Why ‘Now’ is the time to go 'Digital'
It was once the preserve of upmarket estate agencies marketing to foreign buyers or the very wealthy, but now virtual viewing property tours are pretty much standard.
Lockdown restrictions brought on by COVID-19 forces property marketers to look for new ways of advertising client’s homes. It’s at attempt to maintain physical distancing and avoid transmission of the virus. Since April last year would-be buyers have been – not quite literally, but almost - walking in the steps of estate agents as they move through a property filming it.
They can answer questions and focus in on particular areas of the property. And all in real time. An alternative is to upload a pre-recorded video version of the tour. It’s become the new norm, thanks not just to COVID-19 restrictions but also more affordable, and better-quality, technology.
So, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise then to learn of other online and automated property marketing techniques. Take email marketing, for instance. Clients can be found and signed-up by approaching them directly online. Gone are the days of paying for thousands of leaflets to be printed and shoved through letterboxes – not knowing whether they’d be automatically used to line a cat litter tray, or read avidly at the breakfast table.
Today’s targeted online lead generation is much more reliable. You will learn the chosen location, price and the type of dwelling someone is interested in before you send them an email and then you can tell whether they’ve actually opened you’ve correspondence or not.
ID security in the property industry is the latest area to undergo a digital revolution. Etive’s ‘identity trust scheme’ means anyone buying or selling a home will be able to use a single digital identity when dealing with estate agents, mortgage brokers, solicitors etc.
Ultimately, as well as being easier for everyone involved, it should also lead to property transactions going through faster. The scheme has already won a government grant and been approved by Propertymark, The Law Society and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals praised the ID scheme, adding” “Digital communication and cohesion is long overdue between the stakeholders involved in the moving process.”
Staff prefer digital technology
Of course, virtual viewings and online marketing in general doesn’t just benefit and protect those looking to buy or sell property. It also helps keep staff safe and which, in turn, proves a huge morale boost. Who wants to come in to work fearing they’ll contract COVID-19, after all? We’ve already seen that PPE isn’t enough to guarantee non-transmission.
In a recent poll of estate agents by trade magazine Property Industry Eye, some readers complained that when they were asked to show an individual around a property the owners refused to stand outside because it was raining. Another complained that he was asked to remove his mask by the client before entering their home. Many agents say that in the current coronavirus climate (ie the new more infectious strain) they would prefer as much of their job to be online as possible.
The comments come at a time when a Norfolk estate agent closed two of his branches following the death from COVID-19 of a rival estate agent in the town.
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