Like it has with every other industry, COVD-19 is leaving its mark on the real estate business. Due to the shutdowns and ongoing health concerns, today’s home buyers are looking for new ways to see a property without ever setting foot in it.
Health concerns surrounding in-person home visits, open houses, and document signing meetings are challenging for real estate agents and their clients. To make matters worse, buyers are delaying their decisions, and traditional lead generation methods such as in-person networking and community events are limited or impossible.
So how can agents adapt to this changing environment? We’ve identified four strategies to help agents stay on top of their game and continue to sell houses during this health crisis -- and beyond.
Use high-quality photography to attract buyers online
According to the report Homebuyer & Seller Generational Trends In 2019 by the National Association of Realtors, 81% of older Millennials found their new home through a mobile app.
Since Millennials represent the largest share of the home buying market, today’s agents can succeed by meeting buyers where they are, which is online. They are watching videos, visiting social media pages, and scrolling through listings to find homes that catch their eye.
Professional photography is key to attracting buyers and getting more engagement online. Posts on social media, such as Facebook, get a 2.3 times higher engagement rate when they include photos. As an agent, adding high-quality images to your listings is a great way to increase your online presence and get more clicks to your listings.
It also doesn’t hurt that professionally photographed homes also sell faster sell and for thousands more than homes that don't use professional photography. Agents that are still using photos taken on a phone are shooting themselves in the foot and missing out big. To get the most out of a listing, homes should leverage the experience of a professional photographer who will be able to showcase a listing in the best light.
High-quality photos, will help any listing stand out on marketplaces like Zillow and Redfin and increase click-through rates and generate more lead form completions.
Focus on building online relationships with clients
According to one study by the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 75% of home buyers interview only one agent during their entire home search! This statistic means that the first agent to contact a buyer and make a good impression is likely to win their business.
Agents need to focus on outreach and impressing home buyers early on in their home search process. They can do this in many ways, including offering help to search for a specific home or answering questions about financing and loans.
Video calling is the perfect socially-distant technology for this step. According to HomeLight, 59% of agents are replacing in-person meetings with virtual ones during the pandemic. Video calls are more personal and, therefore more effective at building trust and relationships than texts, emails, or even traditional voice calls.
Video calls are also useful when a third-party witness is required for the signature on a new house title. Many states have enacted temporary permission for remote document signing during COVID-19 and for video calls to satisfy legal requirements.
Offer virtual open houses instead of in-person visits
With 84% of agents canceling in-person open houses, many real estate professionals are finding success with hosting virtual open houses or live stream events to promote their properties. The entire real estate industry is responding with websites such as Flexmls and Coldwell Banker encouraging agents to give virtual open houses a try.
And a study done by Redfin confirms this trend is dominant now than ever. The study found that the demand for virtual home tours rose 494% in just one week at the start of the economic shutdowns in March 2020.
Virtual tours offer safety, convenience, and the ability to reach many people at once - just like a traditional open house. Sellers are satisfied with the increased exposure to their listing, and buyers are pleased to attend from the comfort of their own home. 75% of U.S. adults surveyed by Zillow in June 2020 said they would like a virtual tour option if they were in the market for a new home.
This example by The Tanya Eklund Group shows how effective video tours can be at selling homes online.
Adapt to new technologies like 3D walkthroughs
Unlike video tours, 3D walkthroughs give buyers the power to interact with and move around in a virtual space naturally. The experience is similar to walking through the house in person, exploring each room for as long as you like.
On a 3D walkthrough, you click on where you want to go, expanding and reducing the image in a similar way that you would use Google Maps. The technology makes it easy to examine every detail and corner and even measure windows and doorways -- all on your own without an agent present.
3D walkthroughs are quickly growing in popularity and are already available on marketplaces like Redfin.com.
Use a professional all-in-one photography service like Snappr
To get the best real estate photos, companies should use Snappr. With the world’s largest network of trusted real estate photographers, Snappr can deliver professional quality photos anywhere and anytime, on-demand, and with as little as two hours advance notice.
And with the best-in-category tools and API, Snappr is the fastest and most effective way for companies to manage shoots at scale. Best of all, each Snappr shoot is professionally edited by a single in-house team, resulting in high-quality images that are always consistent with your brand.
Ready to take your real estate listings to the next level and make a real impact on your bottom line? Contact Snappr’s Enterprise Team today to learn how we can provide you with stunning real estate photos like these that are second to none.