Let’s face it, in-person open houses aren’t really a thing right now – but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options.
If you’re looking for an opportunity in the changing real estate marketing landscape, look no further than live streaming your next open house.
Live-streaming your open houses is a major element in the future of real estate marketing.
Live stream open houses might be hotter than ever right now due to our current circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they will lose steam once things return to normal.
You should learn as much about live-streaming your open houses and implement this new approach in your real estate business as soon as possible.
First off, let’s get the basics out of the way… a live-streamed open house is an event and not a pre-recorded video.
If you have a virtual tour (ie: Matterport) or a video tour (ie: YouTube) then you should be using your MLS® platform’s “Virtual Tour URL” field for those.
Note: RealtyNinja just updated our system to automatically embed virtual tours and video tours from the following providers on your listings:
- Matterport (just added!)
- iGuide (just added!)
- Video Openhouse
- Seevirtual Marketing & Photography
- Cotala Cross Media
A live stream open house is when you (as the agent) physically walk through your client’s home at a pre-determined time while broadcasting LIVE video through your smartphone and engaging in real-time with the participants.
So to recap, there are 2 core components to a live-streamed open house:
- A date: with a predefined start and end time.
- A live stream URL: This is a link to wherever your live stream is being held. At the time of the event, people will visit that link to view your live stream and interact with you as you tour the property. Details on how to set this up are below.
Benefits of live streaming your next open house:
- You can live stream from the most popular platforms (ie. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) which you and your audience most likely use anyways,
- Hundreds of people can attend the live stream at once,
- International buyers can attend your live stream,
- Your sellers will love that a bunch of people are not physically entering their home (especially now),
- Visitors can attend from the comfort of home – without the hassle of commuting, parking, etc.,
- Live streaming makes your real estate brand look smart, modern, progressive, and – just plain cool!
- Bonus: No need to bake cookies!
Note: Make sure you are following all official health and safety guidelines when conducting a live stream open house of a client’s home!
How RealtyNinja’s Automatic Live Stream Open House Integration Works
Our promise has always been to evolve with technology and meet the changing demands of our industry.
That’s why we’re happy to announce that RealtyNinja now has automatic live stream integration with real estate boards in Greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Victoria, and soon CREA’s DDF!
We’ll be adding this functionality for other Canadian real estate boards as they support it.
As of today, any listing on the MLS® that has a live stream open house will display this badge on your RealtyNinja website:
If a listing on your RealtyNinja website has an upcoming live stream, then the detail page will display these 2 new items:
Think of it as a standard open house – if an open house is scheduled in your MLS®, your RealtyNinja site will show an open house badge and info. Now, the same is true if a live stream open house is scheduled in your MLS®.
People will see the date, start/end times, optional note and a handy link to add it to their calendar.
For example, here’s what the event looks like when added to a calendar on Mac OS:
The scheduled event in the calendar tells the user to come back to the listing on your website at the time of the event and to click the “Join Live Stream” button from there.
When the stream is currently live the listing on your RealtyNinja website looks like this:
The “Join Live Stream” button would link to the “Live Stream URL” that you set up in your MLS® software.
For example, here’s a clip from a live stream open house that we joined today on Instagram:
- If you already had an “Open House” search page on your RealtyNinja website, it will automatically display any listings that have traditional open houses OR live streams. You don’t need to do anything for that to work.
- The new live stream open house functionality is available on our Listings-Only (IDX) Accounts as well, but with limited capability.
Step 1) Talk to your Seller and determine a date and timeframe when you can come into their home and provide a live-streamed open house.
Step 2) Choose which platform you’d like to use for the live stream. We recommend starting with Facebook and/or Instagram.
Step 3) Load up your MLS® software (ie: Paragon) and find the section to add a new live stream open house.
Note: At the time of writing this, not all real estate boards have live stream functionality available yet. Currently, this is available in Greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Victoria, and CREA’s DDF but we expect all boards to follow suit. Please reach out to your real estate board and ask them how to add a live stream open house to your listings on MLS®.
When adding a live stream open house to MLS®, you will be asked for those 2 core components we mentioned (date/times and live stream URL).
Set your “Live Stream URL” to your business’s page/profile on whatever platform you’re using. For example:
- Your business on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RealtyNinja/
- Your business on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/realtyninja/
We recommend allowing at least 45 minutes for your live stream per platform, as people will come and go at various times.
Some MLS® platforms may offer the ability to add a note to your live stream open house. Write something short and sweet, for example, “Join us live on Facebook! We’ll tour this beautiful home and answer all your questions in real-time“.
Ninja Tip: Tell your client you’ll be there for 2 hours, and spend 45 mins live on Facebook and 45 mins live on Instagram – with a small gap in between to reset. If you do that, you can add each live stream event separately to the MLS® (with the same day but different start/end times). Here’s how that would look on your RealtyNinja listing:
Step 4) Promote your upcoming live stream! This means emailing your contact list, posting on social media, blogging and all the modern marketing tips the Ninjas have been preaching for years.
Step 5) Prior to your big day make sure you’re familiar with how to actually go live when it’s time. Scroll down for some handy guides on how to do this on each of the popular platforms.
We recommend that you do a quick live practice-run to make sure you’re familiar with the interface and deal with any technical snags that come up (settings like allowing your microphone/camera, etc.).
Ninja Tip: Ask someone to come to the event with you so they can film you and moderate comments as you tour the home. It’s much easier to do it without having to hold the phone yourself!
Step 6) On the day of the event, arrive at your client’s home at least 30 mins before your scheduled start time and get everything prepared. Make sure:
- Your phone is 100% charged
- You have a portable battery bank just in case
- The home is empty, clean and presentable
- You look fabulous
- You turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode so you don’t get interrupted by incoming calls
- You get on wifi if you can, and double-check the internet connection speed (go to fast.com and make sure the number shown is above 10 Mbps)
Step 7) When it’s time to start the live stream open house, simply open up the app you’ve chosen (ie: Facebook) and go LIVE. Make sure to:
- Start right on time
- Keep an eye on your battery/clock
- Say hi to people by name as they enter the live stream
- Prompt attendees with questions to encourage their engagement – remember this isn’t a video tour, its an opportunity to connect with buyers in real-time
Step 8) Once your event has ended, save the recording – either to your camera roll if the platform allows it, or to your page/profile, then share it with your audience.
Ninja Tip: Personally follow up with anyone who attended!
Worth Mentioning: The More Complicated Way
We don’t recommend this for most agents, but you can set up a live stream event beforehand on Facebook Live Producer.
This is only for people that want to use high-end production equipment. You’ll also need streaming software (also referred to as encoding software or an encoder) and there are quite a few steps to get it working.
The benefit of this method is that you can broadcast in production quality, use Facebook’s built-in announcement posts, reminder notifications, live broadcast posts, crosspost the live stream to multiple pages simultaneously, and so on.
This method is overkill for 99.99% of agents doing live stream open houses.
How to Schedule a Live Stream Open House on Various Platforms
Each platform has a different system for letting real estate agents stream live content. While each platform differs slightly, for the most part, you have to follow the same sort of steps.
It may seem complex and scary at first, but once you roll up your sleeves and dive in, it’s pretty user-friendly and intuitive – you got this!
One last thing…
Before we let you go, just want to reiterate a very important note that we covered earlier:
A live-streamed open house is a live event and not a pre-recorded video. These are two different marketing tools for your listing, with their own specific uses.
Pre-recorded videos of your property are virtual tours or YouTube videos that you have created in advance, likely around the time you were getting photos taken of the property. Pre-recorded videos of your property should be linked to from your listing’s “Virtual Tour URL” field on MLS®.
Live streaming your open house means you (the agent) are showcasing a property via live video through your smartphone, while potential buyers tune in and engage with you during a specific timeframe.
Your live stream open house should be linked to from your listing’s “Live Stream Open House” field on MLS®.
Pretty cool stuff, right? The future is now!
We hope you’re able to take advantage of the awesome new live streaming feature from RealtyNinja and your real estate board. We’d love for you to test-drive our new Live Stream function, so please start a free RealtyNinja website trial for access to this feature.
If you have any questions about what you’re reading, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.
Have an awesome day!