Quarantined and House-Bound? 5 Ways Agents Can Use Tech to Cope
The coronavirus outbreak has millions of Americans quarantined and housebound. Yet with mortgage rates at historic lows, home buying demand is still strong, putting real estate agents in a bind.
How can they meet client needs, while also doing their part to stave off the spread of COVID-19?
Thankfully, the last few years have seen a surge in real estate-related technology — including many tools that can help during this trying time.
Are you looking to find ways to meet demand, while also safeguarding your health? Here are five solutions that can help.
For creating virtual floor plans and video tours:
Robust listings are going to be more important than ever in the coming weeks. As an increasing number of buyers shop for their homes virtually, they’ll be looking for detailed floor plans, video tours, and other value-adds that can really help them evaluate a property sight unseen.
Some tech tools that can help here include:
- Matterport: This solution helps you create interactive floor plans that incorporate high-definition photos and even highlight features and amenities. You can also use the tool to create videos of the property.
- Roomsketcher: This tool creates virtual 3D renderings of your listings that are fully interactive. Buyers can navigate the property using an avatar, and they can even fly over the home to see the layout in action.
- Floorplanner: If you’re looking for something simpler, Floorplanner lets you create both 2D and 3D floor plans using an easy, drag-and-drop tool. You can even decorate rooms and add furniture for an extra touch.
For enabling self-showings:
If you really want to minimize interactions and possible infection, then self-showings will be a must. To start, skip the old Supra keys, and opt for a smart lock instead. The codes for these can usually be changed via an app, making it super easy to enable showings on the fly. You can also use tools like ShowingTime to schedule these self-showings more easily.
For doing live virtual tours:
Want to give your buyers the personal touch without the actual physical interaction? Choose live, virtual tours instead. FaceTime and Skype can be great options (though remember: FaceTime is only available on Apple devices), and video conferencing tools can help, too — things like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Join.Me.
For handling contracts and negotiations:
The contract phase is one of the most easily digitized. Thanks to tools like DocuSign and HelloSign, getting signatures on contracts, addendums, and other documents only requires a few clicks of a button and a laptop or mobile device. DotLoop is another tool that can ease the contractual and more paperwork-laden parts of the transaction.
For closing the deal:
To really eliminate in-person interactions for your buyers, you’ll have to enable a digital loan closing as well. To start, make sure your clients look at digital-friendly lenders — ones who use online and mobile loan applications and secure, web-based document portals.
You can also point them toward mobile notary tools like Notarize or SnapDocs, both of which can allow them to close on their loan without actually sitting down at the closing table. (Keep in mind their lender and title company will need to agree to this first).
Be Safe Out There
In the event you need to interact with clients face-to-face, then make sure you take some precautions first.
Bring along alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoid shaking hands. You should also consider wearing latex gloves if you’re going to be touching a lot of common areas on the property — areas like light switches, doorknobs, and faucets.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind, too:
- Have Clorox wipes on hand so you can wipe down any surfaces prior to touching them. You should also wipe down any areas buyers might touch when touring a property.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before entering a client’s home and when leaving it. Use warm water and spend at least 20 seconds, scrubbing both the fronts and backs of your hands.
- Stand at least six feet away from others. This “social distancing” can help reduce the chance of transferring the virus.
- Avoid hosting open houses or events with large amounts of people. If you do host an open house, consider having buyers enter in 15-minute increments to give yourself time to clean and disinfect.
- Don’t touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes — especially after touching a common surface or another person. Always wash your hands before touching these areas.
Finally, stay home if you’re feeling off. Even if it’s just a tickle in your throat, avoid interactions with others until you’re sure you’re in good health. This is especially important if your clients are older or have compromised immune systems, as these are the most vulnerable populations when it comes to COVID-19.
We Can Help, Too
Are you looking to minimize risk as you go about business during the coronavirus outbreak? Get in touch with an Embrace loan officer today to learn how our tools and solutions can help.
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