Beyond the location and list price, residential real estate is tied to buyer emotion. How does this home make me feel? Could I envision my family here; living, playing, growing up? Nothing beats touring a home in person; so how do you provide buyers with that same emotional experience in the midst of a health crisis with restricted human contact impacting our local market?

Technology is your answer. In 2016 I moved cross-country from the East Coast to Southern California and had to rely heavily on technology for my real estate research, planning, viewing, buying and selling. I set virtual parameters for my home search area and mapped listings so I could maximize the limited time I had to visit in person. When I needed to see a home quickly, but didn’t have the availability to take the long flight, my agent provided video chat walkthroughs of properties to show me details and answer my questions. Along with her knowledge of my preferences, it was as good as being there. I found my SoCal dream home, completed the closing online, and sold my East Coast home the same way. The use of technology ensured my experience was not only fun, it was also convenient and painless.

The technology to make all this happen has been in use for a long time and is now more important to the buying and selling process than ever. The Southern California market is still hot, homes are selling, but virtual reality isn’t just nice to have, it’s a necessity. If you haven’t already, learning to embrace the idea of virtual reality will make your own buying experience more efficient. If you’re selling, it’s imperative to interview potential agents and find one who has experience utilizing every available technology resource to reach your perfect buyer.

Read below about four of the key technologies they need to know.

1) Virtual Tours

A virtual tour allows your potential buyer to walk through the front door, into the kitchen, up the stairs and see a 360 degree view of every room, without physically being in your home. Advanced technology in this area provides a 3D thumbnail model of your home, allowing buyers to see the various floors and layouts, rotate the view, and select a specific room they want to enter and explore in more detail.

2) High-Quality Photos

Buyers are using mobile phones and tablets to do their research and this means they can zoom in on the smallest details. You want high-quality, professional photographs of your home interior and exterior. Consider a drone video or aerial photo of the exterior of your home, especially if there is a scenic view, you want to show your home’s proximity to a landmark such as a park or school, you want to show unique property lines, or there’s a landscaping feature you want to highlight.

3) Detailed, Accurate and Visually-friendly Listings

Buyers do most of their research and planning online before they ever step foot in your home. Ensure your listing is not only detailed and accurate, but expresses some of the emotion of living there. Don’t be afraid to provide your agent with adjectives or phrases that describe what you love about your home or neighborhood. 

In addition, make sure they know how to make your listing visually-friendly and appealing to the reader. An agent that puts his/her listing in all caps is an immediate red flag to me. It’s harder to read, just like selectively overusing accents on the text (bold, italics), poor grammar and spelling, inappropriate capitalization, etc. The second thing buyers look at online (after pictures) is the description of your home for sale. Make sure the combination of both compels them to see it in person or virtually.

4) Virtual Open House and Walk-through

Video/chat applications have increased in popularity. You’ve likely seen these virtual meetings used for everything from work teams to book clubs to family gatherings facilitated through this type of technology. Virtual applications appeal to a wide audience because they’re relatively easy to use as a participant. Your agent can host a virtual open house using this same technology. Advertise your virtual open house along with the application link in your listing. If you’ve chosen an experienced and tech-savvy agent, they’ll know exactly what to do to manage a virtual group while highlighting your property and fielding questions. Potential buyers can come and go effortlessly and will benefit from any group discussion that occurs. Encourage buyer agents to provide individual video/chat walk-throughs of your home and property. This limits the number of people entering your home, and allows buyers to interact with someone they trust and who knows their preferences. 

While the real estate market is changing in reaction to current events, there are technologies that effectively support our new normal, expand the potential audience, and actually improve the experience; making it more enjoyable and convenient for both buyers and sellers. Share with us below what creative things you have seen happening!

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