Whether you are tech savvy or not, we’ve all been forced to lean on technology a lot more lately. Video conferencing has replaced many face-to-face interactions, both personally and professionally. Tools like virtual reality have allowed us to escape our homes, even when we are sitting on the couch. We are using our devices more than ever to stay connected. Real estate technology has become vital for us to run our business.
We’re still a long way from getting back to life as it was before COVID-19, and things that are happening during this pandemic will forever change certain aspects of society. We can’t wait to start giving out hugs and handshakes again, but who knows when that will really be possible?
Changing Real Estate Technology
As for technology, it was already changing our lives and our business long before the virus. Every year, there have been so many new advances and it can be hard to keep up. For the most part, real estate has remained a pretty old school business throughout it all. Some real estate agents have utilized ever-evolving real estate technology to their advantage and helped push the industry forward. Others cling to the old ways, which was fine enough until a couple months ago when our entire world changed in the blink of an eye.
The sad truth is that some real estate professionals have not been able to adapt to these changing times and they will struggle in the wake of COVID-19. As our local economy slowly starts to open back up, there are going to be very strict regulations placed on how Realtors® can conduct business. You can check out our recent blog article about “How the Real Estate Process is Changing Quickly,” and there have been even more developments in our local market since we posted that piece just a few weeks ago.
What Can We Expect?
Open houses are not going to be allowed for long while. In-person meetings, consultations, property tours and contract signings will be severely limited. Ultimately, real estate is about two things: people and houses. Being COVID-19 Compliant™ will mean less contact with both, and that definitely hinders our ability to sell homes. Or does it?
Throughout the rest of 2020, technology is going to be extremely important to the process of buying or selling a home. We must make use of it to replicate—as closely as possible—the traditional real estate experience. The more we learn and apply new ideas, the more we are seeing the potential for having certain technological resources as a permanent part of our business. Some things may actually improve the process if done right.
Ready to Adapt
The Cyr Team has always welcomed technology and utilized it to help our clients in whatever ways possible. It can streamline some parts of the home buying or selling process. We have been taking advantage of this downtime in our market to research even more technology and learn new ways we can conduct business with less disruption—no matter what COVID-19 regulations are put in place by the Pennsylvania and Delaware governments or the Suburban West Realtors® Association.
Virtual Home Tours
One great resource we will definitely be using is virtual home tour software. The more we learn about this and explore the possibilities, the more we see this as a real game-changer for our industry. We’re not just talking about highly edited video tours of properties that only show you what the seller wants you to see. We’re talking about highly interactive virtual tours that allow you to explore every corner of the house room-by-room. It’s the closest thing possible to being there in person. What’s neat about this technology is how we can host virtual property tours without ourselves or the buyers being there. There are two types of virtual home tours we envision:
- Live Interactive Broadcasts—We can have a virtual open house on live social media platforms. Interested buyers can follow along as we “walk” through the property. They can ask questions, make comments and even re-watch the archived broadcast later to see things they might have missed the first time around. This will be much more interactive and informative than a pre-recorded video tour.
- Personal Virtual Home Tours—We can also host virtual home tours on a one-on-one basis with prospective buyers. These will be much easier to schedule at the buyer’s convenience and we can conduct several of these on any given day without having to work around the seller’s schedule either. These types of virtual tours would be more personalized as we are only walking one client through the home at a time, thus allowing you to ask even more questions and gather all the information you need.
Streamlining the Process
Between pre-listing inspections and these interactive virtual home tours, we will be able to accomplish so much more in a lot less time while giving buyers plenty of information to narrow down their searches and make informed purchase decisions. From a selling perspective, it will greatly reduce the need for foot traffic going through your home and reduce the inconveniences that normally come with open houses and opening your property for scheduled home tours. Real estate technology will also be vital when it comes to activities like home inspections and home staging—especially in what we expect to be a fast-moving 2020 summer and fall market.
The buyer may ultimately still want and need to tour the property in person (with proper social distancing and sanitary precautions being taken of course) before they make a purchase offer. However, they will already be armed with much more information and insight than usual because they’ve experienced the virtual tour already. The in-person home tour may not need to be as long and sellers will feel better about opening up their houses to strangers when they know the buyers have a genuine interest in the property. Virtual tours essentially weed out the tire-kickers and looky-loos who frequent open houses. Only serious, qualified buyers will be walking through the house for sale.
Will a virtual home tour ever completely replace the experience of walking through a house in person? No. However, it will really make a huge difference to have this kind of technology in a post-COVID market and beyond, as it’s one more way to help streamline the real estate process. It’s just one great example of how technology could continue to change our industry for the better.
Check out the latest Cyr Team Minute:
How Can We Help?
If you are planning to buy or sell a home in the near future, or if you simply have questions about the changing real estate process, contact The Cyr Team today. We’ll be happy to schedule a video consultation to discuss your needs and goals. We’ll help you get started on the right foot and navigate these unique market conditions as smoothly and successfully as possible.