How Some Real Estate Companies are Getting it Right During COVID-19

Interest rates are low and buyer demand is still high (even though offers may be delayed due to the Coronavirus), so how can you capitalize on consumers who are ready to pull the trigger now?

It’s no secret that during the stay at home recommendations from the Coronavirus that listing photos and virtual tours are incredibly important. Many agents have also begun hosting virtual showings in place of the usual open houses. But serious buyers still (understandably) want to see the home in person before making an offer. Here are some tips on how you might be able to facilitate a real showing safely during this strange time.

I ventured out of my house this past weekend to look at a few properties. I had planned to just drive around the neighborhood to get an idea of the elevations and the lots, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some very helpful tools on the real estate company’s website which actually allowed me to tour two homes in the midst of COVID-19.

This is how that real estate company got things right.

Their Website Offered a Clear Call to Action

My husband was in the driver’s seat and I was doing a little online research on the ~15 minute drive to the neighborhood we wanted to tour. During that short time, I was able to find which properties were for sale now along with all the expected stats (price, square footage, beds, baths and lot size).

Learn About Our Custom Real Estate Brokerage Websites

In addition to the basics, the surprise was a big call to action to “Schedule a Private Self-Guided Tour” – something that can easily be added to your real estate brokerage website to set you apart from what your competitors have to offer. I immediately clicked through and happily provided all of the necessary information to confirm my tour (name, phone, email, driver’s license photo and selfie for security and answers to a few screener questions).

Once I submitted the form, I received a text to (a) verify that my number was real, and (b) confirm my tour time and details. The text was great because it didn’t get lost in my email inbox, and it reiterated that the tour would be private, provided the address, and gave me a link to click once I arrived.

They Followed Up

This is always a must, but especially so since this type of home tour is unique. Less than 10 minutes after submitting the web form, the agent called my cell. The call was short and to the point – they made sure no one in my household had traveled recently or was ill (protecting everyone who may tour the home after me) and asked if I had any questions they could answer so far. The website and automated text message had done such a good job that I didn’t need his help yet.

They Adapted Their Tech

Upon arriving at the home, I clicked the link I received in the confirmation text which prompted me to enable location services for my web browser – they needed to make sure I was on site in order to proceed. Once my location was verified, I was directed to a single-use web page with steps on how to access each property.

Learn About Our Custom Real Estate Brokerage Websites

The property was equipped with a Yale smart lock and I was granted a one-time access code, good for one hour from the start of my tour. I entered my code and the door unlocked. The agent had left property flyers on the kitchen island, and posted helpful info stickers about wifi, wiring, finishes, etc. all throughout the home. For the cost of a lock and a few printed pages, I could safely view this vacant home in person.

This exact process may not make sense for homes which aren’t vacant, but hopefully this creative approach gets you thinking of how you may be able to use technology that’s at your disposal. Personalized virtual showings maybe? Or check out the really cool virtual 3D tours and virtual staging that our friends at Box Brownie can provide.

They Followed Up… Again

Later that same afternoon, I received a personalized email from the listing agent – not an autoresponder. Surely his real estate brokerage CRM helped, but it made me feel important. He provided a digital copy of the property flyer and prompted me to engage by asking how my tour went and what is my timeline to move. I replied because the information was timely, to-the-point, and really helpful. Aside from the confirmation text message, which was necessary to provide me with the tour details, I never received any canned or generic communications from the agent, or his real estate brokerage. How refreshing!

Since TRIBUS is a software company, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that our tech can actually help you with this step too. Our Flex Mail feature allows you to see a list of all of your new leads and leads who you need to get back in touch with, and send personalized emails to all of them in under 5 minutes.

 


 

All of these combined gave me a “wow” experience from start to finish. Every step of the way I felt like I had the info I needed at my disposal (thanks to a great real estate website) and I knew who to contact should I need more help (thanks to perfectly executed follow up).

Compare this great experience to another listing I inquired about. Property number 2 has been on the market for over 6 months, is also vacant, and (according to the listing description) has a very motivated seller. I sent an email to the listing agent over the weekend and never got a reply. I also called and left a voice mail on Monday. So far, it’s been radio silence from her.

Which home do you think I’m more likely to buy?

 


 

There’s a lot real estate professionals can learn from both good and bad consumer experiences, and sometimes it helps to swap roles and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes to witness what works and what doesn’t first-hand.

Most of these tips (especially the quick follow up) can be carried through to your normal business even once we make it past the irregularities necessitated by COVID-19.

As a second generation REALTOR, Katie comes to TRIBUS after working for a major franchise brokerage and a prominent custom home builder in metro Atlanta, GA. While selling homes, she realized she had a passion for helping agents establish a meaningful web presence and a build CRM that worked. Since then she's become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and graduated from a UX program, all while staying grounded in real estate technology. Her background in the industry and her training in psychology have paved the way for her current user experience focused role, where she leads the product team at TRIBUS.

Katie has moderated and spoken at various events including the RESO Technology Summit and Hacker Connect - a tech intensive session of Inman Connect.
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