It appears the real estate industry has been seriously slow when it comes to implementing technology in the house purchase/sales process. But why should it bother? When everyone wants to physically view the property anyway, before making that final decision?
Although portals now exist for home owners to sell house online and cut out the middle man. Or sell to an online cash buyer when a quick sale is required. From the estate agents perspective, joining portals like Right-move and Zoopla to undertake all their property advertising, is about as far as tech development has gone.
The current pandemic however, has forced estate agents large and small to take a closer look at the benefits of using digital technology, to maintain some semblance of movement in the property market.
While some estate agents furloughed their staff, locked the office and went home, others began looking into ways to keep the property market alive. Some tried using photographs to give clients an idea of a property they were interested in. Others offered video tours room to room, recorded on their smartphone, while others chose full virtual viewing on a tablet or laptop, or using a virtual reality headset. Virtual reality though, can go much further than that, and become an additional tool to aid selling, when things eventually return to some form of normality.
Virtually furnish the home
Perhaps you have an empty property which is proving difficult to move. Add a little furniture. Now there are programmes such as Doctor Photo, which will allow you to add furniture to each room, giving a virtual layout of how the house might look fully furnished.
Social media advertising
Some real estate agents are turning to a system called ‘Flink’, which creates Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads, and maintains it can target specific users in real time, based on the users interaction with the adverts. Agents working with this new system are claiming over 30% of their properties are selling faster than when they use normal property advertisement websites.
Checking on the chain gang
Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or estate agent, the dreaded property chain is everyone’s worst nightmare. From an estate agents viewpoint, buyers are lost, sellers pull-out, and completions can end up taking months longer than they should do. All because of the ubiquitous property chain.
Now though, you have a chance of keeping tabs on how the links of the chain are performing. Signing on with Viewmychain.com allows you to follow in real time exactly how each stage of the chain is performing. You can get alerts such as an offer being made, legal searches being completed, or if there are any actions you need to undertake. Because the programme operates using automatic data-feeds, all of this is available without you having to spend time constantly feeding in data. Having been in business since 2015, the company boasts impressive stats of being able to complete a transaction an average three weeks faster, while reducing the chance of a deal falling through by 20%.
Why some estate agents keep droning on
If you’re selling a two-bed terraced house or a three-bed semi, then perhaps impressive drone footage isn’t going to make a lot of difference. On the other hand, if you’re marketing a two-mil mansion, or large manufacturing or warehousing premises, drone footage of the properties and surrounding land areas and roadways etc, can make a big difference. Many estate agents fly their own drones for those jobs where drone footage can benefit the presentation, but there are an increasing number of freelance professional drone photographers online, who will undertake the shoot for a fee.
A new beginning
Just as general practitioners in the NHS have embraced new working practices such as facetime consultations, forced on them by Coronavirus, so too will estate agents. Buyers will be able to take a number of virtual property tours, before shortlisting their choices down to two or three real time viewings. Saving themselves and their agent’s time and money. Hi-flyers will be suitably impressed with professional drone footage of their new investment, and sellers will be able to keep a close eye on their sale, and the chain’s, progress.
Technical development in the real estate sector shouldn’t be considered a short term fix bought about by the pandemic, but as a long term investment designed to save time and money, increase sales, and shorten completion times in a life after the virus.