Real Estate has a reputation for being slow to adopt technology. Recent conditions around COVID-19 and social distancing have forced every sector to look deep into tech solutions. Part of why agents may be slow to adapt to new technology is because they know personal interaction is key to making meaningful relationships and a smooth deal. However, virtual meetings and live video tours aren’t new to many agents who work with relocating buyers. What has changed is that for many, for a period of time, that was the only option.
Let’s step back a second and look at the bigger picture. Brick and mortar retail locations were losing the competition to digital storefronts before coronavirus came onto the scene. Grocery stores were moving to self-check out and online orders. Banks have been offering secure apps with more and more digital features reducing the need to pop into the local branch. People have used technology in their daily lives more and more for three simple reasons. Convenience. Choice. Comparison.
The 3 Cs of digital shopping have firmly taken hold and will change the face of real estate forever. Previously, a buyer would have to leave work or fill their evenings and weekends to tour properties that fit their preferences. In a market with tight inventory, that was difficult to do quickly. However, now, your real estate agent can tour the property with you virtually from the convenience of your home office. This allows Buyers to view more properties quicker and make comparisons so they can find the perfect fit before committing to taking a weekend or time off work to tour a home in person.
Recently, ActivePipe started allowing prospects to request a private showing right from the intelligent emails sent through the app. This allows the agents, seller and buyer to make a choice - when and how, either a private or virtual showing, will take place.
Choice is more important to consumers than ever. There are as many opinions about masks, viruses, and social distancing as there are people. The one size fits all private tours isn’t a solution for all Sellers, who may still be occupying a home and want to limit their exposure from people visiting it. Even after this pandemic, homeowners can avoid locking up valuables and medications every time someone wants to tour their home. Virtual Live Tours increase choice for both Buyers and Sellers.
Demand is still quite present in many markets where inventory is low. Sellers who provide live virtual tours increase the chance they may take advantage of a competitive buying situation. Buyers in those markets must act fast as limited inventory is being swept off the market. Plus, people are looking to move away from big cities amid this crisis. Sellers who use agents adept at virtual live tours open up the possibility that more possible buyers from across the country or even the world may find their home as the perfect match.
While no one knows how long we will be adjusting our social norms for COVID-19, you can be sure Buyer and Sellers will want to retain the convenience, comparison and choice that virtual technologies provide.
Mike Feller is the Chief Revenue Officer at ActivePipe.