Since 2017 home sellers have recognized the potential of the iPhone-only video chat application, FaceTime. While nothing beats the experience of in-person home viewing, video chat apps have become increasingly popular recently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With video chat apps, home sellers are now able to give prospective homebuyers a walk-through of the property virtually.
The advent of mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, have made it possible for home sellers to conduct live virtual tours. FaceTime, the Apple proprietary video chat app for iPhone and iPad, is the most popular among other video chat platforms simply because the majority of people in the U.S. prefer to use the iOS operating system.
Whether you’re selling your home on your own (FSBO) or you’re a seller’s real estate agent, here are the practical FaceTime tips you may consider to give your potential buyers the feeling that they’re within the property:
Master the app
FaceTime is very easy to use. Once you’ve signed in with your Apple ID, all you have to do is tap the green video icon to launch the app or say “hey Siri, FaceTime [person name]”. However, you may find it ideal to familiarize yourself with some of the app features so that you know what to do when another person suddenly tries to call you while in the middle of a live video tour. Familiarize yourself on how to switch front and rear cameras on your device as well. Learning how to make a group FaceTime call is ideal if you’re expecting to give a walk-through to 30 people simultaneously. Make sure you have the latest version of the app so you can access new features when it’s available. Here’s a bunch of FaceTime tricks that could make you a FaceTime guru.
Do some rehearsals
If you’re well-versed in showing properties to homebuyers in-person, you may find it awkward to conduct live video tours for the first time. Because you’re using a mobile device when showing the property, it’s important that you practice how to establish rapport with your prospective buyers. When starting a FaceTime video call, it’s proper to show and introduce yourself first to the buyer before showing the property. When speaking with your prospective buyers, it’s ideal to look on the front camera lens to engage them and create a feeling of an eye-to-eye contact. Like when speaking in person, your prospective buyers may perceive that you’re not confident, or worse, untrustworthy if you don’t look them in the eyes. Practice speaking while looking at the front camera lens until you’re comfortable with it.
Learn some basic photography and videography skills
When conducting live video tours, keep in mind that buyers can only see where you point the camera lens of your device. Learning some basic photography skills like camera movement, lighting and compositions can give potential buyers a pleasant experience. For example, your viewers may not properly see what you’re showing if the lens of your camera directly points to an open window where light strikes the lens. You may need to turn on the lights to balance indoor lighting with outdoor lighting. Moreover, a flashlight may come in handy when showing kitchen cupboards or basements. You may also annoy prospective buyers if you hold your device tilted and when there are lots of unnecessary movements as you walk them through. For a smooth, seemingly-gliding walk-through, you may consider buying a smartphone stabilizer. Using Apple earbuds is also ideal in live video tours to ensure you clearly hear everything a prospective buyer asks.
Ask potential buyers if they need assistance with FaceTime
While most people could be using Apple handsets, keep in mind that not everyone may know how to use video chat apps. Ask in advance if a potential buyer would need assistance on how to prepare for a FaceTime video call. You may send them helpful links on how to use the app days ahead of the virtual tour. If you have an elderly or a physically challenged client, try to find out if someone knowledgeable can assist him or her in using FaceTime.
Establish transparency with buyers during a virtual walk-through
Inexperienced homebuyers may not know everything they need to see in a live video tour and you may find it tempting to point your video away from the things you don’t want them to see. When conducting virtual walk-throughs, try to show them every part of the property that they need to see. Put yourself in the potential buyers’ shoes and ask yourself what are the important features of the property that potential buyers would like to see, including those hard to reach areas like the basement, or kitchen cupboards.
Be open to use other video chat apps
FaceTime could be a popular video app for live virtual tours but you may come across potential buyers who don’t like using it or they could be using an Android or any device with a non-iOS operating system. Some buyers, for example, may prefer to use Zoom, which according to a Redfin survey is the second most popular video platform next to FaceTime. Buyers may prefer to use Zoom because it allows video conferencing, which is ideal when one of the decision-makers is in another place. Skype, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, and WhatsApp are just some of the other video chat apps that you may want to be familiar with.
FaceTime is an easy-to-use invaluable app that you can use to show a property to potential homebuyers. Video chat apps have become more popular in the real estate industry because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re using FaceTime or any video chat apps, the tips here could help give your clients a pleasant experience while holding a live video showing.