If you are a real estate agent, the way you conduct business has changed due to COVID-19. Real estate marketing during the COVID-19 outbreak is likely quite a bit different from your usual marketing efforts. Due to social distancing orders, open houses have been suspended. As such, real estate professionals are scrambling to adjust and keep business moving forward.
Like professionals in many other industries, real estate agents are now turning to technology, particularly for virtual real estate open houses. Though these virtual tours are not new, they are gaining more traction due to the restrictions put in place by COVID-19. If you are a real estate agent interested in implementing this technology into your business, now is the perfect time to begin learning.
COVID-19 Impact on Showings and Open Houses
What has been the impact of the coronavirus on real estate? COVID-19 has had a direct impact on showings and open houses because of the stay-at-home and social distancing orders that have been implemented.
Coronavirus and Real Estate
When news of the coronavirus began to circulate throughout the U.S., real estate agents went to listings armed with containers of disinfectant and bottles of hand sanitizer. Many agents opened doors and cabinets for interested buyers, while others instructed potential buyers to put on booties and gloves when they arrived at the listing. However, once social distancing became more necessary, many agents, brokerages and sellers started offering limited showings via appointment only and canceling open houses.
As more states have instructed Americans to stay home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, open houses have been restricted. In some states, real estate is considered an essential business, allowing for some in-person showings. However, physically showing homes can be risky. In other states, particularly those that have seen the most COVID-19 cases, real estate is considered a nonessential business and in-person real estate practices have been suspended.
Fortunately, this does not mean the end of all business for real estate agents in these states. For many, virtual tours are now the closest one can get to an in-person showing.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, virtual tours were mainly used to showcase residential properties, and their use with investors and commercial occupiers was more limited. Though virtual tours were beginning to gain traction in the commercial sector, especially for overseas corporates or investors, many clients still wanted to be able to view the space in person.
Before, sellers worried that a buyer would doubt a seller’s seriousness if they did not allow for a showing in person. Thus, some sellers shied away from virtual tours.
In recent months, this attitude has changed. Sellers and buyers are now both more willing to adapt out of necessity and use virtual tours in place of in-person tours.
The Rise of Virtual Showings During COVID-19
Virtual tours are quickly gaining traction during these times of social distancing. In fact, virtual showings are rising so rapidly that they may become a mainstay in the real estate transaction process.
For the many real estate professionals who are working remotely, virtual tools like footage from drones and Google Street View or the widely-used Matterport 3D tours can be used during the early stages of the leasing or buying process to identify opportunities that are worth pursuing.
We have also seen an increase in the importance of real estate photography during the COVID-19 outbreak. Although photographs are essential for listings, they also have limitations. Pictures can entice buyers, but they cannot be expected to give a consumer a complete grasp of the property. On the other hand, a virtual tour gives homebuyers a 360° view of each room so they can see the property from every perspective and angle.
Benefits of Virtual Tours During Social Distancing
There are several benefits to using virtual tours in your real estate business to attract potential buyers. During the coronavirus pandemic, a real estate agent likely cannot afford to continue doing business without using virtual tours. Enjoy the following advantages when you add a virtual tour to a listing:
- Virtual tours are viewer-friendly and interactive: With a virtual tour, buyers can explore a property on their own. Virtual tours allow your viewers to visit every room and focus on the flooring, lighting or other aspects that interest them about each room.
- Virtual tours hold buyers’ attention: Unlike still images or plain text, a virtual tour can hold a buyer’s attention for a longer time. As a buyer explores every room, it is easier for them to visualize living in the home. Your virtual tours can also use automated human voice technology to create narrations that captivate the buyer throughout the virtual walkthrough.
- Virtual tours reach remote buyers: Potential buyers who live far from the property will be able to view the property without traveling from a remote location or foreign country.
- Virtual tours can urge a viewer to buy: The longer a potential buyer spends viewing different parts of a property, the more they will be able to imagine buying and owning the property. In combination with other interactive tools, such as a mortgage calculator, a virtual tour can urge a viewer to close the deal.
- Virtual tours save effort and time: Virtual tours are convenient for buyers as well as agents. Rather than staging a strenuous and time-consuming open house, you can use a virtual tour that is available permanently for any potential buyers who want to explore the property. This will save you significantly on resources and time, as you will not need to schedule an open house, keep contacts or stay on the site while people come in to ask questions and may not even be truly interested in buying.
Browse Your Virtual Tour Options From Real Estate Exposures
At Real Estate Exposures, we offer several options for real estate virtual tours. Our premium photography and virtual media can empower the marketing of real estate agents and businesses. Along with virtual tours, our services and products include:
- Walkthrough videos
- Premium real estate video
- Real estate photography
- Aerial photography
- Virtual staging
- Matterport 3D tours
- Hotel and commercial photography
- Business photography
- Real estate flyers
- Floor plans
We are proud to have worked with hundreds of business owners, real estate agents and investors in Pennsylvania and Maryland. If you are a real estate agent who is looking to pivot to virtual home tours during the COVID-19 outbreak, contact us today to determine which virtual tour is the best option for your listing.