Jack  Davidson

Jack Davidson

Broker

Right at Home Realty, Brokerage *

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(705) 796-5225
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"Virtual" the new "Live"?

Is Virtual the New Live? 

If you have kept up with real estate trends online lately, the terms virtual, pre-recorded, digital, zoom, live stream, and the like have now become pretty much household terms.  As REALTORS® and real estate professionals begin embracing new technologies in the place of face-to-face meetings, it is becoming increasingly more important to understand the differences between these types of new terms and how they work as new technologies are developed and utilized for Buyer and seller clients today.

In the face of Covid19, public health officials have reminded us how important it is to avoid meeting clients in person whenever possible both for their protection and ours, and that’s where all the new tech comes in.  The problem is you can’t just dump it all into a basket and call it virtual.  Is it “virtual” or “live”?  What’s the difference? 

Some might say ‘potato, potahto’ but…

As a Buyer, you’ll want to understand that a “virtual tour” is just that: virtual.  It’s a pre-recorded or pre-existing, static digital exposure of a property. This includes pre-recorded video tours, 360-degree panoramic images, 3D digital tours, and pre-recorded showings available for playback at another time.  They usually highlight the positives of a property and the more attractive features that will set it apart from other homes.

“Live stream Open Houses” on the other hand is a real-time interactive digital open house at a particular scheduled time where an agent walking through the property can communicate back and forth with one or more potential Buyers via a live video service in real time; in essence being your eyes and ears as if you were at the open house yourself in person. Unlike a Virtual Tour, the Buyer can ask the agent to view a particular area again in more detail or ask questions directly related to what he/she is seeing on screen.

So why is this important?  Oft times, the terms Virtual and Stream are used interchangeably and really shouldn’t be.  While REALTORS® will often post the virtual tour on their REALTOR.ca listings and then promote an upcoming Live stream on social media, it’s important to understand the differences.  For example, it would be impossible to “host a virtual open house” since hosting denotes a live hosted narrative, not a virtual one.  There are times, however, when an event originally streamed live is also recorded for later viewing of anyone who may have missed the live broadcast.  In that case, that original live-streamed event is now a pre-recorded rerun and won’t allow for any customized viewing or conversation with the agent-host.  

To avoid any confusion or disappointment when viewing a property, here is the rule of thumb.  If you as a home Buyer are interested in attending a live stream open house to perhaps get a more in-depth or personalized viewing, make sure you know in advance what is being presented before attending, otherwise you could end up in disappointment.

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