Earning an income from the comfort of your couch sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? I personally have friends who have applied for remote-only positions, hoping to get the opportunity to do that very thing. Ask any of my real estate friends why they chose a career in real estate, and almost all of them will likely tell you they wanted to obtain a flexible schedule and they wanted the ability to work from home. What they quickly find out, though, is that the job requires them to be out and about more often than they originally anticipated due to meet and greets, buyer tours, listing appointments, staging days, open houses, and a plethora of other things that require them to be customer facing all the time.
So… what happens when working from home is no longer a luxurious option, but a requirement mandated by our government? What happens when real estate agents and brokers aren’t deemed as essential, so they are told to stop working immediately to slow the risk of COVID-19? Here are seven tips and tricks to real estate from home, for real.
Tip #1: Use Video Communication
With stay-at-home orders in place across our nation, it is now more important than ever that you and your team familiarize yourselves with video communication sources such as Facetime, Facebook video, or GoogleDuo. Being able to continue to meet your clients “face to face” will help them feel more comfortable with the idea of having you as an agent because not only will they be able to put a face to the name, but video communication gives a more personal feel than a basic email. For those of you who are using MoxiPresent, did you know that you can embed video elements into your created presentations? Try adding rich media to your bio or neighborhood news and see what kind of response you get!
Tip #2: Virtual tours & video walkthroughs
The housing market has been affected by COVID-19 as a result of a variety of factors, but more so because buyers are scared of meeting their agents at a home for a tour due to the risk of potential spread of COVID-19. How do you show them a home without actually being there to open the door for them? Easy! Matterport, Zillow, and other 3rd party sources now offer you a way to create a 3D tour for your buyers. You can also use your cell phone to record a walkthrough of the property to give the customer a realistic sense of how the home feels. Both of these avenues allow your buyer to see the home, while still being able to social distance. You can then easily embed videos or create your own buyer tour within MoxiPresent.
Tip #3: Stick to individual home showings
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people don’t have gatherings of six people or more to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Instead of hosting a large open house for potential buyers, try video communication (tip #1) or virtual tours (tip #2) to help. Some states consider real estate to be an essential business, while others don’t, which means you may or may not be able to conduct in-person showings. If your buyer is determined to see the property in person, don’t feel obligated to risk your health to show them a house this week. Try to reschedule as best as possible. That being said, if you decide to, you can schedule a time to do an individual showing. Just remember to keep your distance and take the necessary precautions to keep you, and your clients safe.
Tip #4: Your CRM is your friend
Regardless of whether or not you are working from home or in an office, one of the biggest mistakes that an agent/broker can make is forgetting about their CRM. For those of you who don’t know what that is, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager, which is a fancy term for a software system that allows you to manage client relationships and track data. We’ve seen first-hand how MoxiEngage helps real estate professionals stay organized even in the midst of all this chaos. Since it’s designed specifically for real estate, it allows agents to follow their sales flow and communication cadences set for each client in order to stay engaged with their sphere and maintain productivity, even in times of uncertainty. It’s all about keeping your book of business organized and to help fill your pipeline.
Tip #5: Visual and Online Marketing
As we know, leaving the house isn’t really an option these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sellers are wondering if putting their house on the market is even a good idea if nobody will be able to see it. As an agent, it is your job to guide them in the right direction and help them understand there are other ways people can see the home. Marketing that home in ways that can highlight the property visually, is key. For example, MoxiWorks provides you with marketing materials that you can use the moment your listing hits the market. These materials are focused on providing real time property data and are highly visual, creating an engaging experience for recipients. If your buyer is more traditional, feel free to print out the PDF and send them a flyer. If your clientele is younger and more tech savvy, leverage email templates and pre-populated posts for different social media platforms to ensure maximized exposure.
Tip #6: Utilize your Seller
Most of us are stuck in our houses with kids, pets, and chaos, so finding a time where your seller is not home is very unlikely right now. Instead of hiring a staging company or scheduling a time where the owners can take a walk with their dog so you can show the property, use your seller and their “free time” to your advantage. Ask them to capture videos of certain rooms for you. I’m sure they would be happy to help if it allows them to sell quicker!
Tip #7: Provide a personal touch
Have you ever walked through a store in the mall, just to browse and get a feel of what was there, or to waste time while you’re waiting for your watch to be engraved? Most of the time we get that sales associate who comes up, asking if we are searching for something specific and won’t leave us alone, even though we tell them we’re “just looking.” As consumers, we don’t like to be sold, especially in times of uncertainty. Reach out to your prospects and clients with a simple goal: To ensure they are safe and healthy, and to let them know you’re thinking of them and wishing them the best. Too many people want to force a sale, not enough of them want to take the time to connect on a human level. Don’t forget that sometimes just a simple smile or hello can go a long way.
By Maddie Jostol, Marketing Manager
Virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D imaging, mixed reality – overwhelmed yet? These flourishing technologies are just getting started. Yes, even imagery and video are getting more advanced. If you think these things aren’t going to start seeping into your role as a real estate agent, think again. They already have. Don’t worry though – in many cases, they’re actually helping agents deliver a higher level of service to home buyers. The way we show spaces is no longer limited to open houses and still images – there’s a whole array of options for experiencing a space even when you aren’t physically in it.
First, let’s define VR and AR since they’re buzzwords that might be unclear.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is the more immersive experience, as a computer-generated simulation of a realistic situation. VR typically requires a headset display – yes, those big, futuristic-looking goggles. It immerses the user in an entirely new environment, so it is often used for gaming, entertainment, and training. Think: flight simulators.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality does not close people off to their surroundings like VR does. In fact, it simply augments the user’s current surroundings, enhancing or changing aspects of reality. It adds new layers of content to reality in order to enhance a person’s experience. Think: Pokémon Go.
So, how are these tech advances working their way into the world of real estate? Here are a few ways.
Create a virtual tour to show off a property. Rather than a prospective buyer having to drive out to the property and view it in person, a video walk-thorough can serve as an effective introduction to the property so they can decide if they’d like to take the next step. Services such as Matterport enable agents to construct 3D walk-throughs of a listing. Basically, it models the space so the viewer can experience the space just like they would in reality. 3D imaging offers a true experience, giving a potential buyer a true feeling for how the space is situated and laid out.
Tip: even if you don’t have a high-tech tool to accomplish a 3D walk-through, you can still add a video walk-through to your listing presentations. It lends a personal touch and enables the prospective buyer to truly experience the home and picture their own life taking place there. With the incredible quality of smartphone cameras now, you can accomplish this without investing in expensive video equipment.
Virtual staging is a rising trend in real estate – it means augmenting images of the home to enhance or update the space. PadStyler, for example, specializes in virtual home staging and makes it especially simple for agents. Agents pay a flat fee for an image, and PadStyler does all the heavy lifting. A virtual staging service such as this is particularly important for properties that are outdated or have an undesirable curb appeal. Buyers are often quick to overlook properties that lack polish, and this is an easy way to help them visualize the property’s potential.
Virtual reality is increasingly commonly being used for new construction. Companies such as Virtual Xperience and VR Global are using VR to bring properties to life before they’re built. Instead of making a decision purely based on plans and 2D mock-ups, prospective buyers are able to put on a VR headset and explore the home as if they were in it.
Whether or not you have access to these technologies, consider the trends and how you can improve your service to meet client expectations. The key here is to help buyers visualize their lives in a space, no matter where they are or what the current state of the home is. Put the property’s best foot forward and enable your clients to experience the home in its best light.