FaceTime: It’s not just for waving at babies and confusing your parents anymore. Turns out it’s actually for selling houses. Especially during COVID-19 times.
Just ask Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Steve Killingback, who’s more than just a little Michael Carrington. He’s from London, completely charming, and would no doubt learn to ride a motorcycle if the script called for it.
The other thing about Killingback is he’s now sold two houses — site unseen — via FaceTime. One to a lovely young couple coming from a slightly over 600-square-foot apartment in New York and one to a savvy couple from San Francisco that did pop in via private jet for the inspection. The point is, it’s happening at every price point.
But how did Killingback snag two sales? It’s simple — he’s savvy. When COVID-19 hit, he was the first in the area to create virtual tours and open houses. (And his brokerage is still leading the pack.)
Evolving Into a Real Guided Tour
In the beginning, he’d walk through the house and narrate, never appearing on the screen. He said the biggest thing he could do is help orient potential buyers so they could understand the layout. Matterport 3D helps with that now, too, but clicking a cursor pales in comparison to a personal tour with accented voiceover.
The other secret to his success? He presents his tours as if the buyer were right by his side. He guides them through the house just like he’d do if they were there, opening closets and cabinets and commenting on everything along the way.
After he knocked out a few Open Houses, his style evolved. First, he appeared on camera but filmed it himself – a bit of a tough juggle. These days, he’s basically his own HGTV show. He has a professional photographer film each tour and he enlisted Briggs Freeman’s marketing to help field questions while he’s live on Instagram.
Since he’s on camera, he can’t read the questions, but Maria from marketing can! She reads them out loud and he answers them “on air.” Which is one more perk of the guided virtual tour – you have the listing agent on hand to answer aaaaalllll your questions. And no one knows a house like a listing agent.
In addition to creating videos, he also knows how to promote them. Obviously, he posts and streams from his own account, but with the addition of Maria, he’s able to add all the Briggs Freeman followers to his audience, too. (And they offer this to all their agents now.) And there was one weekend when three Briggs agents had Open Houses on the same street so Killingback suggested hosting them at the same time so buyers could log on for a three-for and agents could triple their audience.
Obviously, what Killingback is doing is working and it’s working out for buyers, too. It’s nice to find your dream home from a dream distance. It’s even nicer to NOT collect a sweat-stache under your mask at Open Houses in real life.