How to Host a Mobile Home Virtual Open House

Virtual Open House

MHVillage strongly encourages readers to follow guidelines provided by local, state, and national authorities (including the CDC) regarding COVID-19 safety procedures.

Prospective mobile home buyers understand that shelter in place, social distancing, and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts eventually will subside.

Until then, there are a few ways you can sustain their interest when you sell a mobile home. Among them: broadcasting a live virtual open house that showcases your home.

Whether you’re working with an agent to promote your mobile home or listing your home for-sale-by-owner, tapping into today’s technology can get you from “just listed” to “sold” even in these unusual times.

What You Need

Because the tools needed to host a virtual open house are readily available, you may already have them. Here are four of them.

A Capable Smartphone

If you have a relatively recent smartphone — say, something produced within the last couple of years — it should be able to capture quality video. This device can be an iPhone from Apple, Pixel from Google, or similar devices. However, if you plan to use FaceTime for your live virtual open house you will need an iPhone. We’ll cover that topic later in this article.

A Robust, High-Speed Internet Connection

Many factors can influence the bandwidth needed for a virtual open house broadcast. That said, a general rule of thumb is to aim for nothing less than 5Mbps and ideally around 10Mbps. A site such as Speedtest.net can help you determine your current internet connection speeds.

A Wireless Microphone

Viewers tuning into your virtual open house need to be able to hear the guided tour you’ll give them. Using a wireless mic enables that without keeping you tethered to the camera. Apple’s AirPods are one such option many people seem to have already.

Photo courtesy of Skyline Champion Corporation

A Game Plan

Broadcasting on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok or any other platform requires careful planning. Especially if the goal is to sell something, “winging it” won’t work. You need to know where your virtual open house is going to start, how it will progress, which features to highlight, etc. Facebook recommends a live stream of no less than 20 minutes, so there will be plenty of time to cover everything — and plenty of reasons why a rehearsal is crucial.

Aside from these tools, hosts should stick to the basics: cleaning and lighting the mobile home well, decluttering and removing personal items, etc.

Broadcasting

Facebook Live, YouTube, and Apple’s FaceTime are three of today’s most popular live video platforms; the number of Facebook Live viewers in the U.S. has risen by 50% since January 2020, while users make 15-20 million FaceTime calls per day among the 100 million or so iPhone in the U.S.

Instructions for broadcasting mobile home virtual open houses from these platforms follow. And to attract more homebuyers, a link to your virtual open house can be included in your listing on MHVillage.

Using Facebook Live for a Virtual Mobile Home Open House

A virtual open house with Facebook Live allows you to promote a mobile home to many prospective buyers at the same time. For a one-on-one virtual open house, FaceTime is recommended (see below).

  1. Open the Facebook app on your smartphone.
  2. Tap “Live” at the top of the screen. (At the time of this writing, the link was directly beneath the profile image.)
  3. Allow Facebook to access the device’s microphone and video capabilities.
  4. Tap the camera icon at the top of the screen to switch between selfie and standard modes.
  5. Tap the “Start Live Video” button.

A two-person streaming team is ideal, with one person operating the camera (smartphone) and the other person acting as host. A gimbal is recommended to help keep the phone and recorder stable. This will help in creating a smooth, professional-looking video.

Finally, make sure that the smartphone is in your preferred mode — landscape or portrait — before you begin the Facebook Live broadcast. Modes cannot be switched during filming.

HOW TO PROMOTE A FACEBOOK LIVE TOUR: Promote the Virtual Open House on Facebook Events, as well as any and all other social media platforms you have profiles on. It may be a good idea to ask your friends and family to share your broadcast as well.

Using YouTube for a Virtual Mobile Home Open House

The technique for using YouTube for your virtual open house is similar to using Facebook Live. However, in order to live stream your virtual open house from a mobile device, your YouTube channel must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers. If your channel qualifies, here are the steps to follow.

  1. Open the YouTube app on your smartphone.
  2. Tap the camera icon at the top of the screen.
  3. Allow YouTube to access your phone’s camera and microphone.
  4. Tap the “Go Live” icon.

There are also services like Restream.io and StreamYard.com that help you broadcast to both Facebook and YouTube at the same time.

Using FaceTime for Virtual Mobile Home Tours

FaceTime is recommended when conducting a one-on-one virtual mobile home open house. Android users may consider Google Duo as a FaceTime alternative. It is important to note that both the host and the homebuyer will need to be on the same platform in order for this technique to work. For example, if the host is on FaceTime they will not be able to connect with a homebuyer on Google Duo.

Here are the steps to broadcast your virtual open house using FaceTime.

  1. Open the FaceTime app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the “+” icon at the top of the screen.
  3. Enter the client’s name or contact info (if it isn’t already in the device’s contact list).
  4. Tap the “Video” button.
  5. After a brief introduction, tap the camera icon to switch from selfie mode to standard mode.

HOW TO PROMOTE A FACETIME TOUR: During conversations with anyone interested in your mobile home, through your other social media outlets, any online messaging boards or apps your community uses, and through friends.

Leveraging Your Virtual Open House on MHVillage

MHVillage now provides a way for its customers to include a virtual open house link on our site for presentation to a wider, and audience of manufactured home buyers. Just login to your account to add a virtual open house to your listing.