There are so many ways COVID-19 has negatively affected the lives of people around the world, but the real estate business has been propelled into the future. Whether you are leasing or buying, virtual real estate deals are happening daily and signal a significant change to the marketplace.
Ten years ago, most real estate advertising was done in three ways: Listings in daily or weekly newspapers or regional magazines, flyers, and cards or word of mouth.
The internet has dramatically changed the way properties that are for lease or sale are listed. Websites have replaced newspapers as the go-to place to begin a search for a property. Maps are included on most Realtors’ sites and prospective clients can learn almost everything they need to know about a neighborhood simply by visiting it virtually. Schools, hospitals, places of worship, and population demographics are easily found with a few clicks of a keyboard.
What You See
No, this is not about the 1971 R&B song by the Dramatics. What you do see are properties by the tens—and possibly hundreds–when you begin to search for a home online. It is easy for an agent to create a virtual tour with nothing but a smartphone. Virtual tours were once reserved for only the most expensive pieces of real estate because filming required a videographer and lots of specialized equipment. An agent or homeowner can now film a home with as much or little detail as they perceive is necessary for that particular property. Once the video is uploaded to their website, the virtual tour is accessible to anyone, anywhere.
Sure, it was fun to pick up printed material at the print shop and see crisp, new business cards but in today’s market, there is no need to pay a printer for set-up, card stock, ink, and cutting. Every marketing tool you need in 2020 can be found on your computer. There are easy to use real estate templates on sites like Lucidpress or Breakthroughbroker. Not only will you find marketing tips and tools, but you can also add schedules and calendars with reminders so you always know what is going on in your business.
Potential clients want to be able to access all the properties within their parameters without leaving their homes. Some agents are even using QR codes to make things easy for prospective buyers or renters!
Let’s face it, no one enjoys driving all over the city to give a cursory glance at what ends up feeling like a million potential properties each day; that is exhausting. When a list of a few interesting properties is made by the client, an in-home visit can be arranged. This is especially useful for clients moving to a completely different city or state. Travel is so burdensome, most people try to avoid it whenever possible.
Virtual property tours help eliminate some elements that could pose a health risk to a leasing agent or seller, and these tours can also speed up the process if you’re looking to find investment properties quickly. There is no need to be physically present at all-day open houses. This removes the potential associated with contact amongst strangers and the need to be in closed spaces with people. It also minimizes the number of times a home’s contact areas need to be sanitized. Communication can be done via text, email, and phone before any actual viewing of the property is done. A virtual tour also removes the threat of someone sketchy walking into an open house.
When a potential renter or buyer has visited a home virtually–and they can visit as often as they like–arrangements can be made for a tour of the property, in person. An appointment to view a home is done in a planned manner, unlike a spontaneous stop because someone sees an open house sign. Safety measures can be addressed, like asking everyone to wear a mask, sanitizing often touched surfaces, and opening doors and windows for ventilation. These procedures are done for the benefit of everyone, clients, and agents alike.
Pandemic or not, who would not want to reduce the stress in their life? Virtual leasing and selling can reduce the number of factors that increase stress. When you do not have to depend on the schedule of a print shop for cards and flyers, you do not have to spend day upon day driving around to visit homes with clients, you can vet serious clients through virtual methods and you save wear and tear on your car, and gas dollars, why would you conduct your real estate business in any other fashion?
The rest of the world may have been pushed into doing business virtually with the onset of Covid-19, but the real estate market has taken the challenge of virtual business and come up smiling. This is the future.
This article has been contributed by Abodo Apartments.