In these rapidly changing times where social distancing and frequent handwashing have evolved as the daily mantra, the COVID-19 virus is reshaping the way real estate pros hold open houses, list homes, transact, submit buyers’ offers and even scan documents.
Real estate has always been a highly personable interaction between agents and clients who are used to kicking off the deal with a handshake, driving together to the showing and walking the property together.
Yet as public officials advise people to keep a safe distance in their interactions with others, navigating this new age may require a little tweaking in the way we list, show and close deals.
Fortunately, there’s a wide array of real estate technology that can keep the transaction personalized while helping keep both the agent and the client protected.
Make sure to download the PDF version of this guide and share it with other agents and brokers who could leverage this information.
Many real estate brokerages are mandating work-from-home policies, especially for agents and admins exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms. The good news is there’s plenty of real estate technology to help agents stay connected with clients and manage the transaction.
According to dotloop integrations partner BombBomb, video in email can translate into an 80%+ increase in responsiveness among its clients. Make sure to include all the standard features like bedroom count and property size, open house details and your contact information, but also use the opportunity video affords to tell a story.
Some video apps like Animoto enable agents to deliver personable emails and social messaging in the form of slideshows, testimonials and other marketing formats using pre-built storyboards, drag and drop interfaces, and music. In addition to providing a great tool for video walkthroughs, BombBomb helps agents keep in close contact with past and prospective clients. Best of all, you can integrate it with your transaction management system to eliminate repetitive data entry and reduce manual errors while keeping your database updated.
A wide array of virtual and 3D tech options let agents and clients skip the in-person open house altogether. While a virtual open house can’t replace an in-home visit, tech-enabled tours help homebuyers make more informed decisions and narrow their selection.
Many agents are holding “Showings on Demand,” in which clients schedule virtual tours with video chats. Matterport, for instance, offers 3D virtual tours with 4K print-quality photos that can be posted on social media and published to Google Street View or embedded on your website, while Sky Blue Media offers architectural photography, floor plans, HD video and more. Another great, free option is Zillow 3D Home which helps you create an immersive experience where visitors can easily move from room to room and explore an entire home from their computer or phone.
Others are inviting buyers to tour homes using interactive FaceTime calls on their phones or Facebook Live on social to show prospective buyers listings in real-time.
When people do attend, take a sanitary check. Keep a box of disinfectant wipes in your car for wiping down surfaces and, if you’re lucky enough to find hand sanitizer, keep a bottle and hand soap in the homes you’re showing. Make sure to clean doorknobs, light switches and other commonly touched surfaces around the entranceways, kitchens and bathrooms.
The most efficient real estate teams and brokerages rely on virtual office tech tools like Slack, which lets agents, admins and brokers chat with one or more direct messages or establish channels with groups of recipients. Slack can be downloaded on your phone so you can stay in touch when you’re out of the office, and you can integrate it with many other platforms.
While messaging tools are great, make time for face-to-face conversations — digitally that is. With tools like Zoom, BlueJeans and Google Hangouts brokerages and teams can easily jump on meetings in a moment’s notice. While digital meetings are not a new concept, there are some best practices and tips to consider:
The current situation with COVID-19 is a fluid one with changes and updates happening every day. As a leader, having a set time where any team member can connect with you to ask questions will help ease concerns and drive solidarity.
Tech tools can help keep you, your admins and clients organized and on task. Digital board organizers like Trello help teams collaborate and organize projects into drag-and-drop digital cards to help visualize progress.
Another great tool is dotloop’s Task Manager, which allows you to keep deals moving by assigning tasks to yourself and other people in the transaction. For instance, if you need to get your client to get their house ready for a showing, create a task in their loop with a time and date prior to the showing.
Regardless of the platform you choose, it’s imperative that you stay as organized as possible to keep deals moving.
If you’re not already marketing with social media, now’s the time to start. A social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer can help schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram simultaneously to make it easier to build brand awareness and generate new leads, while an analytics section lets you track followers and see where they’re engaging.
In uncertain times where markets can be unpredictable, social media can play a powerful role if you post frequently with quality content that’s three-parts helpful buyer and seller information and one-part fun, inspirational and promotional posts.
Any agent can channel their inner graphic artist with tools like Canva, an online graphic design tool that simplifies marketing collateral with a drag-and-drop interface, photographs, fonts and graphics to import or select, and an array of template options, like real flyers, postcards and brochures, specifically made for real estate agents.
While dotloop is designed to streamline all online collaboration, there are some features that can come in handy during this time when many are working from home and social distancing is encouraged.
Our current situation might create downtime for many real estate pros. However, we can choose to be passive or we can choose to invest in self-development. With all the online resources out there, this is the perfect opportunity to do some elearning. Here are some great online resources to get you started:
Connect your transaction system with your Google Suite to sync contacts with Gmail, listing appointments and showings with Google Calendar, notes in Google Keep and reports in Google Sheets. You can also video chat with Google Hangouts. The Google Suite lets you connect to the cloud to collaborate seamlessly with enhanced security, data backup and other recovery features.
What tips, tricks and general practices are you following to help move your business forward in these challenging times? Please share your comments below.