Real Estate Marketing In A Pandemic: From Online Auctions To Contactless Viewings
If life during COVID-19 has taught the world anything, it’s adaptability. And that’s no different for the real estate industry. Lockdown restrictions in NZ have forced realtors to rethink how they do business and how best to keep matching buyers with their ideal homes.
Some agencies, such as Total Realty Dunedin, have embraced this concept of adaptability with vigour. As they’ve re-opened for business, agencies have incorporated increased safety measures to abide both by Government’s regulations and the mandate to keep clients healthy and safe.
Measures include requiring potential home buyers to complete a Covid-19 Pre-registration form, which enables them to keep track of the details of both those living in a home that’s for sale, and those wishing to view the property. They’ve also embraced ‘contactless viewing’, where potential buyers are allowed to enter a property under strict protocols, including using hand sanitisers and not touching anything on the property.
In cases where a potential buyer would need to touch an item in order to get a better look, the real estate agent will happily assist. While these practices and protocols are certainly different to the ways in which properties were viewed and sold before the pandemic, they speak to the willingness of real estate agencies to support their clients and continue to maintain quality service.
The market has seen other changes in recent months, with online viewings and auctions becoming the norm in many parts of the world during strict lockdowns. Online viewings offer potential buyers the safety and comfort of taking a virtual tour through a property using video call options like Zoom, Whatsapp, or Facetime, or viewing photos of the property before taking the matter further and requesting an in-person view. Similarly, online auctions enable buyers to place bids on desired properties online, instead of risking physical interactions with other bidders or sellers in a close environment.
While most realtors have not gone totally digital, as they still offer physical viewings and open houses, and many auctions still take place on-site, the housing market’s current embracing of technology has and could continue to change the face of how houses are bought and sold in the future. It remains to be seen whether some of these technological changes stick around as the threat of the virus passes, or whether we quickly return to the convenience of the old way of doing things as soon as it’s safe to do so.