Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “COVID-19 has changed just about everything.” As people across the world have dealt with the pandemic and learned to live with its effects, we have changed nearly all aspects of life including how we shop, socialize, and travel. The way real estate is bought and sold has also undergone a dramatic transformation.
This spring, as parts of the country, began to reopen, real estate agents began to rethink how best to market and show houses. These professionals were keeping in mind not only their own safety but also for the safety of their clients. To this day, many buyers are still not comfortable touring a house in person and are looking for ways to engage with the process remotely. Sellers are changing their tactics as well in an effort to limit the number of people touring their homes and trying to limit interactions to serious buyers only.
We are seeing these new ideas primarily in the promotion of new listings. In attracting buyers to their properties, agents are flexing their creative muscles with three pandemic-friendly ways to promote their listings. Here’s what you need to know.
1) Digital flyers
If the pandemic has made you more aware of everything you touch, you’re certainly not alone. Rather than grabbing a paper flyer from a yard sign box and reaching for the hand sanitizer, many listing agents are using digital flyers. Pro Agent Solutions digital flyer real estate text message marketing software sends interested buyers, who request information, an immediate text with pictures, price, and description. Agents can also embed a website, virtual tour, or Facebook page in the digital flyers.
Simultaneously, the listing agent gets a text and email notifying them of the lead. If they call the prospect who requested the information immediately, they will still be standing in front of the listing.
2) Virtual tours
Gone are the days of posting just a few listing photos—virtual tours are the best new thing in the COVID-19 home buying era. By partnering with a firm like Matterport, sellers and listing agents can create a custom, virtual tour video. It gives potential buyers a more in-depth view of the house, layout, and any special features above and beyond what is visible in pictures. Virtual tours help attract serious buyers who are genuinely interested in the property.
3) Virtual showings
With the help of smartphones and tablets, homebuyers never need to set foot in the home before making a purchasing decision. Enter, the virtual showing. Buyers’ agents coordinate with listing agents to arrange virtual showings. As they tour the property, they provide live video to their clients. This allows buyers to tour properties at his or her own pace, emphasizing areas of interest for a closer view.
This is a perfect option for buyers looking to limit their person-to-person contact or buyers who are making a purchase from out of town. It is a simple technological solution to make the home buying process easier for any buyer.
While we can’t help but dream of a time when life “goes back to normal,” all signs are pointing to this new normal of home buying and selling being with us for the long haul. But with this change, there are plenty of opportunities for agents to leverage new tools and creative solutions to make the most of each listing for their clients. For your next listing, consider all the ways you can use technology to make the home buying process more virtual and safer for everyone involved.
No matter where you sit in the process—agent, buyer, or seller—there is no doubt you are operating differently in 2020. However, in many ways, the outlook in the housing market has never been better. Home sales are up significantly compared to even a year ago and mortgage applications are seeing a big increase as well. There are plenty of factors driving this trend from the movement toward the suburbs to record-low interest rates. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of opportunities for real estate agents to embrace technology.