Virtual Open Houses: What You Need to Know

Over the last few months, the novel Coronavirus has complicated an already complex Vancouver real estate market. Restrictions on open houses are new territory for realtors, home buyers, and sellers. However, while the latest Metro Vancouver housing market report shows monthly sales down 54.4% compared to this time last year, the market appears to be stabilizing. May’s market update showed home prices remaining steady, with sales increasing by 33.9% from the previous month.This increase is likely because home buyers and sellers in the greater Vancouver area are adjusting to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s (REBGV) recommended social distancing and safety protocols, as well as new technologies that make the New Normal easier to navigate. Virtual open houses allow real estate sales and investments to continue without compromising the health and safety of REALTORS or their clients. According to REBGV Chair Colette Gerber, It’s likely virtual open houses will be around for a while, depending on how the province rolls out its reopening plan. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Metro Vancouver, you likely have questions about how these virtual open houses work. While your Stilhavn real estate agent can guide you through the details of the virtual home buying process, here’s a general overview. 

Real Estate Photography and Still Photos

Real estate photography services aren’t new technology—they’ve been a staple in online home listings for years. However, they’re especially important if you’re planning on hosting or attending a virtual open house. Interior and exterior architectural photographs are often a buyer’s first contact with a property. That means sellers and REALTORS want to make sure these images stand out. This is especially relevant if you want your home to sell faster in an ever-changing digital housing market. Shooting on your camera phone can make spaces look flat, dull, or if there’s a lot of light, overexposed. Getting a professional photographer can make photos of the property appear brighter and more colourful, with more detail and contrast, which helps buyers get a better feel for the home.  

Real Estate Video Tour or Virtual Tour

Video tours allow prospective buyers to view the home as if they were on a traditional property walkthrough. Depending on the property itself, these video tours can be shot either as a slideshow or, better yet, movement video, which feels more like the person is physically there.If sellers or REALTORS want to strengthen their virtual tour’s experience and give potential homebuyers a more nuanced impression of the property, they can enhance their video with unique tools. Try incorporating drone footage or Google Earth’s aerial view to capture neighbouring houses, streets, and amenities. REALTORS can also use voiceover, subtitles, or closed captioning to relay vital information about the property, giving your video tour a more human element. 

Real Estate 360 Walkthrough

Real estate 360 walkthrough tours give prospective homebuyers an immersive sense of an interior’s look and flow. These tours offer a full 360-degree virtual reality experience, allowing the buyer to take in the property without ever having to leave the comfort of their own home. This is especially useful in helping interested parties adhere to provincial and industry-wide health and safety protocols.  Virtual 360 tours generally come in two possible forms. The first is a basic tour, which includes a few rotations featuring the home’s central locations. These typically include the living area, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and master bedroom. Interested viewers simply click and drag their mouse or finger across the screen to view each room’s features.The second option includes many rotations at several points along the property’s pathways and allows viewers to click directional arrows to make their way through the entire home. Similar to Google Street View, this virtual tour style simulates a live experience as potential buyers “walk” from point to point. Depending on the size and layout of the property you’re looking to buy or sell, both virtual tours give buyers enough realism to “feel” out the home before requesting a safe in-person viewing to do their due diligence.  

Want to know more about virtual open houses?

We’re here to help answer questions you have about buying or selling a house in Metro Vancouver, including listing or browsing virtual open houses.