How are real estate agents assisting during the COVID-19 crisis?

How are real estate agents assisting during the COVID-19 crisis?
How are real estate agents assisting during the COVID-19 crisis?

OPINION:

The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly presented real estate agents around the world with never-before-seen challenges and opportunities.

The challenges are associated with managing a business with substantial ‘essential’ outgoings such as portal and data subscriptions in an environment of decreased revenue, with no endpoint or resolution currently insight.

It is an opportunity to assist our clients with advice about how to manage their real estate – whether it be their home or an investment property – to ensure they are in the best position to hold their property or sell if and when they need to.

While we as real estate agents have been adopting paperless and online transaction and communication tools or ‘proptech’, we have been unknowingly preparing for the current situation created by the COVID-19 crisis.

Virtual open homes allow buyers or lessees to walk through a property no matter where they are located or what sort of device they have – laptop, desktop, mobile phone or tablet. It means that overseas or interstate buyers can inspect both Off the Plan and live listings with a 360-degree view of each room and the garden.

This assists us as agents before we arrange to conduct a private inspection which complies with the health and safety guidelines. Vendors are assured that buyers are being kept interested in their property listing.

In essence, we are educating both vendors and buyers to embrace the online environment, managing the sale process from appraisal through to listing, online auction, and contract to sign through digital enterprise and communication software.

We are reshaping desire and in doing so, inviting a global audience into an on-line agency.

A buyer located anywhere on the planet with an internet connection can now find, inspect and transact on a property securely and completely online. Brand awareness grows and quality marketing becomes of utmost importance, as does the security of the transaction.

The outcome of the COVID-19 lockdown means that tools such as social media and DocuSign will play a greater role in our day to day business. In fact, the speed and security of transmission of signed contract documents compared to hand delivery and snail mail will assure the future recognition and adoption of tools such as DocuSign.

Online timed auctions and live-streamed auctions are also likely to remain a standard part of the sales landscape.

The fact that the major real estate sales portal subscriptions are so expensive by comparison with social media advertising suggests that agents and vendors will stick with this mode of marketing long after the crisis has passed.

The focus on the agent as an individual providing a personal service, which really underpins an agent’s success no matter where they are located or which agency they are with, is another reason social media channels such as Facebook will continue to grow as an advertising medium. 

The cost-effectiveness of social media also means that agents are able to provide better value for the vendor’s advertising dollar. Agents are delivering a personalised recommendation for a property through a convenient and cost-effective medium. It’s a win for the seller, the agent and the buyer and a great return on investment.

As an agent with a prestige property agency, my focus has been on providing advice and guidance to property owners, particularly focussing on preparing properties for sale ‘ post-COVID-19”. 

Agents are providing up-to-the-minute advice to both landlords and renters, buyers and sellers, about working within the restrictions in place in each state. As part of a highly skilled professional team, the focus is on taking the stress out of these constantly evolving and challenging times while ensuring the process of buying, selling, leasing or renting a home can continue.

At the end of the day, people need a roof over their heads. Shelter is an essential requirement for every person on earth. A professional agent’s approach ensures superior property marketing and quality service continues whilst adhering to all relevant health and safety regulations. The COVID-19 crisis means people are more online than ever before, and becoming more familiar with technology, communication software, and social media.

It’s a great opportunity as a local real estate agent to let your commitment to personal service and your local community to shine through.

We as agents have the opportunity to demonstrate that we can create value for our clients and communicate that value to buyers. We can be the trusted advisor in their hour of need, and ‘on the other side’ demonstrate to our clients and the general public, that we can be an integral part of the economic engine room that will need to fire up to get Australia going again.

We can all embrace online property enterprise and re-shape real estate desire 2020 style.

Helen Spira

Helen Spira

Helen Spira is a licensed real estate agent with Belle Property on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Helen has over 25 years’ experience in real estate, urban planning, and property development.

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