There are many industries still waiting for the dust to settle before determining any lasting effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the way their business is conducted. For the real estate industry, however, many of the temporary measures implemented during the crisis are already being incorporated into the way realtors, buyers, and sellers interact.
“COVID has changed the marketing of homes, the showing of homes, dealing with offers, and negotiating offers,” said Hudson Smith, head of a team of local realtors at the Hudson Smith Real Estate Group. “It has changed the landscape dramatically. I think some things were already starting to change and COVID amplified them. Some things are here to stay.”
One of the first areas Hudson’s noticed that’s been transformed by the realities of COVID-19 safety measures, has been the need for agents to up their game when it comes to marketing properties.
“I think sellers post COVID are going to demand, and rightfully so, better marketing for their home. For example, I can remember looking at multi-million dollar cottages in Muskoka and the material was so poor you couldn’t tell what was happening at the cottage. You’d drive there and be so disappointed. Now there’s video, interactive floor plans, drones flying over the property, and better mapping that shows location in relation to schools or ameneties. It’s all about getting better information to the buyer. The seller deserves it, and it’s also a better way to qualify buyers prior to them visiting.”
Hudson said that the digital integration of marketing elements like drone footage was necessary given the social distancing measures implemented during the pandemic. This allowed the agents who quickly adopted such methods to stay competitive and connect with potential buyers who were already online searching using their laptops and mobile devices.
“People were not going out as freely, so there was an increased demand on better marketing materials,” said Smith. “I think a lot of the elements created to deal with the situation were very useful. They help qualify the buyer prior to a site visit which will continue to be important after things like COVID are perhaps behind us.”
Another change embraced by the real estate industry has been the use of various digital and software platforms like BrokerBay, HouseSigma, Cloud CMA, and DocuSign, all of which help realtors and clients alike. These types of programs empower agents and the public by providing more historical sold information available almost immediately, offer more detailed evaluations which can be emailed to clients to view at their leisure – compatible with iPad’s for an extremely user-friendly experience, and help to future proof real estate brokerages. More importantly, these technologies improve the customer experience for buyers and sellers.
“I like how interactive we’ve become,” said Smith. “The flow of information to all buyers and sellers has been greatly improved and was sorely needed. It’s improving how agents can serve their clients. Now we get information on agents registering with an offer on a home, faster. Through interactive systems, as soon as an offer is registered, all the information goes out to agents.”
Hudson says the entire process of showing a home has been improved, which prior to the recent changes could be a very invasive process with less knowledge of who was going through homes and when.
“Now we know when agents have opened lock boxes, and they are prompted to give information the moment they leave the house. This provides more information to the sellers to see how the process is going. Having more educated buyers and more educated sellers is a good thing. Agents are a very important part of this process and continue to add a lot of value.”
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, contact the Hudson Smith Real Estate Group, a trusted team of local real estate professionals. Visit them at 824 Gordon Street. Or call 519-821-3600.