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COVID-19 had many effects on real estate, but one of the most prominent changes has been in the increased use and need for advanced technology because of social distancing. With most people staying home for the better part of two months, reaching clients has been a challenge and has created new and inventive ways for real estate agents and firms to conduct their business. With the rise of doing things “virtually,” what better way to reach our clients than to be directly on their phones, face to face, through video?

One of the most powerful tools real estate agents have been using is that of live videos. Whether it be through Facebook or Instagram, or even a one-on-one call through FaceTime, agents have made the jump into the virtual world.

Since the industry had an increased need for a way to reach it clients virtually and through live-streams, the Houston Association of Realtors stepped into action and updated its HAR app to include a feature in which agents can film live virtual open houses at their listings. This tool has been a game-changer and has helped agents stay in front of those who may be looking for a new home during this time. These live open houses have allowed agents to continue to conduct their business and showcase their listings in a contactless way to ensure that they are following the recommendations set forth by the CDC regarding COVID-19.

Neil Silverman, Realtor at Bernstein Realty, has had some experience utilizing this new tool from HAR and has seen success in reaching people who may be interested in his listings. “Not only can the potential buyer view the virtual open house (VOH) from the luxury of their own home, these viewings are interactive as well,” Silverman told Bernstein Realty after using the app.

“During the live VOH,” Silverman continued, “the public can ask questions to the listing agent, via a comment box, during the live-stream. The comment shows on our phone – this gives us the opportunity to answer questions or perhaps clarify a feature of the home in real time.” These live virtual open houses give the agent the ability to show all of the features of the home to potential buyers.

“As we conduct these virtual open houses, we are taking our viewers through the home, just as we would present to them in person, pointing out the features of the home, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, flooring, built-ins, appliances, efficiency of the home, etc.,” said Silverman.

To the consumer, these virtual open houses are easy to find on the listing’s page on or on the HAR app. Whichever method is preferred, there is a way to access these tours.

“HAR has made these VOH prominent within the listing. If a home has a VOH coming up, you will see it stated with the date and time of the event. The public can even sign up for a notification for when the event goes live, so they can tune in,” explained Silverman. He also noted that the live virtual open house recording remains on the listing’s page for up to 30 days, so potential buyers can access it for viewing.

Those who are interested in seeing the video after the live-stream ends also can request a link to the recording from the listing agent at any time during those 30 days it remains on

“As we assist sellers and buyers going forward, this is a wonderful platform to see homes from the comfort of your home while we curb the COVID-19 pandemic and hopefully see a return to normal in the near future,” he said.

Bernstein Realty is recognized as one of Houston’s leading boutique real estate firms and, since 1985, has been offering a comprehensive portfolio of real estate services that meet the needs of our clients in all price ranges.

The Bernstein Realty vision emanates competency, integrity, honesty and appreciation for our clients. We seek first to listen, then to understand and act based on our clients’ needs. We aim to not only meet but exceed expectations. We do not merely extend good service but excel in extraordinary attention to detail. We embrace an attitude of service first, last and always. Above all, we greatly appreciate the opportunity to work for our clients.

If you are looking to buy, sell, or lease a home in Houston or surrounding areas, contact Neil Silverman, a licensed Realtor with Bernstein Realty, at or 713-725-9750. You can learn more about Neil HERE.