The housing market is dealing with tough blows from the COVID-19 pandemic, and real estate agents all over the country are struggling to increase properties’ home value amidst the crisis.
According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there was a massive 90 percent decline in homebuying interest and a 59 percent delay for purchases in the month of April alone. The NAR also reported an 18 percent decrease in real estate resales back in April, too. (And while there are positive signs of the market picking back up, things aren’t quite back to normal yet.)
Why did these significant declines happen? Buyers simply couldn’t leave their houses to look for new ones. Many also lost their jobs to the pandemic and didn’t want to risk a costly mortgage.
At the same time, like many other COVID-related work stories, real estate agents couldn’t leave their own houses to go to work and show their properties off to interested buyers.
Increasing a property’s home value
The current situation has real estate agents scrambling for the best home improvements that can help increase the value of their properties. What makes a property’s value increase in these unprecedented times?
Also, how will agents market their properties, given the implementation of social distancing in a post-COVID-19 world? To address these two key issues, learn to increase a property’s home value by improving three aspects of that property:
1. Create a functional home office
One of the emerging real estate trends in the new normal is the need for a home office. Home offices are big on buyers’ lists right now in preparation for a post-COVID-19 world.
Creating space for an office on your property is a proven way to increase its home value, according to Coldwell Banker Real Estate CEO Ryan Gorman. The growing trend since 2015 has shown that new buyers need a real home office space to work at, and according to Gorman, that trend is expected to spike because of the pandemic. Creating that space on your property is exactly how you’ll increase the resale value of your home.
2. Invest in a relaxing private outdoor space
Lockdown measures have forced people to stay indoors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Though lockdowns have eased in the past few weeks, people still need a place to unwind in the privacy of their homes.
Your clients need that private outdoor space where they can relax without ever being near anybody else. They’ll also need the space to make them feel like they’re having fun outside, even while they’re safely indoors.
Invest in either adding an outdoor space to your property or sprucing up the one that’s already there so your clients can have their own outdoor space without having to go outside.
3. Ensure reliable internet connectivity in the new normal
More than anything else, buyers will look for an excellent internet connection for everything they need to do online from the comfort of their homes. They’ll need it for work, to host family video calls and socialize with friends, among others. (There’s even a growing trend among luxury real estate buyers who will pass up a home purchase if the connectivity isn’t desirable.)
If you plan to invest in major improvements for your property, work on the internet connection. Ensure your clients’ connectivity with the outside world in the new normal by providing them with excellent connection at home.
Using online marketing to add value
Aside from finding cost-effective ways to increase your property’s home value, safeguard your business by aggressively marketing your property to potential clients. How exactly will you run a marketing promotion in the new normal?
Below are three no-brainer methods to add value to your home on a budget through online marketing. If you haven’t been taking advantage of virtual open houses and 3D tours already, now’s the time.
1. Host virtual open houses
It’s no surprise that in today’s world, virtual house tours are becoming more and more in demand. During a virtual tour, the agent goes to the property and “tours” potential clients around the house via a video call on their phone.
This allows agents to show off the key selling points of a house without any human contact. However, how will agents attract potential buyers in the first place?
A real estate agent should create and maintain a Facebook page of their properties. Garner as many interested clients as possible on the page, then schedule a virtual open house Facebook event. Visit the property, and tour online attendees around the house. Answer their questions about the house’s features or price guides, in real time, without any in-person human interaction.
2. Create 3D tours
Another way to market your properties in a post-COVID-19 world is to create 3D tours. Sites such as realtor.com, Zillow and Redfin have been using virtual technologies for years to showcase properties. The current situation has only led to a rise in their popularity.
A 3D tour may seem difficult to create, but the three websites mentioned will help make it easy for you. Start by downloading a 3D tour app, like Zillow, and following its instructions on how to shoot a video to create a 3D home.
It’ll tell you the best angles for each room, how to light your videos and how to efficiently map out the property for your buyers’ convenience. This way, clients can view and tour your property any time, without anyone risking their health by going outside.
3. Update your property’s online profile
One simple thing that you, as an agent, can do to easily promote your property online is to update its profile page. Given the significant decline in real estate sales and the market’s interest in buying houses, it’s imperative for you to keep your buyers up-to-date with what’s going on with your properties.
Let them know about changes in housing prices in the post-COVID-19 market. Keep them in the loop about additions and renovations you had undertaken for their convenience. Tell them how you’ve adjusted your services with an online platform to reach them better. Update your online profiles on Facebook, Zillow, LinkedIn and more, so that you can maintain your client’s interest in you, too.
Real estate agents are navigating through unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt terrible blows to the property industry by forcing sellers and buyers alike to stay indoors.
On a positive note, this situation also presents the unique opportunity for real estate agents to increase their properties’ home value and shift to digital marketing in a post-COVID-19 world.
The real estate market could bounce back much faster than agents may expect; so just persevere with the current situation, and then find those unique opportunities to grow and thrive.
Jona Jone is a former mortgage originator in Philadelphia; she’s a business and property specialist who writes about real estate investment, business, parenting and living at Vistage Executive Street Blog.