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Real Estate: The Virtual Way

April 19 2020

ipad home cropSay goodbye to "in-person" for a while, and hello to "through-the-screen."

The times are unprecedented. We've never experienced anything like it before. None of us quite knows what to do or how to handle it. And these are precisely the types of situations that fuel innovation.

Sure, webinars, video calls and virtual home tours are not new. What is new, however, is the seemingly overnight widespread industry use of these and many more online tools. The real estate sector has undertaken a profound shift. Perhaps for good.

There is a choice to be made

Stay-at-home orders are in place for at least 316 million people in at least 42 states, three counties, nine cities, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. And yet residential and commercial real estate are classified as "essential services." In other words, brokers, agents, property managers and the like have a decision to make: change the way they work or be left behind.

While there are still buyers and sellers in the market who are venturing out for meetings and showings, the vast majority of clients prefer to stay home. And the number of homebound people is likely only to rise further as the events of COVID-19 continue to unfold. In order for you to keep providing your real estate service and reach the greatest number of possible clients, it is only natural that you adopt a virtual setup that lets you do your job without making physical contact. Those real estate professionals who don't will be stagnant and may not come out the other side of this pandemic with any significant amount of success. Those who do have a greater likelihood of thriving even under these grim circumstances.

How to go virtual

There is a silver lining – ever so slight – to be recognized in all of this. At a time when technology is the only way for us to communicate, work and stay in touch with others, we are fortunate to have a countless number of options at our disposal.

For real estate brokers and agents, here are five ways to take your business virtual.

1. 3D virtual tours and showings

Every homebuyer wants to see a property before they make a purchase – but not necessarily in person. With 3D, 360-degree, panoramic virtual tour software, viewers can see a home in its entirety. Through clicks and slides of a mouse or finger, clients can experience every room of a home without ever setting foot inside. Top tools on the market make it a seamless process from start to finish, giving you video footage that you can easily add to your website and listing directories.

A few of the most popular and reputable 3D virtual tools include 3DVista, Capterra, Lapentor and Cupix.

2. Virtual meetings

You've probably done FaceTime with a client before, and have used WhatsApp to video chat. But have you hosted a live virtual meeting with several people simultaneously? Have you orchestrated different parties in different locations into a productive and organized online meeting? Here's where many brokers and agents find themselves in the dark.

With most people now working remotely from home, many virtual meeting software companies are seeing more signups than ever before. While it may seem like foreign territory, have no fear. It's actually quite simple and straightforward to use as long as you have a half decent internet connection.

Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Google Duo, Group FaceTime and Join.me are some of the best names in the space. On every platform, you can host a large number of people in a single meeting, no matter where you're located. And each tool is currently offering a free trial period so you can test and experiment to find the best solution for you and your clients.

3. Webinars

Most of us have a little more time on our hands these days. For many, now is the perfect opportunity to learn, grow and expand our knowledge base. If you're a broker, host regular webinars for your agents to keep them engaged, involved and progressing as real estate professionals. If you're an agent, consider offering webinars to clients both past and present as a way to talk about the market, communicate latest news, and put perhaps troubled minds at ease with relevant information.

The top webinar platforms for real estate professionals are WebinarJam and Go To Webinar.

4. Video emails

Your clients can't see your face in person at the moment so why not let them see you through a video? You can create quick snippets, send a personal note, talk about the market or forward information about a specific property. Stay top of mind in a unique and virtual way when it matters most.

BombBomb and VidYard are two of the most popular video email tools, easy to use and highly effective.

5. Web-based contact management

Now is the best possible time to organize and engage your full list of contacts. If you're working off of business cards, scrap notes and spreadsheets, your efforts will only take you twice as long and be far less effective. With a web-based contact management tool, managing your contacts becomes a seamless and enjoyable process.

To view the original article, visit the IXACT Contact blog.