Alternatives to Traditional Open Houses

During the current situation, showings are still being kept limited. Everyone attending private showings are still required to wear masks and gloves, and limit the amount of people at the showing to only the decision makers. Between showings, surfaces such as door knobs and other common places are re-sanitized for both the safety of potential buyers as well as sellers who may occupy the space. Traditional open houses would be difficult during these times, but people in real estate businesses have adapt to create new types of open houses that keep all potential parties safe.

Virtual Open Houses

Virtual open houses are an option that many listings are using to show houses safely. This involves either creating a 3D-rendering, video, or virtual tour program of the home which is being shown. Virtual open houses can add special functions such as measuring tools to calculate room size/furniture placement, 360 degree room visuals, and walk-paths to understand the spatial layout of the home. In addition, virtual open houses can utilize a chat box to answer common questions about the property as well as relay more complicated questions over to the real estate agent to answer.

Live-Stream Open Houses

Utilizing social media and programs such as Zoom, live-stream open houses bring back the human touch by creating a live event of the real estate agent performing a walkthrough of the property through video. The real estate agent can answer questions via live chat with other people watching, or show things that viewers request. This allows people to participate in an open house without leaving the comfort of their home!

Curbside Open Houses

Want to take a drive around the neighborhood? Curbside Open Houses allow you to go out and view a place in person from the comfort of your vehicle. You can drive up to the curb and an agent will come around and answer questions about the property. If you are interested, you can schedule a private showing, provided that you have brought masks and gloves. Then while you are waiting, you can take a drive around the neighborhood to see what they have to offer locally. In a way, this a great way to preview a home before going to a private showing!

As real estate businesses monitor the situation, rules may change in the future to expand to more traditional-style open houses once it is deemed safe. In the mean time, these different opportunities for open houses provide ease of mind for the safety of buyers, sellers, and agents alike. Plus the technology and resources around these alternative open house options can be used to create a more convenient environment for home shopping/advertising.

My brother Jack and I co-own The Real Estate Store. I grew up and live in Scarborough, ME. I became a real estate broker in 2005, but Real Estate is a family business for us. We are second generation Real Estate Brokers. My experience working with apartments and with residential construction has given me insight into cost-aware construction and green construction and design.

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