The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how real estate professionals are conducting business, and there is no way around it. The shelter-in-place orders and the mandate for social distancing have caused real estate agents to find new, unusual ways to keep the business moving forward and thriving.
One tool agents have used to generate buyer interest is by conducting virtual open houses and tours. Doors are now closed to large groups, so technology is the new way of doing things. Although virtual 3D real estate tours are nothing new, they are gaining in popularity now that the pandemic has limited the ability to market and show their properties. If you haven’t started using technology in your business model, now is the time to learn how.
Impact on Showings and Open Houses
As the United States became aware of COVID-19, real estate agents began carrying disinfectants and bottles of hand sanitizers to their listings. They opened doors and cabinets for clients, while others handed out gloves and booties to buyers as they entered the listing. As social distancing became more popular, many brokerages, sellers, and agents started canceling their open houses and instead began offering showings by appointment only.
As additional states have mandated shut-downs and called for residents to stay home to help curb the virus, most open house events have been stopped altogether. Some states, such as Illinois, Ohio, and Connecticut, have called real estate an essential business. This allowed in-person showings to continue. But states such as New York and California have stopped all in-person interactions for real estate, and the sector has been called nonessential. The usual business proceedings don’t look the same in these states, but agents have been trying to find new ideas for marketing and showing houses.
Increase of 3D Virtual Real Estate Tours
As Minnesota home buyers are not venturing out of their current residences, they are shopping for the perfect home by utilizing virtual tours. Photos are essential to any listing, but there are limits to getting a full grasp of the space. You have to use imagination to understand the flow of different spaces within a house. With a virtual tour, you can see every room’s angle and perspective, and you understand the layout of the flooring and the ceiling. Potential sellers can move through the various spaces, go up and down stairways, venture through hallways, and have a feel of the home’s flow.
Some agents are using advanced 3D virtual tour technology, and others are merely using everyday technology already at their disposal. One agent has videotaped her listings using her cell phone and posted them on her website and Facebook page. Facebook, FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype are helping real estate agents adapt to the current crisis so they don’t have to learn new technology or drain their small marketing budgets.
Buying Sight Unseen
Several real estate agents say virtual tours along with the COVID-19 mandates will cause a rise in the number of properties people will purchase sight unseen. Only time will tell how these virtual tours will affect real estate transactions. As of right now, home buyers are still searching and browsing properties online. Any method you can try to market and show listings will draw the customers’ attention.
Minnesota Real Estate Professional
If you are in the market for a new home and trying to navigate the many COVID-19 restrictions, contact Wendy Gimpel. She is offering virtual showings to clients with iPhones in the Stillwater area and surrounding communities for everyone’s safety. Wendy’s knowledge and experience in the real estate industry will help you find the perfect home. Her expertise in the high-demand and fast-paced local market has ranked her consistently the number one Keller Williams real estate agent in the St. Croix Valley. Contact Wendy today for more information.