The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do business in almost every industry, and real estate is no different. Realtors who had previously relied on warm handshakes and busy open houses found themselves forced to find new and creative ways to market homes in 2020.
As we move into 2021, we recognize that the old ways of doing business may never fully return to what it was before, and to succeed in the real estate game, Realtors have to adapt. The following are a few of the longer-term trends we see continuing into 2021 and beyond.
1. Digital and tech
Although it took some time, more Realtors now see the value of making their first point of contact a digital one. With restrictions and lockdowns still in place in many areas, people are reluctant to make in-person appointments before they have a good idea as to whether a home is the right fit for them. Additionally, more people are looking for homes farther away from where they currently live since the pandemic has increased our ability to work from anywhere. Digital interactions do more than promote safety – they also promote convenience.
As we continue into 2021, we will see more and more that first contacts will take place via video calls, and digital showings and open houses.
2. Social media advertising
With most of us being housebound for a large portion of 2020 and so far this year, the importance of social media marketing is only increasing in value as people spend more time checking Instagram and Facebook feeds. Realtors need to make mobile friendly social media marketing a priority this year to ensure that exposure and awareness is being optimized effectively.
High-quality content and video ads will be key to reaching audiences through various social media platforms.
3. Virtual tours
Just because potential homebuyers may not want to or be able to tour homes in person right now, it does not mean they do not want to tour homes at all – they just want to do it differently. At the height of the pandemic, 3D and Matterport technology virtual tours provided real estate agents with a huge boost in their home sales because it allowed potential buyers to tour homes simply by sitting down in front of their laptops or with their smart phones.
Moreover, virtual tours are proving to be incredibly efficient and convenient because open houses can be 24/7.
4. Power of community
During the pandemic, direct marketing has become less effective. Instead, Realtors are finding that building community and building relationships through content strategy is a powerful way to maintain engagement and expand audiences.
Some creative ways in which Realtors have done this is through digital seminars, meet-ups and networking events (on Zoom and Microsoft Teams) on topics such as health and wellness or life at home.
This will help Realtors stay top of mind and memorable.
5. Drone work
Drones tour properties, surrounding areas and neighbourhoods. Give buyers a tour of the neighbourhood in order to highlight nearby schools, businesses and amenities. Sell the lifestyle before the buyer even sees the home.
Through the use of drones, it is now possible to give this neighbourhood tour remotely, allowing for a much broader audience to take part in the tour digitally through social media and other platforms.
While 2020 completely disrupted the way most of us conduct business, it also helped to provide opportunities and accelerate the use of technology in the real estate industry. If you want your business to thrive in 2021, the time is now to take advantage of these emerging trends.