NEW YORK — With all of the gains in real estate technology over the past few years, traditional mainstays of the industry are becoming antiquated. This is most prevalent in the arena of traditional open houses.

A convenient, high-tech experience

“I think the future of open houses is all about the experience,“ Melissa Kwan, the co-founder and CEO of Spacio told the audience at Inman Connect in New York City on Thursday afternoon.

Regardless of what type of home you’re selling, all open houses start the same way: with handing a client a piece of paper — and that’s not going to cut it anymore, Kwan said.

“There’s no experience in that,” she added. “As soon as someone comes in, you hand them a piece of paper. That doesn’t fit what your selling.”

What her company has done is create a paperless sign-in, on an iPad, that allows browsers to input all of their information as well as their social media accounts. That way you can know where they’re looking and other information about their lives that could lead to more meaningful conversations.

At the end of the open house, you can then follow up by sending targeted advertisements — that include virtual tours of the home — directly to their social media accounts.

“That whole package is really the future of open houses,” Kwan said.

Flexibility of virtual tours

Nick Quay, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate has made 24-hour-a-day, user-controlled virtual tours with a 3-D camera. They are a cornerstone of his business.

“One of the modern things that’s happening is, in Miami, [there are] a lot of foreign nationals,” Quay said. “The way I’m able to modernize that [open house experience] is to be able to bring people 24 hours a day into the open house.”

Quay’s strategy also has security benefits. Every Realtor has dealt with customers who can only see homes in the evenings or on certain days, and naturally, that comes along with security concerns. What Quay does in those situations when buyers insist on seeing a home immediately is send them a virtual tour. This allows him to gauge how serious their interest is, and schedule a more convenient time to see the home.

Virtual tours also provide flexibility. Digital home staging services are great for homebuyers who have a more difficult time seeing themselves in the homes they’re touring. So if you show a house with Mediterranean style decor, you can follow up with a virtual tour that features an entirely different aesthetic.

Quay says virtual tours are also great for following up with people after an open house; attendees can share the visual experience of being in the home with other decision makers in the family who may not have been able to attend the open house.

Quick data collection

Aaron Kardell, founder and CEO of HomeSpotter, a mobile-first home search tool, says his company can automate the promotion of open houses across the web as well as social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and Waze.

He believes the biggest benefit to the modern open house is the amount of data that becomes available to agents, so it’s important to track who’s attending, whether it be with a product like Spacio or another solution.

“You need to remember who attends your open houses and have the data on it,” Kardell advised.

Read all of our coverage from Inman Connect NY 2018.

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