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The COVID-19 outbreak in our country is making real estate agents reliant on digital technologies to show home listings. Today, we have mobile apps at our disposal which allow agents to not only market home listings, but interact directly with clients. Because many home buyers are unable to view a home in person, a virtual walkthrough is a viable alternative at this time. As we continue to practice social distancing and other safety guidelines, there are several actions that agents can take to ensure the success of their virtual showings in 2020 and beyond. 

Know your route 

Real estate agents need to plan ahead before hosting a virtual house tour. A potential buyer will see whether or not you have taken the time to do your homework before walking them through the home. The agent should know the path they will take before they host a virtual home tour. You want to be sure that progress through the rooms of a home in an order that makes sense. In other words, you do not want to be walking back and forth multiple times because you did not show the client an area of the home. 

Anticipate questions from buyers

As is the case for in person showings, the typical home buyer will ask several questions throughout a virtual showing. Because you will likely be prompted with a variety of questions from prospective buyers, you need to be ready for them. This is another area where preparation is key to hosting a successful virtual showing. You don’t want to find yourself in situations where you can’t answer a client’s questions because you did not plan for them.

Ensure there is quality lighting

Poor lighting is one of the more common mistakes a real estate agent can make when hosting a virtual showing. Unnecessary shadows can make it difficult for prospective buyers to see a home from their phone, tablet, and computer screen. Be sure to turn on all lights and open window shades throughout your home before you connect with a client digitally.

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In these times of social distancing, open houses are not a feasible option for real estate agents. Even with people wearing face masks and maintaining a safe distance from one another, in person showings present too many risks at this time. However, real estate agents have the luxury of shared video platforms like Zoom and FaceTime as a way to show home listings to potential buyers. Although they were already in use before the COVID-19 outbreak, they have increased in popularity in the last several weeks. A guided walk through using a shared video platform allows a buyer to see a home in its entirety from behind a screen. People are still looking to purchase homes during this pandemic so real estate agents are having to adjust from traditional operations to promote safety. Although there is a slight learning curve for some agents, virtual showings have been well-received overall. 

Video creates a sense of community

Real estate agents are able to demonstrate their commitment to their clients by the usage of video platforms at this time. By getting everyone on the video together underlines that we are all in this together as we work together through this crisis to solve problems. 

Note: At least one of the agents should be on the video to control the conversation if either party becomes overly communicative. 

Tips for virtual showings

Tip 1: Remember to always act professional and dress as if you are in an in person showing.

Tip 2: Record the showing for future reference and to show other buyers.

Tip 3: Plan out your route beforehand and ensure there is ample lighting.

Benefits of virtual showings

Benefit 1: People will be viewing homes in this manner in the future (especially on the first showing). You can get a jump start on this new method now to get ahead of the curve. 

Benefit 2: For many buyers, this will be the first time they used a video platform as a means to buy a home. They will remember this and share their positive experience working with you with their friends and family members. 

Benefit 3: When done well, having the sellers involved and engaged with virtual showings can work wonders toward creating a bond that increases the value of the home.

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Although many homebuyers and sellers are questioning their real estate plans this spring, interest rates are low, causing a strong demand for buying and selling homes. Real estate agents must change their approach to accommodate the needs of homebuyers and sellers in 2020. With the help of technology to conduct business virtually, many agents are still working with limited or no person-to-person contact. Even with the use of technology in their favor, one area that has always puzzled real estate agents is contract writing. Below are some important points that real estate agents should understand about contract writing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A contingency will help to accommodate uncertainty.

One of the best steps an agent can take is to include a contingency stating that a home inspection will be performed after the state lifts restrictions brought on by COVID-19. This element of your contract will help to accommodate the uncertainty surrounding the process of buying a property without seeing it in person.

Briefing your client will help them to navigate the process.

During your first conversation with the client, you want to inform them that writing a contract without physically seeing a home is not unusual. This approach is becoming more common as a casual way to establish the process. 

Examples of phrases:

“It is safer for everyone. And of course, you can see the home before closing and if there is a problem we can address it and have anything we need corrected then.”

“Virtual viewings allow for multiple trips to the same house and eliminate other homes from your list more quickly.” 

Taking the right steps will ensure a smoother process overall. 

By embracing technology and the future, you have learned new skills that you can use for years to come. Following the changes presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, methods of selling homes with less physical interaction may be the preferred way of doing business for the foreseeable future.

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The majority of Americans have limited experience when it comes to buying and selling homes. This is especially true for the younger generations of homebuyers in the United States. If real estate agents present virtual home shopping as an accepted method for selecting a home, buyers are less likely to question it and push back. If enough agents transition to virtual applications, we can expect to see a shift from traditional real estate practices over the next few years. Not only is the modern-day approach to real estate safer and easier for clients,  but it also allows agents to conduct more business in the same amount of time. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has many real estate companies transitioning over to digital technologies to connect with buyers and sellers. Virtual tours have been extremely popular over the last several weeks as an effective alternative to in person home showings. Virtual house tours are time savers, they help buyers narrow their search, and they support the concept of social distancing. Although they are not allowed in every state, we are seeing more real estate agents use e-notarizations to conduct virtual closings as well.

The professionals in the real estate community whose average age is above 50 need to adjust to these new practices. The agents that take a progressive approach will reap incredible rewards and ones that don’t will be left behind as we have seen before. For years, there were many agents who did not want to put their email address on their business cards, couldn’t fathom why they would ever need a professional website, and fought against the idea of social media. Today, those agents who resist change will miss an opportunity to grow their business.

The real estate agents who embrace change will spend less time sitting in traffic, land more sales, and have greater job satisfaction. Change is inevitable within the real estate industry and these agents ahead of the curve will also be better positioned to embrace future changes as well.

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During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many real estate agents are finding new ways to thrive in an unprecedented state of the industry. By using technology to conduct business virtually, many real estate agents remain successful without person-to-person contact in their roles.

As professionals, we must always anticipate the next significant change coming our way. To protect the health of both industry professionals and clients, this transition from traditional real estate practices to more virtual applications is critical at this time. From virtual showings and video chats to social media, text messages, and phone calls, agents can utilize several different ways to engage with clients without person-to-person contact. 

While physical health is the top priority for many individuals during the COVID-19 outbreak, real estate agents cannot disregard their businesses. By implementing precautionary adjustments to technology and new approaches to industry practices, estate agents can remain safe, as well as continue to grow their business in 2020. Over time, these lessons learned throughout this pandemic may also be applied to day-to-day operations for years to come. Although the roles of real estate agents may seem different during this time, these roles may also become easier, and even more profitable in upcoming months. 

If you have additional questions, USHUD remains available to assist you during these times of uncertainty. By receiving the right support, real estate professionals can make the most out of this challenging situation and improve the industry for the future.

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The traditional real estate transaction is a process that consists of multiple in-person meetings and an abundance of paperwork. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S, real estate businesses are transitioning from traditional methods to a wide variety of digital technologies to support social distancing. 

As real estate businesses continue to integrate these technologies into their everyday practices, we can expect the industry as a whole to become more technologically dependent moving forward. Here are a few examples of how real estate companies are changing their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate both buyers and sellers. 

Virtual 3D Home Tours 

American homebuyers have been reliant on virtual 3D home tours since the outbreak of COVID-19 in our country. By using a panoramic photo over a smart device, a seller, property manager, or real estate agent can upload these tours online as an alternative to in-person showings. Also, we are seeing more agents use video chat services like Zoom or FaceTime to show homes at this time.

Digital tools

A home buyer who wishes to buy a custom home in 2020 can use an interactive digital tool to help them with that entire process. With the help of one of these tools, a buyer can design a home and with mapping applications, can see how it would look once constructed in the neighborhood. Many of these digital tools even allow the customer to follow along with the construction of the home as it is being built.

Alternative appraisal methods

Many appraisers today are using online data and public information to formulate values on homes as a means to support social distancing.

Remote online notarization

How does a buyer close on a home when many documents require in-person notarization? Because COVID-19 is causing people to remain at home, some states, like Maryland, have adopted remote online notarization (RON) in response to the virus. While it is not currently legal in every state, other states may also adopt RON over time.

 

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