The process of finding a dream home is becoming an increasingly digital one, saving both buyers and agents time, hassle and money.
Like all sectors, the real estate industry has been increasingly affected by technological innovations such as the development of SaaS, VR and AR.
Then COVID-19 came, and suddenly the digitization had to be instant. Realtors who were unable to offer digital sales processes were then unable to sell at all, and businesses in all industries are forced to reinvent their processes and structures to adapt to this new situation.
The real estate industry is changing
The role of the realtor has changed from being very hands-on and physical to a role that can be managed more or less from anywhere. And remote work is not something that will pass with the virus: it's here to stay.
Businesses that choose to embrace flexible working sooner rather than later will have a strong competitive advantage, both when it comes to attracting top talent and delivering top-class customer experiences.
Digitalization and real estate
Digitalization has led to an 'always-on' culture where people work on and off around the clock. The same goes for customers, who have come to expect service whenever and wherever they ask for it; regardless of the time of day or what device or platform they are using.
In short, both employees and clients expect more flexibility. This is something that has had a significant impact on the real estate industry, where availability, response times and customer service can make or break your business.
Technology is changing the real estate industry in numerous ways, with innovative tools for home viewings and virtual reality helping agents transcend geographical barriers.
Virtual reality in the real estate industry has led to decreased cost and increased conversion rates. Clients are able to buy and virtually alter houses with just the click of a button, from the comfort of their home.
These technologies have proven invaluable during the pandemic, and usage will most likely only continue to increase. These tools have also opened the possibility to work remotely as a realtor.
How to succeed in selling homes remotely
There are numerous benefits of remote work, both for employers and employees. These include higher productivity, improved performance, better employee retention and increased profitability.
"There should be no reason that you can't operate your office remotely from anywhere with internet access. It's physically possible. Options for everything are out there," says Connecticut-based realtor David Aurigemma.
All the technology for going remote is out there and ready for you to implement. But making the transition from office life to remote work also comes with some challenges. Here we'll have a look at best practices to help you overcome them.
5 best practices to transition to remote work as a realtor
1. Be sensitive to the current situation
It's important to acknowledge that we're in an exceptional time historically and that as a result of the pandemic, many people right now are selling and buying homes out of necessity. Agents who ignore the current state of affairs can come across as tone-deaf and lacking in empathy.
2. Pick up your phone or book a video meeting
Email won't do the trick; you need to talk to the other person in order to build trust. Sure, you can send your listing packages and photos via email, but make to follow up by phone or video.
Want a competitive edge? Try adding video to the live chat on your website. Don't have live chat on your website yet? Now is the time to add it.
3. Offer virtual tours or video walkthroughs
With COVID-19, virtual 3D tours quickly went from nice-to-have to need-to-have. It may feel like a complicated and costly investment, but it's the most effective tool you can use to stay profitable through the pandemic and beyond.
If you're not able to make the investment, video walkthroughs are also a great way to show homes and property from a distance. All you need is your phone and a steady hand, to show your prospects what you're selling.
4. Make sure you have the right tech stack in place
Several components will help you turn remote work into a success for your team. For handling calls at scale, a robust PBX (Private Branch Exchange) or UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) system that's integrated with your CRM and other apps can help you make sure everyone who is calling your business has the best possible experience.
To keep things simple, Slack is great for internal communication within your team while Zoom is the new global favorite for video meetings. To quickly set up local numbers and call anywhere in the world, check out VoIP tools (Voice over Internet Protocol) like Aircall or RingCentral.
As a real estate agent, you are counting on different business applications to reach out to the right people at the right time. To do so, you need to have access to your contacts’ information at all times. But that information is collected by several tools that don’t really "talk" to each other. By integrating all your applications and contacts, you will be able to provide a seamless experience for both clients and coworkers.
5. Communicate with your team
Make sure your agents don't feel isolated and prevent misunderstandings by focusing on ultra-clear and regular communication within your team. Book regular meetings and one-on-ones with your team members, and opt for video rather than phones.
Remember to plan some digital time together that is not work-related to make room for the office banter that otherwise would have taken place by the coffee machine. Virtual happy hours, after works or coffee breaks can work wonders for motivation and morale.
How will your real estate business adapt to remote work?
The role of the realtor is changing. Today it's not only possible but necessary to provide a digital process for showing and selling property.
Running an operation with remote agents and virtual sales processes comes with several perks, but also some challenges. Remember these five best practices for remote work as a real estate business that will help you find success:
- Be sensitive to the current situation
- Pick up your phone or book a video meeting
- Offer virtual tours or video walkthroughs
- Make sure you have the right tech stack in place
- Communicate more than you think is necessary
If implemented, these steps will help your team make a seamless transition from office life to remote work and thrive digitally.
At PieSync, we’ve created a solution to make sure you always have the data you need when you work remotely - be it about leads, prospects or customers - right at your fingertips. By having your CRM, marketing, sales and emailing tools in sync, you can save hours on contact management, focus on important leads, and improve your customers’ experience by providing a personal touch during each interaction.