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Real Estate Innovation at an All-time High

Every morning we are waking up to a new normal as we deal with the updates of our country's united fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Things are changing at such a fast pace that is hard to comprehend. Businesses are having to accommodate new rules and limitations that protect us from an invisible enemy that's created a huge gap in human interaction. Yet, we are also witnessing an amazing amount of hope, resilience, and resourcefulness from communities all across America.

The English proverb "Necessity is the mother of invention" is impactful during this time. In truth, crisis and emergencies force innovation into overdrive out of sheer necessity. We are experiencing an innovation boom throughout different industries as we navigate our new normal. We are seeing companies migrate from manufacturing one product (like alcohol) and choosing to pivot to produce different products that many are in desperate in need of (like hand sanitizer).

These are the same efforts seen in World War II when American companies put the frontline first. Our men and women on this frontline wear a variety of uniforms, but they, too, are desperate for the American people to stay home and save lives.

So where does this leave the real estate industry? 

There's no way around it, COVID-19 is changing the home buying experience. As "stay-at-home" orders are being implemented across the U.S., real estate agents are relying heavily on self-guided tours as well as digital closings to create a seamless home buyer experience. We are seeing robots become a resource for home tours, virtual reality allowing shoppers to walk through a home while simply sitting on their couch, and digital lockboxes providing security measures to allow buyers to tour homes unaccompanied. So far, all of this innovation has received positive buyer feedback.  

Let's look at some of the numbers:

  • 3-D home tour creations are up 191% in March over February according to Zillow.
  • Request for agent led video tours have increased 494% on Redfin.
  • Self-tours have surged with the invention of a digital lockboxes, created by Rently, that allows home shoppers a one-time tour of empty homes.
  • Since March 11, real estate start-up Zenplace has seen a 293% increase in interest for its smart automated lockboxes. They've also seen a 278% increase in robot tours, video, online, and 3-D tours.
  • Lately, according to Zillow, listings with virtual tours get 87% more views. Homes with virtual  tours are saved 50% more and sell 10% faster by potential home buyers.

There is no question that, like everything else, social distancing will change how the real estate market operates today and beyond the pandemic. So what technology will you adopt in order to thrive? What new ways of doing business will ultimately change your real estate business for the better? These are things you need to think about as you move your business into this new, unchartered territory.

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