to see each other and the property, as well as talk or ask questions live. For agents, this creates the opportunity to show every nook and cranny of a property to a live audience and take questions on the fly — just like you would during a regular open house.
What Are the Benefits of Virtual Open Houses?
1. Connect from a distance
Because anyone can tune in to your live-streamed open house from the comfort of their home, virtual open houses allow you to connect with clients even while social-distancing restrictions are still in place. Likewise, you can also interact with foreign or out-of-state buyers, or even show vacation homes remotely and without clients having to drive all the way out there. This, in turn, should expand your reach because you’ll be able to show properties to clients who might not have had time otherwise. This brings us to the next point.
2. Capture more leads
Often, distance and busy schedules make it difficult for potential buyers to attend a house tour. But, that’s not a problem with a live stream because anyone with an internet connection can attend or even watch the entire event later if you save the video. It’s also worth noting that live tours might be more appealing to the younger generation, who are already familiar with this format. As a result, agents who embrace virtual touring options will be able to tap into this new market of young, first-time homebuyers.
3. Build trust
The beauty of a live stream compared to other video formats is in its raw, genuine and honest approach. With one continuous stream and no time for editing, your audience will get to meet and know the real you. In fact, agents are encouraged to be as authentic and natural as possible when hosting a live stream. By doing so, you’ll foster trust with your clients while demonstrating your real estate knowledge and expanding your brand as an agent.
4. Tour more people
While you can only fit so many people at a time inside of a house, live streams have no restrictions on the number of participants. As such, it’s possible that you could virtually show a property to hundreds of potential buyers simultaneously — saving you a considerable amount of time.
5. Generate content for social media
Once a live stream is over, you can save the video recording and post it to your social media profiles. This is, perhaps, one of the easiest, most inexpensive and fastest ways to generate new content.
How to Set Up a Live Stream
Depending on the social media platforms you use, there are several options to create a new live-stream event. For instance, if you have a large Facebook audience, choose Facebook Live. Alternatively, if most of your clients follow you on Twitter, your best option will be Periscope.
Fortunately, you don’t need fancy equipment for this. If you have a smartphone with a good camera and a data plan, you’re all set! Remember, viewers won’t be looking for the best-quality video when connecting to a live stream, so you don’t need professional lights, microphones or camera equipment. That said, avoid filming in dark environments or shaking the camera too much. A good cellular network is also a plus as you’ll need to transfer a lot of data quickly. Meanwhile, consider having a laptop or computer nearby so you can look up information as potential buyers ask about it.
Additionally, some streaming services might require you to connect to a third-party app to schedule and announce the stream in advance. But, most platforms will allow you to start a live stream right from their app if you don’t need to alert followers in advance. If you’re not sure how to set up a live stream and access your streaming URL, ask for support from the platform you’re using.
Most real estate professionals don’t have experience hosting a live tour, but don’t let that stop you from trying. Again, your viewers don’t expect a perfectly shot/edited video. Rather, they’re looking for a genuine experience. Therefore, it’s perfectly fine to repeat yourself or have periods of dead air. Your audience is not expecting a late-show host. They just want to see the house and ask questions.
Furthermore, longer live streams allow more time for additional viewers to tune in to your virtual event. When you do go live, pace yourself and give people a few minutes to gather before you start showing the house.
Below is a really good example of an hour-long live stream open house hosted by Amber Heddleson, a realtor from Tampa, FL. Amber used the first 10 minutes of her live stream to welcome new viewers, set expectations and answer basic questions before starting to walk around the house and taking questions along the way.
How to Showcase Your Live Stream on your Point2 Website and on Point2Homes.com
- Sign in to your Point2 account at www.point2.com.
- Click Listings from the top menu.
- Click Manage Listings.
- Locate the listing and click Add Open House.
- Use the calendar to select the date of the open house.
- Select the time when it starts and ends.
- Select the Streaming Service.
- Add the Streaming URL.
Once you complete these steps, the live-stream event will show for that listing on your Point2 website and on Point2Homes.com. You can also schedule multiple live stream events so that buyers can find a time that works with their schedule as well. For more detailed instructions and screenshots, check out our help article on this topic.