Given today’s need for caution, safety, and social distancing, doing business virtually has become the new normal. As a result, there have been pronounced changes within certain industries. One in particular is real estate.
Real estate transactions are most often the largest financial deal a person makes in a lifetime. Because of this, industry professionals have relied on person to person business activity to achieve results. Traditionally, buyers want to physically tour homes before offering a purchase agreement. Real estate agents want to tour homes before providing sellers with a comparative market analysis. But that has all changed. Now industry professionals are moving toward virtual real estate transactions.
“Virtual real estate is our new reality when it comes to buying and selling homes,” says Michelle Larnard, owner/broker of Michelle Larnard Real Estate Group. “In light of current market challenges and in order to keep our clients safe, we have found creative solutions for every step. In many cases doing business virtually has improved the real estate process. While we are working differently, we are still experiencing success.”
According to Larnard, FaceTime is an invaluable tool for viewing properties and advising owners on how to prepare a home for sale. They are also screening potential buyers to determine their level of interest before showing a property. Inspections are performed virtually or with the owners not there. In all cases, they adhere strictly to CDC guidelines.
“When it comes to purchase agreements and closings, we are relying more than ever on electronic documents and signatures," says Larnard. "In fact, many documents can be signed virtually. Those that can’t, we obtain signatures via social distancing.”
An area where Larnard says virtual technology has also had a positive impact is home tours. Normally this requires an agent touring potential properties with buyers. It involves person to person contact and takes a lot of time, especially at the beginning stage of the process. But with virtual technology, buyers can view properties on-line without leaving their homes. Virtual and three dimensional Matterport tours make it possible for clients to walk through properties in minutes where it once took hours.
Another virtual technique Larnard and her team use for some properties is virtual staging. According to the National Association of Realtors, 77% of real estate agents say staging helps sell a home. “What’s nice,” says Larnard, “is that virtual staging not only eliminates person to person contact altogether, it’s an ideal way to showcase and market properties that are vacant.”
As businesses adapt to the new normal, virtual reality will continue transforming how we work in ways we never thought possible. Below is a guide that outlines how Michelle Larnard Real Estate Group is employing virtual techniques to keep their clients safe and still achieve positive results.