With social media being used as an outlet for everything and anything, the way people do things, both on a personal and professional level, is quickly changing.

Word of mouth was once the main form of communication. I told you something, you relayed this information to someone else, who then told another person…and so on, and so on, and so on.

Then there was the written word - our news and information then came from personal letters, posted public announcements, or newspapers. Businesses could advertise their products and services on a larger scale (and regularly), and also to a much wider audience - a whole city, and even neighbouring cities.

The advent of radio and television then allowed us to get our news and information rather quickly after an event occurred, and also gave businesses a significantly broader audience and exposure, extending not only to cities within a province, county, state, or territory - but on a global scale.

The Internet. The biggest game-changer the world has ever seen (so far). Who would ever have imagined that one day you could have hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of people - DAILY! - read a news story, a personal post, or a watch a video? With a quick click of the mouse, or a tap on the ‘send’ button - our computers, lap tops, tablets, and phones are constant sources, and receivers, of information.

Well, what once was an unfathomable thought…is today’s reality. Reaching an audience, whether it’s in your own city, or across the globe, the internet has changed forever how people communicate, how we do business, and how we interact with each other.

So, the reason for this article…

How does the Internet affect - or does it even affect - how real estate agents market their client’s “Home for Sale”?

You’re an agent. You’ve got a new listing. The goal..to sell it, and have a happy client who will gladly refer you to other potential clients.

Standard marketing practices have usually included photography of the home, the MLS listing, advertisements in newspaper classifieds and real estate magazines, and the ‘For Sale’ sign on the front lawn, among other forms of communication. And of course…the Open House.

There was once a time when every home up for sale held an Open House, or two, or three, or maybe more. Not many people will buy a house sight unseen.

But in today’s day of social media, is the traditional Open House even necessary?

Video tours are becoming a regular part of real estate agents’ budgets and marketing practices. When done properly, a walk-through video tour can give potential buyers a very good sense of the home’s layout and how rooms relate to each other. And no - we are not talking about photographs put together in slideshow format. We are talking about video - a constant, flowing walk through of a house, acting with the same curiosity as the aforementioned potential buyer would.

Video can act as a 24 Hour Open House for an agent. What better way to showcase a home, and it benefits both the seller and the buyer. For sellers, it means less ‘walk-in’ traffic. “That’s a benefit??” you ask. Sure is. Less traffic may seem like a negative, but if an agent is using a video tour as a pre-qualifier, those who make it through the door are more likely to be serious candidates for buying. Also, traditional Open Houses can consume a lot of a seller’s time, not to mention the inconvenience, of having to make their home available on a regular basis.

For the buyer, video tours can be a relatively quick way to ‘yes or no’ a property. A buyer who does contact an agent after seeing a video tour of a home is probably about 90% sold on what they’ve seen. They now what to see the house more thoroughly before they make a potential offer.  

Video Open Houses can also be a way to separate the serious potential buyer from the not-so-serious curious onlooker. As important as it is to get people to see a home, some homeowners are just not keen on having a multitude of strangers coming through their front door. Although this is certainly not exclusive to those who live in multi-million dollars homes, video tours can also be used, albeit through private or password protected links, by agents who wish to respect a client's desire for privacy.

Again we ask - is the traditional Open House still necessary? Will there be a time when, just like 8-track tapes, rotary phones, and Commodore 64s, they’ll be gone, but fondly remembered? Actually, as much as video is becoming a marketing standard, Open Houses will be with us for some time yet. Selling a house is an incredibly stressful time for homeowners, and as much as they may embrace (or even demand) newer and more innovative marketing strategies from their agents, they may still derive comfort knowing that traditional practices are being implemented also.

As for real estate agents, an Open House is still a very valuable resource for them. Those two-hour time frames on Saturdays and/or Sundays still offer the potential to not only find a buyer for that particular home, but also to meet their next potential client.

A potential client who may want a video tour done as part of the selling strategy for their home.