How Virtual Open Houses Work

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Real Estate

Since the onset of COVID-19 social distancing measures, the real estate industry has widely adopted technology to protect agents, buyers, and sellers.  That mainstay of home marketing, the open house, is no exception.  Here are some of the ways it works.


Facebook Live. With this popular option, the agent walks through the home, narrating as they go to highlight the features of the house. You can schedule up to seven days in advance.  On the upside, the casual approach can be appealing to buyers and it provides an “agent introduction," as well, to prospective buyers. On the downside, there is no ability for buyers to ask questions during the open house.


Zoom. This is a popular choice on the local Multiple Listing Systems – in fact, they offer a virtual open house link where you can specify a URL for the buyer to log in to see the property.  Agents can go live with a walk-around tour,  post a virtual tour for the buyer to check out, or even Matterport virtual reality tours for the buyers to navigate through on their own. Buyers can use the chat feature or ask questions live while signed on.


Matterport Virtual Reality.  When it comes to virtual tours, this is the closest you can get to actually being there. A technician uses a special 360-degree camera to capture each space in the home. This is then stitched together seamlessly to let a viewer “walk” through with mouse clicks or by dragging the screen.  The downside is that it does not show the exterior of the home (the program needs walls to capture spaces) and does not work especially well on mobile devices through Zoom. Want to try it? go to and click on 3D spaces.


Do buyers still want to see the home up close and personal?  Most of the time, yes. They want to see if the floors are scuffed or if the home has objectionable odors (such as cigarette smoke or pets). However, the virtual open house gets them “in” for an initial viewing to reduce the number of showings needed to get to an offer – which protects everyone in the process.