Virtual Tools For Pandemic Real Estate Marketing And Sales
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Well before the pandemic started, real estate agents were using virtual tools to help their clients buy and sell houses. COVID-19, mask mandates, and stay-at-home orders, have accelerated their necessity and variety as the market has continued to adapt and evolve.
Real estate agents have had to pivot to keep up with the ever-changing COVID landscape and regulations. Here are some tools for agents that will help them stay safe while continuing to close deals.
1. Remote tours
According to a Redfin survey of 2000 individuals who bought a home in 2020, 63 percent submitted an offer without touring the house in person. That number is up 32 percent from 2019. Numerous platforms offer virtual real estate tours.
Eyespy360, RICOH360, Matterport, and Cupix make the tours for you and provide a link that can be sent to prospective buyers. Agents can Livestream tours using Facetime, Facebook, and Skype.
2. Drone footage
Hire a freelance drone pilot to take footage of residential or commercial properties including malls and business complexes. If you are selling large parcels of land such as a farm, ranch, or estate, drone footage is particularly essential to give buyers the best picture of the property.
Pilots can join networks such as Droners.io or Dronebase to connect with agents or sellers looking to purchase their services.
3. Virtual showings
Part of the new normal for real estate transactions during a pandemic are virtual showings. The agent is the only person at the property and conducts a tour while prospective buyer(s) watch by computer, phone, or i-pad. A tour goes room to room just as if the buyer were there in person opening the cabinets and peering in the attic.
RingCentral, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, and Zoom can all be used for virtual showings. Zoom currently dominates the market and has the most name recognition, but more options are rapidly becoming available.
4. Virtual floor plans
Need a virtual floor plan to market your property? Check out RoomSketcher for a 3D rendering with a click of a button. You can view rooms from many vantage points like you are there in person. They also help determine if existing furniture will fit.
5. Digital flyers
Real estate text lead capture tools like Pro Agent Solutions Digital Flyers are a contactless way for agents to track and generate more listing leads. You are notified by text when someone is interested in your listing. The system automatically and promptly responds to inquiries by text 24 x7 with pictures, price, and a description. Capture curbside leads you would otherwise miss!
6. Exterior-only inspections
The guidelines and regulations differ from state to state, but there has been more flexibility during the pandemic to allow exterior-only inspections. The health benefits are clear of having one less person entering a home but a lender may ask for more documentation.
Buyers buying with cash can skip inspections altogether, but going that route may not be in their best interest. Ask your lender if an exterior-only inspection is an option in your area.
7. Desktop appraisals
A desktop appraisal occurs when an appraiser does a property valuation without visiting the listing in person. Tax records and MLS data are used to compute the valuation.
Pre-COVID-19 desktop appraisals were more commonly used for HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) applications and sometimes allowed for refinancing. Not all lenders will accept a desktop appraisal but there has been more willingness due to the pandemic.
8. Virtual Closings
In the good old days, buyers, sellers, their agents, and lenders would all have to agree on a closing date and be there in person to sign the necessary documents. The convenience of virtual closings was gaining popularity pre-COVID-19.
Out-of-state and investment property buyers demanded a solution that did not require them to be there in person. Virtual closings have really taken off since the pandemic.
Some states have temporarily allowed remote closings but have not made them permanently legal. However, it’s difficult to imagine buyers and sellers wanting to go back to in-person closings once the pandemic is over.
It’s getting really stale to state “the pandemic has changed everything” and “we are living in a new normal,” but COVID-19 has certainly changed real estate forever. People need to be able to buy and sell houses. There are many virtual tools available to help agents and their clients stay safe while still allowing