Engage Real Estate Buyers During COVID-19 With Virtual Property Tours

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus is sending shockwaves through the world economy. Some have compared it to the downturn of 2008-2009, although the cause is very different.  What won’t be different is the profound impact it will have (and is having) on real estate.

Buyers in early 2020 find themselves in a hesitant place.  As urgency around COVID-19 has grown, many of us have been told not to go out except for essentials. How can property buyers tour real estate projects, gather for presentations, or attend open houses safely in a time when we’re supposed to maintain social distance?  

Engage buyers with virtual property tours.

We’re lucky to live in a time when VR for real estate is easy to access, simple to learn, rapid to build, and proven to provide immediate ROI (repaying the investment in less than 4 weeks, according to some studies). It’s an elegant solution to a widespread problem. The Greater Boston Association of Realtors has even sent out guidelines for its members to consider virtual property tours in place of in-person showings.

When you can’t be on location, VR is truly the next best thing.  In some ways, it’s even superior. Check out this residential virtual property tour, in which you can change out the color of the cabinets and the floor in real-time.

Real estate virtual tours can accomplish so much more than simple snapshots of a property.  A quality VR experience is immersive—like being there yourself. And it’s a versatile tool for all of the marketing activities around your work, not just showings.  You could use VR for real estate to:

  • — Pitch prospective tenants remotely…or just let them browse.
  • — Present a proposed property, either in the office or through an online meeting.
  • — Test and discuss design changes for a new location.
  • — Replace a planned open house for an existing location.

Virtual property tours are simple tools for showing and sharing your work remotely, both in real-time and whenever the time is right.  The right tools can bring everyone together, simultaneously, for a group presentation or tour, or make the tour individually available at each person’s convenience.

Michael and Kenny Bruce claim to be the world’s first 24/7 real estate agents. And virtual property tours play a big role in their company, Purplebricks. “There’s no more waiting for the phone to be answered or trudging up and down the high street during working hours,” they told Property Week. “We’re open when most other estate agents are asleep – viewings can be arranged, offers made and sales or lets agreed 24/7. We’ve even agreed sales on Christmas Day.”

Whatever you’re using it for, one key advantage of VR is that you can engage buyers again and again.  A virtual property tour is persistent and portable, not tied to a time and place. Host it on your website or share it via email, and it will keep working for you long after COVID-19 has finally petered out.

Solve social distancing with a permanent upgrade.

VR is a direct solution to some of the biggest challenges of this pandemic.  But it’s also an advantage that will stick with you. This is the perfect time to build experience with offering virtual property tours—a skill you can leverage for the rest of your career.

In 2017, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that real estate virtual tours were “very useful” to buyers.  According to their report:

  • A majority of adults with the internet have taken a virtual tour.
  • 54% of buyers won’t even look at properties without these virtual images.
  • Half found virtual property tours to be “very useful” in making their decision.

VR for real estate is an incredible opportunity to meet immediate demand in the market. Engage buyers remotely right now while upgrading your marketing toolkit for years to come.

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