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In-person open houses have returned to the world of luxury real estate, but that doesn’t mean agents should deprioritize the digital platforms their clients have come to appreciate. Rather, technology can be deployed in a number of creative ways to enhance the experience for buyers and sellers.
Nadia Conrow, Real Estate Associate at Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage, and Evelyn Tilney, Real Estate Associate with Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby’s International Realty explain how agents can use technology to engage clients across every touchpoint.
Before the open house: expand your online audience
Email blasts, the MLS, and posting and optimizing listings on public real estate search engines are all effective methods for promoting a property. But with content creation, luxury agents can unlock a new level of value.
“With social media platforms, you can get very creative on how to market your new listings and open houses,” Conrow says. “Short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels can easily go viral if you know how to work the algorithm — and the best part is, it’s free.”
How can agents take advantage of social media algorithms to expand their audience? One of Conrow’s favorite techniques is to see what songs are trending on the platforms and feature those in her videos.
“Always be aware of the trends on social media,” she says. “Find a way to make it your own and connect with your sphere. Millennials make up 43% of homebuyers, and as a millennial myself, social media is one of our primary ways to communicate, connect, and create content digitally. So it’s only natural for us to use it when shopping for homes.”
During the open house: offer augmented reality
Once the property is ready for viewing, agents can create an augmented reality (AR) experience in the home — and they can do it with relatively simple technology: the QR code.
“I’ve found QR codes to be incredibly useful, especially because it is so easy to make them online with your own web browser,” explains Tilney. “Sometimes even a beautiful open house pamphlet can’t do everything I want it to, so instead I’ll create a QR code poster and hang it throughout the open house, leading visitors directly to the property website.”
Once on the website, the clients’ in-person experience is enhanced with a virtual experience — curated galleries of professional photographs, comprehensive floor plans, and relevant contact details, along with many insights too technical for a paper pamphlet.
After the open house: automate your client follow-up
With the prevalence of CRM platforms, automated tools for marketing and communications have increasingly become mainstays for real estate offices and brokerages. If possible, agents should incorporate these into their open house-related workflows to ensure no potential buyers are left out of the loop.
Tilney takes advantage of a signature solution that creates a profile for clients as soon as they engage with the digital assets. “My brokerage recently rolled out our new Concierge tool — a QR code that brings the buyer to an easy, fill-in-the-blank sign-in sheet on their phone,” she says.
For virtual experiences, invest in videography
Conrow points out that the virtual tour has become normalized. Therefore, agents shouldn’t compromise on video quality.
“I’ve seen agents go live on Instagram — which can be great, but the video can get spotty, and it’s never as seamless as you expect it to be,” she says. “Now, agents are investing more in professional videography to give the buyer an entirely different, more elevated experience.”
And remember: offline connections still matter
In spite of all the ways technology can improve in-person open houses, it can’t replace them. “It’s so important that folks drive themselves up to the home,” says Tilney.
She notes that while some properties look picture-perfect online, a buyer may arrive to find five monster trucks and a pile of dirt bikes in the neighbor’s driveway, or a collapsed barn housing raccoons across the street. “I’m being funny now, but this isn’t too big a stretch,” she laughs.
“My go-to strategy is to directly invite local colleagues, friends, and community members who are natural connectors to come to preview the property,” she says. “I’ll make some good coffee, get great pastries from a local farm, and host folks for a leisurely walk-through to spread the word organically.”
Open houses are inherently analog. For Tilney, the best tools are so intuitive that they’re barely noticeable. “Tech isn’t supposed to be jazzy bells and whistles — it should look and feel nearly invisible, and is there to support the buyer, the seller, us as agents, and the deal in general,” she says. “It never takes precedence over our actual work: connecting with people, doing research, and providing valuable guidance to our clients.”