One of the reasons we enjoy the real estate business so much is that we love interacting with our customers. Part of our job is to build rapport and create trust with the buyers and sellers that depend on us to manage their real estate transactions and we have always enjoyed the “social” interactions with our customers. Now we are faced with a new reality of “social distancing” and practicing our profession “virtually” and “electronically”. Ironically, we have been preparing for this for many years. By The Sea Realty has always been a leader in real estate technology. We have always prided ourselves in providing the very best web based services and engaging with our customers “virtually” through video chat, electronic meetings and the very best virtual marketing services. Not only are we ready for the “new normal” in real estate, we have been ready for years!
Can you imagine closing a real estate transaction without ever meeting your agent in-person? Its not ideal, but entirely possible!
The “New Normal” In Real Estate Technology
I’m not going to pretend this will be easy, but please understand that nothing is more important to us then your health and safety. As prepared as we are for this new normal, the following technologies are still not perfect and navigating your way through a real estate transaction these days may take a little more patience. Rest assured, we are very patient and we will strive to provide you with the very best “virtual customer service” available. In order to do this, we may need to utilize some or all of the following technologies.
- “Zoom” Meetings – Like Kleenex, Zoom has become a household name. We have literally been using web based conference software for decades. Names like GoToMeeting, JoinMe and Google Meet are still excellent platforms and we can still utilize them when necessary, but Zoom has become our meeting room of choice and we even use it for our regular sales meetings in our office. All of our agents have Zoom and/or Google Meet accounts and they are very comfortable having that first “face-to-face” meeting with you in their personal Online Meeting Room. Lets have a video chat, maybe view some MLS listings together, and please allow us to take you on a virtual tour of our area via Google Maps and Street View.
- Live Property Tours – Again, this technology has been pretty normal for us for many years. With so many second home owners purchasing property in South Florida, we have gotten used to walking through property listings alone and chatting with our customers over our smart phones. Again, Zoom is great for this, but we can certainly take you on a tour with your preferred app, including FaceTime, Skype or Google Meet.
- 3D Spaces (aka 360 degree Virtual Tours) – While “3D” and “360 degree” are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, they are very different technologies offering very different experiences. Many cameras today can capture both 3D and 360 imagery, allowing us to create virtual 3D spaces for the most immersive “walk through” property tours available. 3D virtual tours were traditionally utilized for our luxury property listings only, but now we are offering to create 3D spaces and virtual walk through tours for ALL of our listings. There are many 3D tour providers available today, but we prefer the original Matterport Spaces for our 3D walk-through tours. Ask your agent for details.
- High Resolution Photography – We have been taking professional high resolution photographs of our listings for years, but unfortunately our industry’s MLS and Internet syndication systems can’t seem to keep up. Currently, images uploaded to our local MLS (no matter what the resolution) are downsized and syndicated to web sites like Zillow and Realtor.com at a maximum size of 800 pixels wide. Most people are viewing these images on devices with higher resolution screens. For example, a typical 1080p computer monitor is 1920 pixels wide and the new iPhone 11 is 1792 pixels wide. What’s the solution? We make sure buyers can access our original high resolution images by uploading our listing photos to a specialty photo hosting and sharing platform.
- Video – Everybody loves video and since Google acquired YouTube over 13 years ago Internet video has become more and more mainstream. In fact, YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. This is why we produce video of our listings and upload them to our YouTube channel so the world can find your listing on YouTube.
- Drones – As of March 10th, 2020 there were 1,563,263 drones registered in the US (many people don’t register their drone). One of the primary uses of commercial drones is real estate photography and video. Capturing your property from the sky and producing aerial photos and videos has been part of our marketing program for years. Ask your By The Sea Realty agent what type of drone footage is appropriate for your property listing.
- e-Signatures – Our forms programs allow us to collect signature electronically for any of our real estate documents. We can sign listing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, and any other document necessary to facilitate the listing, marketing and closing of a real estate transaction. And, e-Signatures are perfectly legal and binding. According to Florida’s “Electronic Signature Act of 1996” an electronic signature “…shall have the same force and effect as a written signature”. And, as of January 1st, 2020 the state of Florida recognizes Remote Online Notary Public protocol, so your signatures can even be notarized remotely if necessary for your real estate closing.
In closing, let me just say to our customers that we would much rather meet with you in person, do live showings and sit across from you at the closing table. We hope to resume some or all of these activities very soon, but in the meantime we have the technology to virtually assist our buyers and sellers with their real estate transactions. Lets get in a Zoom room and talk about how we can assist you today.