The spring season of 2020 was expected to see a surge in the Real Estate sector as before, but the COVID-19 pandemic created an unexpected national lockdown that brought the economy to a grinding halt. Real Estate sales dropped across all states, and potential buyers and sellers began to move away from the market, as fears of financial security and future market value of the property became the primary choke points. With travel restrictions and active social distancing guidelines, Real Estate agents no longer have the clientele as before, as transactions do require personal interaction.
The pandemic has left them with little options, but to tap the online market for leads; both from potential buyers and sellers, as Real Estate brokerage activities were not included in the list of essential services across the country. Property listing websites have become the preferred channel for Real Estate marketing, and Zoom and other video conferencing services are becoming the communication necessities in these times. With such a shift toward digital platforms in the real estate sector, we now present a few best practices that can help agents close a real estate deal during the current pandemic.
Have an effective online presence
In order to operate a real estate business online, agents would need much more than an online portfolio. A fully equipped Real Estate website, along with integrated listings and search facilities would certainly help get more customers. With the market slowly moving to an online platform, it’s also quite essential that agents also have a good digital marketing strategy so that they can be featured in local search listings and clients can easily locate them online.
Having a mobile-friendly, fast loading and easily searchable website will help in a long way to attract potential clients who can communicate online. Social Media is also going to be a tremendous influencer at this stage, so it’s imperative that realtors have an active social media profile-which should be integrated with their marketing efforts.
Investing in Virtual Technology
With the current restrictions on travel and the essential social distancing guidelines, digital tools are slowly replacing in-person interactions. Property visits can now be conducted through a video conferencing tool such as Zoom, or FaceTime. Buyers can look at a property through a video recording that would show them through its features. Open Houses are slowly moving digital; with online tours and 3-D Renditions replacing a need for scheduled open house-as buyers can anytime view a virtual tour of the property online.
The shift has made it necessary for realtors to invest in time, capital, and effort to understand and implement these technology shifts. It’s quite essential for realtors to get the digital advantage, as the current situation may see a gradual shift towards virtual client engagement. For all of those who are still at the lower end of the digital ladder, now is the time to invest in a good real estate website, and also an integrated CRM to better manage your Real Estate business. Not only does this make such realtors sustain during these times, but also prepares and equips them for a future-which might be largely digitally driven.
Remote Notarization and Online Documentation
The current COVID-19 has brought in restrictions on travel and compulsory social distancing, which often hinders normal business meetings, and especially impacts certain areas such as legal notarization-for which buyers and sellers would have to be physically present before a notary. Fortunately, remote notarization did start much before the pandemic began-as early as in 2011 when Virginia first enacted a law permitting remote notarization and has been steadily gaining prominence.
With the current pandemic, many states have made remote online notarization effective in their laws, which have greatly helped the real estate industry close on past and current deals. This makes it easy for buyers, sellers, financial institutions, and title companies to conduct business during the current times, as legal documents can be attested through the usage of video conferencing facilities that does away with in-person interactions.
Certain states also offer electronic closing of property deals wherever applicable-to the extent possible. Mortgage firms and Title companies would also be moving to a digital platform, and you can check with them on the options available for the current situation. The option of having an “Escrow Closing”, where the deal would be handled by a third-party till execution can also be looked into as a possible solution during the current times.
Realtors can use the above information and latest developments to educate their clients on the available online options to proceed with the deal. This does way with the deliberations that many buyers and sellers would have on proceeding with a real estate deal that requires extensive in-person interactions, as the process can now be moved to an online platform to the extent possible. This would not completely do away with situations that do require a physical interaction-but would reduce the need for them.
The above ways can surely help realtors in the current times, as they can move towards the latest technology solutions that help them get leads, and can also help impact lead engagement and drive optimal closures.