The Pandemic Changes That Are Here To Stay

When evaluating some of the changes the COVID-19 pandemic made on the real estate industry, you don’t need to look far. Just consider some of our own habits as people, homeowners, parents and working professionals — it’s really changed the way we live in general. 

Initially, nearly everyone began working from home, which created a new reliance on digital technology and a major reason why Zoom saw its stock prices skyrocket. We learned new terms like “Zoom fatigue” and began purchasing blue light glasses at frequent rates. Needless to say, not many imagined this is where they'd be in their working life. Sequentially, this caused a wave of pandemic changes to everyday life. Homeowners needed bigger homes since they were stuck inside the majority of the day with everyone from roommates to their spouse, homeschooled children and more. Workers operated digitally, creating the opportunity for them to work from anywhere, as opposed to near the office. This digitalization sparked by the pandemic has similarly impacted real estate, an industry which is already slow to adopt technology. 

Newfound adoption of digital tools

First things first, let’s talk about all things digital. While many agents had to adjust the way they did things on the job, brokerages need to be leading the way. If the brokerage doesn’t adopt new technology tools, it’s actually hindering its agents’ ability to get the job in an evolving, digital world. While it may be initially uncomfortable, the entire business will run more efficiently. With that said, the industry has a history of doing many things, quote, “old school.” Cue the visual of that massive stack of papers handed to a buyer at closing. 

Digital transaction management 

The pandemic really disrupted the industry’s purchase process — in-home notaries weren’t as welcome, which led to a huge rise in digital transaction management tools including DocuSign, Dotloop and Notarize. This transaction revolution isn’t going anywhere any time soon either. Homeowners have realized just how easy it is to sign documents online as opposed to spending a lengthy amount of time in an office to close on a home. This also adds something else for brokers to consider — does your back office have the ability to integrate with tools like these? 

Video and social media

On top of the transaction process, realtors still needed to show homes when in-person showings weren’t allowed. Video tools, social media and 3D home tours were critical to selling a house in 2020. Luckily, tools already existed to help with the process. Just think about Instagram and Facebook Live as well as IGTV. Realtors could show the house live on social media and post it to their feed or page for viewers who log on later to check out as well. Live showings and today’s video capabilities are just too valuable to go to waste as it adds a new resource for potential buyers. On that note, realtors can widen their pool of potential buyers as viewers don’t have to be there in-person to view the home. Social media is a great resource, and the pandemic showed the industry that if you haven’t adopted it as a digital tool yet, then you’re losing out on many opportunities. 

3D home tours

Similar to video and social media tools, 3D home tours gave potential buyers another way to view a property online. Without having to see it in person, a 3D home tour viewer can digitally walk through a home, go room to room, and get a pretty solid feel of the home. For a potential buyer, it’s so much more simple and less time-consuming to view five properties online than visit five properties in person. However these tools and photography can be costly, but it’s a tool that we really can’t compromise on. In order to compete with other agents and listings, our virtual showings need to be competitive and have high-level photography that does a beautiful job of capturing a home. 

Suburban area hot spots

In previous times, working professionals chose where to live largely based on proximity to the office. No one likes a long commute, right? Well, when many professions turned digital, with the ability to work from home, that led to a frenzy of homeowners up and moving to more affordable locations. Take California for example. While you may have heard of many Californians opting for states like Idaho or Texas, there’s a large portion moving to more affordable regions within the state. Suburban areas in the Sacramento region like El Dorado County blew up in popularity, highlighting the attractiveness of leaving the big city life. As interest rates remain still very low, homeowners will continue to search for suburban areas to retreat to. Larger homes, more amenities and lot sizes are available in areas through newfound digitalization. 

Home amenities will top a buyer’s must-have list 

The staycation really hit an all time high in the past year and a half. Without the opportunity to travel abroad and many places in general, homeowners put money into their homes. According to a report in August 2020, one of the top design trends is the backyard and patio transformation, which makes sense when we’re spending so much time at home in the outdoor space. Similarly, specifics such as home offices and large family areas such as a loft or entertainment space were high on a buyer’s priority list. Moving forward, these amenities will still play a large role in whether or not a home buyer makes a purchase. Even though many workers have phased into a hybrid model, working both from home and in the office, there remains an emphasis on the importance of the home. 

Video conferences are here to stay

Like we mentioned above, many workplaces operate on a hybrid model at this point. A professional might work from home four days a week and visit the office once a week, and the same goes for real estate professionals. With cloud-based softwares allowing agents and brokers to work from anywhere, there’s not a huge need to visit the office. Brokerages and teams may not rely on video conferencing tools as much as they once did, but tools like Zoom have way too many advantages to retire them now. So even though many businesses are resuming office meetings, expect to continue utilizing this technology in a post-pandemic industry.

Zipi is the Real Estate Operating System (OS) that aims to make real estate simple from agents and deals to commissions and billings. Request a demo to get in contact with one of our expert team members. 

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Written by
Jesse Garcia

Jesse’s 13-year career and tenure as an office manager, coach and top producing agent includes running two multi-million-dollar real estate offices and managing hundreds of agents, while increasing both production and profitability. It was this experience that led him to develop Pipeline Wizard, which became the proof of concept for Zipi.

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