With the recent lockdown rules in play as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, industries have had to rapidly respond. Real estate agents have had to adapt to this and come up with inventive and creative methods of selling properties. In these challenging times, people have been unable to attend open houses, meet with agents to discuss rental properties and attend auctions. To overcome this challenge, real estates companies have had to create high performance teams that can deal with adversity.
Virtual inspections have quickly become essential for those in the industry. Virtual inspections have been used for proactive property management and rental inspections, as well as for commercial and residential property sales. On the sales side of the real estate market, a property inspection consists of potential buyers touring a property that they may be interested in purchasing. In regard to the rental market, most property management services have performed open inspections virtually when a vacancy needs to be filled by interested potential tenants. Furthermore, agents have been also inspecting occupied rental residences for any damages virtually.
Much like in-person inspections, virtual inspections offer interested parties the opportunity to review and evaluate whether a property meets their needs and expectations. The only difference is that this occurs digitally. For some, this serves many advantages, but for others, it is somewhat odd. Virtual inspections can be the perfect solution for anyone who is time-poor. For others though, they prefer to inspect residences in person to get a more accurate sense of the place. Many buyers rely on creating an emotional connection by physically attending an open and would rather make a decision that way. Either way, virtual inspections are something we all must adjust to whilst we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Real estates agents must search for IT support services that will help them to provide the best service to their current and future clients.
Aside from the convenience that virtual inspections offer, this method is particularly suitable for interstate buyers. If a property has its full details and a virtual tour is displayed online, a buyer can potentially view all aspects of that property from anywhere in the world. Potential buyers can view the home to see whether it meets their personal style, such as whether the design features an art deco design or coastal interior design styles. For busy people with a flat out a work schedule, a virtual inspection also provides easy access to those who may work during regular trading hours. Due to the development of technology, inspecting a home can be done at any time during the day or week and in any location. All you need is access to the internet! Not only is this convenient for buyers, but those who are wanting to rent. The virtual inspection option eliminates the slightly awkward feeling of walking through someone else’s home. By conducting inspections online, any feelings of anxiety for tenants, or individuals that inspect the property can be removed. With such convenience, the process is ultimately sped up, and therefore the application process is a lot quicker. Not only is this good for investors (as every day an investment property sits still, it loses money), but also for those urgently looking for a home.
Better Consumer Experience
Given that we live in a society that is obsessed with immediacy, social media, and digital tools, this consumer experience feeds into emerging consumer wants. Taking this into consideration, virtual inspections create a better consumer experience. Keeping up with technology is important to respond to the growing purchasing power of millennials and Gen Z. With the expectation of online solutions to make everyday life simpler, it makes sense that this change within the real estate industry could continue into the future. In recent years we have seen perfect examples illustrating this. Platforms such as Airbnb, and real estate.com, the industry will never be the same again. Whether an individual is looking to rent, buy, or sell; virtual real estate offers transparency, flexibility, urgency, and mobility. Potential buyers can view the interior design style of a house from the comfort of their own homes. Therefore, a more seamless experience is created for both the clients and the agents. Often, dealing with property can be stressful. For some, this is the reason for prolonging house-hunting or house selling. Through the utilisation of virtual tours, video walk-throughs, and interactive floor plans, people are more likely to feel less overwhelmed throughout the process.
Online auctions and selling homes under a virtual hammer are how many auctions have operated through the COVID-19 pandemic. Buyers register their interest with an agent in advance and any bid they make is still legally binding. The only difference is that potential buyers are now placing their bids from the comfort of their own home. This is a more comfortable way of purchasing property for many people as auctions are overwhelming and stressful for some buyers. However, it has been noted that some buyers could be disadvantaged by a lack of transparency in digital auctions. There is some capacity for ‘abuse of fake bidding’. Data proves that online bidding generates better outcomes for vendors and not for buyers. Understandably, this news can be very concerning for buyers, particularly first home buyers.
Given the current pandemic, new ways of conducting business have been put into place. People are expected to follow rules to eliminate the potential spread of COVID-19. One great benefit of virtual inspections is that it will reduce any potential exposure to COVID-19 by removing the need to attend any property. This is especially important for those that are vulnerable and elderly. Arranging an iPad or a phone to keep in contact with an agent will make sure that everyone is safe and kept away from the dangers of the virus.
Of course, although there are several advantages to this new model, there are also a few negatives. An example of this includes that when you inspect a property physically, you learn about its quirks or any faults very quickly, which may not realise online. Understandably, social media and online platforms portray things to be rather perfect and sometimes better than it actually is. This can end up being potentially misleading sometimes. Issues such as the level of noise are something that a virtual inspection does not provide you with. A physical inspection, unlike a virtual one, provides you with the opportunity to experience the property with all your senses. Ultimately, with such a tech-driven society, virtual inspections may feature more in the future. Even after the pandemic is over, technology is likely to become a greater part of the real estate industry.