The outbreak of coronavirus has changed the real estate industry forever. These changes have long been in the works, with emerging technology ascending to the forefront of all facets of the industry and making life easier for consumers and agents alike. Social distancing, sheltering in place, and imposed quarantines have advanced the adoption rate of these technologies, all in the interest of the industry’s survival. However, the changes we are experiencing now will remain in place long after the coronavirus threat has been reduced and restrictions have been lifted, officially bringing us into a new era of business built on the back of these industry-saving instruments.
Over the last decade, the real estate industry has leveraged technology to make it easier than ever to conduct business, showcase homes, and communicate with the general public. Prominent examples include digital transaction applications that allow agents and their clients to track, review, and sign documents on mobile devices, and social media and video platforms that provide agents the power to push slick images and jaw-dropping clips of their listings to potential buyers at all corners of the globe. For consumers, this age of advancement and information has created a seamless process from start to finish and beyond the close. You can access homes for sale in real-time from the smart phone in your pocket, get a rough estimate of your home’s value, and connect with an agent via video chat to run through your options. Never before has it been this easy to access and provide information, regardless of which side of the table you occupy.
As we continue to adapt our businesses to accommodate current restrictions on in-person contact, the tools and techniques we use will be refined as well. Inside of every real estate professional is an entrepreneurial spirit, looking for voids in the market and providing a solution to fill those gaps. The coronavirus outbreak exposed many flaws in the industry that were long-held standards of practice. No more in-person meetings or showings, and forget about open houses, a staple of many real estate professionals’ businesses. But to its credit, the industry has worked quickly to adapt. Local real estate boards started supporting virtual open houses, allowing agents to give a first-person video tour of a home through video conferencing software or to use live videos on social media. Agents offer polished first impressions of a property through virtual video tours using drones and high-def cameras. Some have even relied on immersive floor plans to create a first-person tour the viewer can control with a finger swipe or click. All of these cool features existed prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but the virus turned them from supplemental features to necessary vehicles for delivering high-quality information and engagement to promote a property. These are the building blocks for marketing a property in this new era of real estate.
We may not be able to predict when life will return to anything that resembles the “normal” we were accustomed to, but we can plan for the future of the industry while preparing for life post-pandemic. Sometimes, it takes experiencing the worst-case scenario to re-evaluate and come up with creative solutions to build a better long-term view. We remain confident we can use the experiences of this unfortunate, unprecedented situation to propel our business forward. The outlook of the real estate industry is undeniably bright, and we are eager to use lessons learned from the past to unlock possibilities and the potential of the future.