How Real Estate Firms Can Be Innovative During COVID-19
2020 has been nothing like what most of humanity expected especially in Real Estate. It has been challenging, especially with the world facing one of the most dangerous pandemics in recent history. The COVID19 has changed the way of life for almost all the sectors. It has pushed us to get comfortable with “Work from Home.” Masks and sanitizers have become essential for survival. And “Quarantine” has become a household name. But as Arthur C. Clarke once said, “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”
Adaptation and innovation have been the reason why humans have been able to survive for thousands of years. There has been an increase in social media content creator personalities and tools such as Youtube creator, Instagram video editor like InVideo, blogger, or animator as work and entertainment mostly become virtual.
Humanity is currently learning how to live with the pandemic, which has led to several innovative ideas. In this article, you will be reading about some of them in Real Estate, one of the most promising business sectors.
The Central Focus of Innovations
1. Making Property Acquisition Easier and Quicker
The biggest hurdles in real estate have been transactions. Not only are they time consuming, but also filled with complicated paperwork. This process was not just an inconvenience to the client but also the realtor as they would have to visit the buyer to get the signature on every single paper.
- Tech startups like Dotloop and DocuSign were the early innovators who tried to convert the transition process online and introduced the concept of e-signature through cloud computing.
- Startups like Qualia are taking one step even further and creating a transaction hub that collects all the transaction documents. Here, every party involved, including the lenders, agents, and clients, can interact virtually and look at all the processes.
- Brands like Notarize are working to make the transaction process effortless by introducing remote notarization of documents. Now a person can be anywhere and still notarize the document through a webcam and finish the real estate transaction.
- Blockchain is predicted to be an essential player in the future transactions of real estate. Currently, Propy is leading the blockchain technology in real estate by using a single digital location for the parties to sell properties through smart contacts. Propy uses Ethereum blockchain as its platform for the transactions.
2. Virtual Tour
A critical process of finding real estate involves going through several properties before understanding what a client needs. Earlier, this was done by flipping the pages of a brochure and then visiting the location. With the inception of the internet, the process became more accessible, but most buyers preferred a physical inspection anyway. But with the idea of social distancing and lockdowns, virtual tours are the new thing in real estate.
- Matterport is one such startup that creates a holistic 3-D tour that allows the buyers to experience the tour as if they are strolling into the property. It will enable you to zoom in and observe every detail.
- Virtual reality has also made its mark in real estate innovation. Some luxury real estate companies are working with Oculus technologies to offer a comprehensive virtual reality experience to the client.
- Companies like BoxBrownie are attempting virtual staging, which gives the realtors the freedom to use different home decor styles on the property’s image. The result would merge the idea with the existing project like a video collage maker such as Invideo. This allows potential buyers to have a comprehensive look at what the house will look like once it’s finished. Furthermore, it will also allow them to customize and design the property according to their preference.
3. Enhanced Construction Process
Traditionally, the construction of commercials and individual homes were done at the site where everything was done manually. This process demanded a lot of time, labor, and materials. Since the mid and post-COVID era will require people to keep distance, the traditional construction method might no longer qualify.
- Tech startups, like Katerra, are enhancing the process of construction by using prefabrication technology. Instead of executing maximum work on the construction site, Katerra uses the factories’ machines to create modules and prefabrication walls. This also avoids delays due to the weather condition and saves money along with reducing waste.
- The technology giant Amazon has invested in a startup called Plant Prefab. This startup is focusing on developing sustainable home-manufacturing factories. Its vision will allow consumers to save nearly 25% of the current cost and reduce time consumption by 50%. Plant Prefab focuses on the construction of smart homes created as per the owner’s comfort.
- The international hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton are working towards adopting modular construction for a better environment.
4. Smart Homes
- The internet of things has pretty much evolved our lifestyle in many different ways. When two of the world’s biggest tech companies show interest in Smart home technologies, you can guess its potential. That’s right! Amazon and Google have both funded heavily in smart home projects.
- Amazon acquired the smart doorbell company, Ring. Google is focusing on the evolution of the Nest thermostat as its line of smart home projects.
- Amazon has also announced pairing up with Lennar. It plans to advance smart home solutions through Alexa to offer smart locks, Wi-Fi, doorbells, smart lights, and thermostats.
- Companies are also investing heavily in voice-activated technology. Nearly a third of American homeowners already have the technology, and around 43% have said that they are interested in virtual assistants like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa.
- The smart home technologies will quickly evolve from a luxury to a necessity.
Companies will also face the challenge of updating the clients and making them comfortable with the technologies around themselves. Moreover, unlike before, the agents can’t just clean the house and offer the new homeowners’ keys. With smart technology around, the realtors have to ensure the previous owner’s data is completely removed to respect their privacy and allow the smart tech to customize based on the new owners’ preference.
The pandemic has indeed changed the way of life. But it will be over, and when it does, humanity will thrive again. Innovation in real estate is still in the early stages, and it would be interesting to see what the future holds. The comfort with smart homes will increase, but so will the complexity. But one thing is inevitable: the journey of real estate with innovation and technology is truly an exciting one!