- 19 agents directly referenced COVID-19 or Coronavirus by name in their listings remarks
- Several agents decided to postpone showings all together
- In total, 52 agents cancelled their open houses, instead opting to offer private viewings or provide a virtual tour of the home
- 145 listings promoted private showings or viewings of homes
- 39 listings explicitly mentioned offering a type of virtual presentation of the property
Approaching half-a-million infections and 20 thousand deaths worldwide, the impacts of the novel Coronavirus are being felt by virtually every human on planet Earth. Those who are fortunate enough to avoid contracting the virus are still affected by preventative measures imposed by national and local governments. A trip to the supermarket or eating a restaurant were simple realities of daily life less than a month ago—this is the case no more.
Acute shocks to the economy are also features of the COVID-19 pandemic. Steep declines in global stock markets and mass layoffs could result in financial ruin for some. However not all sectors of the economy are feeling the pain to equal extents. Thanks to an historic lowering of overnight interest rates by the Bank of Canada, those looking to buy a home are in a strong position to do so.
While there may be increased interest in purchasing a home, agents in BC are being encouraged by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of agents, buyers and sellers in the hopes of mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus. These measures are most obvious when it comes to adjusting when, how and where open houses will take place.
The team of data scientists at Roomvu Real Estate Marketing examined 1,953 properties listed for sale in Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley and during the week of March 16 (March 16 to March 23) and looked for keywords relevant to accomodations made by agents in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. The most common results were keywords related to postponing or cancelling open houses, providing opportunities for private viewings, and virtual tours.
Nineteen (19) agents directly referenced COVID-19 or Coronavirus by name in their listings remarks. Several agents decided to postpone or cancel showings all together, while others have made adjustments to enhance health and safety. Here are some examples:
In total, 52 agents cancelled their open houses, instead opting to offer private viewings or provide a virtual tour of the home. 145 listings promoted private showings or viewings of homes. This would ensure that a very limited amount of prospective buyers enter a home, facilitating appropriate social distancing. Some examples are listed below.
Thirty-nine (39) listings explicitly mentioned offering a type of virtual presentation of the property. Virtual tours can provide almost all the benefits of an in-person showing with the added benefits of avoiding close physical contact. Agents working with professional photographers can highlight and showcase the best features of a home in a sleek and engaging manner. What’s more, high-quality videography can replicate the experience of walking through each room of the home, allowing for an immersive experience. Examples of listings that promoted a virtual tour are listed below:
Social distancing was a concept known by few before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We now know that best practice is to remain two-metres apart. Real estate agents who are adjusting their open houses by arranging for private viewings by appointment or cancelling them completely are doing their part to adhere to best practices.
Additionally, virtual tours are an effective way of ensuring zero physical contact between agents, buyers and sellers. A high-quality virtual tour allows buyers to have a good look at a listing from the comfort and safety of their own home. Virtual tours put the buyer in control, as he or she can pause, play and rewind the virtual tour as they wish. Virtual tours are also cost effective as the right real estate marketing partner can help produce a high-quality tour that can save you the hassle of producing one yourself.
Everybody has a role to play in stemming the tide of the Coronavirus pandemic. While the outbreak has had an immeasurably negative financial impact on many, the real estate sector might avoid some of the worst impacts thanks to Canada’s low interest rates. If this is the case, agents should follow all recommendations from authorities including increased sanitation, limiting open houses, and perhaps most importantly, consider creating a virtual tour of your listing.