The Evolution of Real Estate Viewing: Developments in Virtual Home Tours This Pandemic

As the pandemic left many industries devastated, the real estate market in the U.S. remains standing strong. Although the number of sales volumes became relatively low, real estate agents have been selling homes at steady prices.

Housing companies attribute this phenomenon to the pressures brought by the pandemic on financial infrastructures and health outcomes. This led governments to take necessary measures to prevent the further spread of the virus, which also involves industries making adjustments to their business practices.

While the real estate market became disrupted, potential home buyers and real estate agents are creating ways to exhibit properties to interested clients. To give you a better idea of marketing a real estate business, here is a brief discussion of how the real estate industry evolved in the digital realm.

Buyer behavior

In most countries, governments permitted only those companies offering essential services, such as emergency, security, and food transportation services. But some states consider real estate companies an essential service, allowing them to list properties and show homes by appointment. But despite normal operations, real estate companies remain struggling with pandemic-related challenges.

Meanwhile, some homeowners became too reluctant when listing their properties because of the fear of having a smaller reach of prospective buyers. Due to the restrictions in the flow of visitors, in-person house viewing became almost impossible. In fact, in a survey by the National Association of Realtors, interest in buying properties declined by almost 50% because of COVID-19 concerns.

Although many believe the pandemic is not a great time to hunt for properties, some people think COVID-19 provided plenty of advantages to interested buyers. Homeowners willing to relocate could look for areas with less dense populations, move close to family, or move from pandemic hotspots.

woman drinking coffee

Social media market

As realtors expand their reach to potential clients, the manner of opening houses has evolved in the digital realm. Social media became an alternative way to showcase properties in the form of photo and video content. They often appear on media platforms, such as Facebook Live, Instagram live/stories, and Periscope. Agents can also host these virtual showings within their social network to gain new leads.

But even before the pandemic, social media platforms have played a significant role in how realtors provide listings to clients. Social media becomes a free form of marketing, where agents can build up publicity for their listings beyond their personal network.

The instant feedback, open forums about field questions, and virtual tours are some avenues providing the same feel of an actual appointment walkthrough or open house without any health risk. For buyers, direct access to photo and video content allows them to obtain personal records of interesting properties and conduct comparisons with other prospects. In turn, this allows agents to exhibit recent developments on new properties.

Virtual showings

As many industries shift to digital platforms, there is a higher chance real estate businesses will follow through because of the looming pressures brought by the current health situation. But there are also estate companies who already took a big plunge by bringing properties right to their screens.

Since the pandemic, virtual housing tours have improved the selling rate of a property. As a matter of fact, estate companies implement virtual house marketing techniques, such as 360° virtual tours, 3-D floor plans, 3-D walkthroughs, and virtual reality experiences.

Before, prospective buyers have to travel and visit at least 10 houses before deciding on the final purchase. These viewings involve traveling from property to property, which can take several weeks or months. But when it comes to virtual walkthroughs, house viewings can be reduced in a matter of minutes or days.

These virtual tours made it easy for agencies to connect with customers and provide a comprehensive property exhibit. The 360° virtual tour is one of the proven cost-effective options as it includes a 360° camera and 3-D virtual tour. With a starting price of $300, agents can produce a virtual tour for prospective clients.

As more estate companies engage clients in virtual walkthroughs and home tours, clients save more money and time instead of traveling far to reach various house units. Because of social media and virtual tours, property buyers can now explore and navigate new homes while in the comfort of their homes.

For the time being, real estate companies and agents need to make conscious efforts of their marketing tactics to remain afloat in the industry. Incorporating safety procedures and adopting virtual strategies are some ways they can do while keeping their sellers and buyers safe in the new normal.

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