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Broken Open House Sign Surrounded By Used Face Masks On the Ground
Jose / Velez

Once upon a time (or just under two years ago) standard home selling practices called for an open house and a series of in-person showings. When the pandemic hit, though, the industry was forced to pivot — and fast.

With stay-at-home orders, social distancing and the health concerns that came with the coronavirus, these strategies either legally weren’t an option or just weren’t very appealing. According to Zillow, the share of listings with an advertised open house fell to just 1% in April 2020. While they’ve bounced back slightly since those days, only 12% of listings featured open houses as of this summer down from 20% pre-pandemic.

With their tried-and-true marketing tactics off the table, real estate agents adapted. Many leaned on technology to enhance their listings or give on-the-fly video tours. Others got more creative, turning to social media, live streaming or even online influencers to get properties noticed.

“This was the year of creativity,” says agent Rochelle Atlas Maize, who recently enlisted TikTokkers to help sell a $5.3 million house in California. “The housing market is booming, and old-fashioned walkthrough open houses no longer cut it.”

She’s right: Most agents say these newer marketing tactics are here to stay. Are you planning to buy or sell a home soon? Here are some of the new marketing strategies you might encounter along the way:

1. Virtual tours and video tours

Virtual and video tours have easily been the most prevalent replacement for open houses during the pandemic — and they’ve stood in for traditional, in-person showings as well.

These functioned several ways: Agents might hop on a Zoom, FaceTime or Skype call and walk buyers through a potential property using just their phone or computer screen. Others might host a Zoom open house, stationing themselves at the property and allowing buyers to jump on with questions and tour requests during a set two- to three-hour timeframe. Still others would hire a videographer to create an edited tour that could be placed on listing pages or shared on YouTube and other platforms.