At least 200 million of us, desperate to see people outside our homes, now use Zoom, up from 10 million just a few months ago. Many of us use it for free, though Zoom also has a paid product. For lots of people, it’s a lifeline to see and converse with a friend or relative. For myself, it’s a critical tool to conduct business training and has allowed my real estate team to continue selling houses.
In a time of social distancing and uncertainty, we have technology that allows my real estate team to sell a home without ever having to set foot inside a home’s front door. We’ve been doing listing presentations and buyer consultations through Zoom, Facetime, and phone calls. Potential sellers will use their phone or their tablets to walk us through their home via live video feed while we discuss repairs, staging, and updating minor things. We can then schedule another time on a live Zoom call to show them a full marketing plan and discuss pricing for their home.
Assuming they’re ready to move forward, we have them sign documents online (we’ve been doing that for five years already), and call our home stager to set up a “virtual staging session” through Facetime or Zoom. Once they’ve completed the staging and home repairs, we bring a sign and lockbox to the house and then schedule our photographer. In the past, we’ve typically had our photographer shoot 25 to 40 high-resolution photos, but now we are also adding Matterport Virtual Tours to some of our listings as well. The idea behind this is that a virtual tour allows the potential buyers to walk through the entire home virtually and pretty much see every detail in the home. If they like the home enough, only then would we allow them to schedule an in-person home tour. We’re simply trying to do everything possible to continue allowing sellers to sell and buyers to buy, but while also being as safe as possible.
Now having said that, I think we would all prefer to actually meet in person. I know I would. But this does give us alternatives to keep practicing real estate and keep our economy moving forward. Some of our clients we’ve still met with in person and I’m personally OK with doing that as long as we’re being safe about it.
Most of our buyer clients obviously still want to see the home in person, but instead of previewing 10 homes, they now narrow that list down to their absolute top three homes to see in person. Our agents have gotten used to doing a virtual home tour, walking through the home and Facetiming with the buyers. This still allows us to get in there and see how worn the carpet is, look at the small details, and make sure there are no cracks in the foundation before we schedule an in-person showing with them.
To be honest, this may sound like it saves us time, but it really does not. This coronavirus has caused us a lot more work and I’m sure we’ll all be glad when we can get back to business as usual.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a new home or selling your current one, we’d love to speak with you. Even if you’d prefer to wait until this is all passed by us, please do not hesitate to call us so we can answer your questions. Ron Henderson – 816-651-9001