How The Real Estate Industry Is Innovating During COVID-19 Restrictions
The property industry has been forced to innovate fast very recently. As a traditionally slow adopter to new technologies, the COVID-19 crisis has really brought the hammer down, forcing the entire industry to race ahead. As the crisis continues and the lockdowns become stricter across the country, the entire industry has been forced to find new ways to go about business as usual.
These forced innovations come as recent restrictions came into place, reducing the number of Auction scheduled by 50%. As tighter restrictions continue to be on the horizon in many states, the Real Estate industry is in overdrive to find new solutions to continue business.
To help, both sales and rentals, agents and property managers are turning to a wide range of virtual tools to continue helping their clients, selling properties, and managing tenants. While a lot of these tools will take time to adopt, they will be forever changing the industry. Here are some of these innovations.
After auctions were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, agents were forced to find new ways of selling these homes. They either had to switch to a private treaty sale or change to digital auctions. This was a big change, with Auctions traditionally being held on-site. Participants had to be registered and needed to physically view the property in groups. But now, this is not possible.
Now agents have gone all in on digital auctions. Participants can view the property individually, or virtually, register for the auction online, and then participate in the auction virtually. A great example of this was a Fairfield apartment in Melbourne, where a first home buyer won a virtual auction, beating out six other registered parties. In this auction, auctioneer Manny Zennelli used digital platforms to conduct the auction, allowing plenty of time for participants to bid, and asking each of them to declare when they were out before bringing down the hammer.
In future, this could become the new norm. There is no solid reasoning behind an on-site auction. Often not all interested buyers can attend, those who want to bid have often already seen the property and done their research. Online auctions also provide a better solution for auctioneers, who don’t have to race between auctions. Of course, there are some downsides, like the atmosphere and theatrics, in future, these may be solved too with creative ideas.
Virtual Property Inspections
With online platforms launching virtual property inspections recently, and agents and property managers enthusiastically jumping on board, the way inspections are conducted is about to shift. Inspections, as they were before COVID-19, have become increasingly restricted with lockdowns and other movement restriction policies in place. So, virtual inspections are becoming the new norm.
In virtual inspections, buyers and renters can get an initial look at the p[property from their home. This could be through a video walkthrough of the property, virtual 360 walkthroughs (which require a more expensive camera set-up), Or simply Zoom walkthroughs (which allows the agent or property manager to answer any questions live).
Virtual inspections will be beneficial for buyers and renters, allowing them to decide whether they are truly interested in the property. It is also beneficial for property managers and agents, weeding out non-legitimate buyers or renters.
Many agents and property managers have already switched over to virtual signing of contracts. With many businesses in a variety of industries already using virtual contracts, there is no reason for more agents and property managers to not use virtual signing of contracts. It is more convenient for everyone and makes it easier for agents and property managers to virtually store these signed documents. Virtual contracts are also more environmentally friendly, cutting down on paper use.
Further innovation on the horizon
All of these innovations are just the tip of the iceberg for the real estate industry. With these technologies now proving themselves, as more agents rely solely on them through the crisis, the more they will be called upon and used in the future. While the world goes into quarantine for this crisis, businesses are finding new ways to innovate and stay alive. Similar to other major crises in the past, this one has forced us to use and develop new technologies. When the world emerges after this has passed, a lot will have changed.