Coronavirus has proved to be an obstacle for many industries, not least the property industry. With the restrictions created by social distancing, traditional methods to advertise properties during COVID-19 and steps for selling a property have had to be altered. This new landscape can be difficult to navigate.
Firstly, it is essential to adhere to official advice. As of 13 May, people have been able to move to a new house. Agents can list new properties, and in England they are able to visit properties to take photos and videos provided they adhere to public health guidance. Estate agents should not be visiting the property if any member of the household is showing symptoms or self-isolating. Physically distanced viewings are now allowed in England. However, they must only take place with serious buyers who are genuinely interested in the property. In the haste to get back to normal, it is important to remember that the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved is the most important issue.
While physically distanced viewings that adhere to public health guidelines are now allowed, tech savvy agents have been adapting to virtual views by embracing new technology such as video walk-throughs, 3D imaging and drone footage to showcase properties online. These methods can be extremely effective and are Covid-19 friendly ways to advertise a property. For those who were reluctant to embrace new technology, Covid-19 could be that final push to do so. Adopting these methods now, out of necessity, could ultimately benefit your business in the long run, even in a post-coronavirus world.
Preparing for a virtual viewing is similar to preparing for a face-to-face viewing, in that the property should be clean, decluttered and well lit. Do not neglect the outdoor spaces. Mowing the lawn, sweeping pathways and arranging any outdoor furniture will make a difference.
Plan your route, where you are going to walk and what rooms you are going to show, ensuring nothing is blocking your path. Once you have planned your filming route and what spaces you would like to focus on, decide what features you would like to give greater airtime to. Does the property have a kitchen island or a nice view from the master bedroom? Remember to give time to the front of the property and back garden as well. Also remember — you are not just selling the house, but the local area, so sharing high quality images of the local town will be beneficial.
Ensuring that you have high-quality video footage is essential. While a camera is useful, it is by no means necessary given the quality you can achieve on today’s smartphones. It is important to note that videos should be filmed in landscape and at eye level. Do the property justice by capturing it in the best possible lighting; turn the lights on, open the blinds and curtains and wait for a nice sunny day. A huge benefit of pre-recorded walk-throughs is that you are able to showcase the property at different times of day, in different lighting.
Multiple practice run throughs might be necessary before the video is ready for commercial viewing. It might be worth getting a professional to edit the video to maximise its impact. It will be personal preference whether you want commentary or music.
Many in our industry have also been hesitant to make the move onto social media platforms, due to the belief that clients are not looking for property services on these platforms. However, it must be acknowledged that our client base on these platforms is growing. Social media is a great way to interact with users, share good press and advertise properties. Paid ads on Facebook and Instagram are often the most effective way to get in front of clients. Facebook has a great variety of targeting features that ensure you only pay to get noticed by your key target audiences.
Today’s consumers like to do a lot of research themselves online when making major purchases, and that includes buying a home. Create a professional, user-friendly website that makes it easy for users to access all of the information they may need. Make sure all your property pages have great photos, virtual tours, a list the hot spots nearby and their respective walking or driving distances and easy access to online maps. Also consider tools such as Google My Business, which makes it easy for users to find you in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+.
When advertising and selling a property in the current environment, all parties will have to adapt and be flexible. If you are conducting face-to-face viewings, be sure to follow guidance closely. Covid-19 has significantly affected our industry. However, if you have not yet stepped into the virtual property world, this is your “silver lining”. Now is the perfect time to experiment. This technology will not cease to exist post pandemic. Instead, it is likely to become a base line expectation, so those who capitalise on it now will continue to benefit well into the future.
Written by Israel Moskovitz,
“New ways to advertise properties during Covid-19” first appeared on my Medium profile.