Since the unprecedented policy adoptions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dawn of social distancing, the world has changed. People are shifting the way they do all forms of business, and the real estate industry needs to follow suit.
With the vastly changing global environment we expect a surge in buyers purchasing homes without physically stepping foot in the property. Even without COVID19, it is well past time for the industry to get online, streamline services, and leap forward to better help the people we serve.
In today’s uncertain health climate, people must be hyper careful about who they allow into their homes. As data from both the National institute of Health and The World Health Organization shows, COVID 19 can live on surfaces for hours, and is also airborne, which poses a challenge for the housing industry. It is positively reckless for brokers and agents to allow strangers into homes – especially those which are occupied or furnished. The entirety of the industry needs to make a significant pivot online to safely and robustly serve clients.
Technology is poised to help millions of homeowners sell and buy homes safely and securely without excess risk of exposure. Homes can still be sold. Homes can still be bought. But the best practices are changing.
Digitized Home Buying and Selling Best Practices
While much of the world has made dramatic and successful shifts to virtual environments, the brokerage industry has long been indignantly resistant to innovation, leaving buyers and sellers with significant exposure during these unprecedented times. The Realtors Association and major brokerages have been slow to adopt technology, favoring high cost analog service over efficient technology enhanced processes.
The power to transact home sales online already exists. Thousands are already switching to incredible ecosystems that provide smart, consistent and reliable ways to buy and sell homes. It’s time the whole of industry follow suit.
With a massive shift in global dynamics, it is imperative for the residential brokerage industry to make three fundamental shifts in servicing customers:
1. Investing in virtual technology so people can experience the essence of a home online – this way only serious buyers are entering private homes.
2. Platforms where people can simply and securely complete homes sales from offer to close.
3. An industry wide shift to fixed-fair fees (equal pay for equal work) and transparency about the true costs paid to brokers and agents.
What we can do as industry leaders and influencers:
Let’s create immersive imagery experiences through incredible technology so we can go far beyond to show people the true essence of a home. This includes high quality photographs, drone imagery and video and other forms of illustration so folks can participate in the real estate market safely and soundly though robust remote experiential journeys.
Create 3D Virtual Experiences
Virtual Reality (VR) staging companies can allow buyers to imagine furniture options, sizes, scale and layouts. This removes the worry of installing furniture from unknown sources or handling inside a home.
With incredible gains in VR, vacant homes can be toured and completely reimaged. Using cool headset devices from Oculus and Google, potential buyers can visualize the perfect living environment complete with furniture, family and friends. In fact, this is the way many mega-yachts are built, and the way major spaces, homes and buildings are imagined – even before construction.
We have really cool, fun, incredible technology from the brightest minds in the world at our fingertips. And we have the power to connect buyers with a home they love while protecting them and protecting sellers and families from unnecessary exposure risk – all we need to do is utilize it.
Simplify the Process with End to End Platforms
One of the biggest opportunities for growth in real estate technology is residential platforms to radically ease the burden of buying and selling a home. When a buyer falls in love with a home, let’s give them a simple connected pathway to purchase. That’s just plain smart. Great companies are fusing technology with local expertise to help consumers. We challenge everyone in this industry to do the same. Residential Ecosystems like NILE, Reali, REX and Redfin provide sellers a simple hassle-free way to buy and sell homes and a fair intelligent cost.
Platforms can provide abundant transparency, so clients have a clear path to closing with resources and professionals available at their fingertips. Plus, the efficiencies from smart technology create drastic take-home savings for clients when they need it most. I cannot stress this enough: Platforms are the future of real estate. A fully connected transaction ecosystem – a single place to manage everything related to a home – with access to brokerage, financial and maintenance services – is what we are building for the future at NILE.
Let’s Get Real
It’s time to be honest. In the wave of growing economic uncertainty, as an industry it’s long overdue and high time to make elevated shifts in innovation, safety, efficiency and transparency.
We have a moral duty to be transparent, honest service providers. This includes being upfront about the cost to sell a home and shedding light on the true fees paid to buyers’ agents. As an industry, now is the time to do what’s right and lead by example by moving to fixed fee services at fair prices.
The residential brokerage industry has a duty now more than ever to help those affected in our community. We can do that through leading edge technology; keeping people connected and safe; by providing efficient ways to transact home sales; and by taking an oath of transparency. Our job is to help those we serve – so they can focus on essentials like caring for their families, focusing on work, and rebuilding our great community.
Join us in this commitment to building a bright community.