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For Home Buyers, There’s Now the Interactive ‘Virtual Open House’

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RISMEDIA, Sept. 19, 2007-In anticipation of one of the world’s first “live” virtual open houses, Realtor Rudy Mayer, of ERA The Masiello Group of Nashua, NH is excited and anxious.”Open houses have been declining in attendance for several years – they’re a relic. With a record number of properties on the market, record gas prices and easier access to multiple photos and virtual tours online, buyers are less inclined to go out and drive around to traditional open houses,” Mayer says.

A “virtual open house” addresses many of these issues. Buyers can view the property from the comfort of their own home, without the hassles of driving around, dealing with kids and getting lost – only to find out very quickly the house is not what they had in mind.

Since attendance is down (or non-existent) at most open houses, many buyers are also weary of being the only open house visitor and being made uncomfortable by a potentially hungry agent following them from room to room.

The virtual open house will allow the buyers to tour the home room by room, by high definition video, as well as tour the neighborhood and a drive down the street. Rudy Mayer, the listing agent, will be there as well via a live video feed, to address any specific questions that viewers may have.

Anyone with a broadband connection can log on (remaining anonymous if they wish), view the open house and ask questions of the agent. No special software is needed. Anonymity allows disinterested buyers to log off or criticize the house, without being made to feel uncomfortable.

“I’ve always been a bit on the bleeding edge in my real estate career,” says Mayer, who was one of the first agents in the country to utilize dedicated property pages, video podcasts and high definition video tours in his marketing strategy for all of his sellers.

“This is the next logical step. I don’t know if it will go mainstream, but I think there’s a very strong possibility that it will.”

The online open house will be produced by Fred Light, of Nashua Web Design and Nashua Video Tours, also an innovator as one of the first providers in the nation of high definition real estate video tours.

“I think it makes a lot of sense,” says Light.

Two years ago, when homes sold just because they were for sale, there was little need to worry about marketing a home.

“Sellers are always looking for agents who think outside the box. They know the market is slow, and they embrace technology and the idea of doing something different, since doing the same old thing doesn’t work any more.”

“The bottom line is that it’s about casting a wider net. Agents that can find those methods are going to be successful,” Light says.

The first Webcast open houses will be held on Sunday, September 23 and Thursday, September 27th between 7:30pm and 8:00pm both nights.

Buyers can log on at www.InteractiveOpenHouse.com to view the home and participate.

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