The real estate industry experienced a roller coaster ride during the pandemic.
During the spring months, sales were down due to lockdowns and mandatory quarantine. After these months, sales increased again. Many people wanted to leave the denser cities. They wanted to live in the suburbs or rural areas instead. Thus, the demand for suburban and rural homes increased.
But buying a house in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is not easy. The real estate industry had to innovate to drive sales and help customers who still want to buy property.
The many changes brought by the pandemic did prove to be helpful and convenient. Thus, they are most likely to stay even after the pandemic.
Remote Buying and Virtual Tours
Several restrictions were implemented when the pandemic started. These restrictions include staying at home. So people are now buying everything online.
That includes real estate property. Thanks to technology, remote buying is now possible.
This mode of property buying removes many pain points for consumers. For example, you no longer have to go through an entire day of house hunting. And no more awkward conversations with real estate agents. You can do your house hunting online by checking asynchronous virtual tours. And since you can easily check several houses in a day, you spend less time looking for a home. The National Association of Realtors found that home buyers spent a median of 8 weeks in their home search.
Also, your conversations with agents will be more intentional. Since you’ve already skimmed through the virtual tour of a property, your discussions with the agent will be more focused on your concerns.
You can request a live virtual tour if you’re not satisfied with a virtual tour. An agent will go to the property on your behalf. Trust issues may become a barrier here. But in the end, you’ll have to believe that your agent has your best interests in mind. You can ask them to check on aspects of the property that you can’t check through the asynchronous tour.
Buying a home remotely is very convenient and, more often than not, fast. This mode of property buying is beneficial to people who are more vulnerable, such as immunocompromised individuals. Thus, this mode of property buying will likely continue even after the pandemic.
Digitization of Documents
Buying a home virtually also means changes in the way documents are distributed between parties. Before the pandemic, physical documents need to be exchanged between all parties. For example, you can send digitized loan documents to the bank. If you want to request documents from the seller, such as a copy of the electrical condition report of the property, you can do so via email.
But not all documents can be digitized. For example, some papers need physical signatures. Instead of sending digitized copies, you can send the physical document via parcel delivery instead.
The digitization of documents needed to buy a home has many benefits. For one, you automatically have backup copies of everything. You can store them in your cloud storage or print hard copies to keep. Also, digitization means faster transactions. You can exchange documents with other parties in real-time. You can use email or cloud storage.
The real estate industry has always used social media marketing in the past. But it has become more crucial during the pandemic and in the years to come. Since everyone’s at home, real estate agents rely on social media as a tool to market properties. Social media helps agents build their own brand online to attract potential buyers.
As a homebuyer, you can also use social media to your advantage. For example, you can check your agent’s credibility by browsing through their profile. What do their buyers and followers say about them? You will also see in an agent’s profile if they’re dedicated to what they’re doing, which will make them easier to trust. For example, how often do they post? Are the contents of their social media relevant?
You can also check if the way they “speak” on their social media account is professional.
Social media is also a great way to communicate with a real estate agent. For instance, in Facebook Messenger, you’ll see if the agent is online in real-time, which is convenient. You can check through their responses if they’re attentive and personal.
The innovations in the real estate industry can be considered a silver lining. They’ve made things much more convenient for homebuyers. And when these innovations continue to develop, it would be interesting to see how they can change the industry for the better.