Sell Your Home Faster with a 'Virtual Open House'

Virtual open houses can help sell your home faster by attracting more qualified buyers at a higher exposure level

Many real estate agents debate whether it's worth doing an in-person open house these days. Yes, there is potential to sell the home to that perfectly matched buyer, and also to meet new clients. However, because open houses are time consuming and don't always attract the right buyers, many agents are turning to "virtual open houses."

"Virtual tours are a mandatory part of selling a home," says Peggy Aldinger of Premier Real Estate and Loan in California. "They eliminate a lot of lookie-loos and attract more qualified buyers. I may get less traffic, but they are more serious buyers."

Virtual open houses also open up a world of exposure to new buyers in other states or countries, not just locals.

The Virtual Open House

Virtual open homes can pose just like an in-person open house would. You can create your own website or ask your agent. Many agents like Peggy Aldinger are already set up with a program that makes it easy to do. To attract more attention to new homes on the market, the agent simply sends an email to their client list with a link to view the virtual home site.

Of course, it depends on the market, too. If it's a buyer's market and homes are sitting on the market for long periods of time, you may opt to do both types of open houses for maximum exposure to all audiences.

If you are thinking about doing a virtual open house, here are some ideas:
  • Take nice clear photos.
  • Post a virtual map to the house.
  • Add some soft music to play on the site.
  • Offer ways for the buyers to ask questions like they would at an open house. Your agent can respond to through the website, depending on how Web savvy your agent is, via phone, email or live chat.
  • Keep it simple.
Peggy Aldinger knows how to create effective virtual open houses. See one of her client's homes for sale here:

Remember to keep descriptions brief and limit it out to one web page. Since your home probably won't be online for very long, you don't want to put as much time into a virtual open house as an in-person open house.

You may ask, "So if I don't do an in-person open house, what's the point of fixing it up?" The answer is that you still need to fix up your home into selling condition to get the best price. If you can't see it in the photos, all the updates and money you put into it will be reflected in the home's description and key selling points.

Virtual Open Home Resources

These days there are a number of companies that make it easy, and you don't have to be a Web expert. Here are a few recommended websites: