Are You Prepared for Digital-First Home Buyers and Renters?

Hans Vallden
April 28th 2021
The pandemic has shifted how we live and how we shop, accelerating digital transformation in every aspect of our lives. Home buying and renting are no exception. While many have been confined to their homes, the real estate market has skyrocketed, and more and more buyers are conducting research and buying and leasing homes, fully online.
As this landscape shifts to hybrid online and in person, there’s never been a better time to invest in the digital experience you offer buyers and renters. If you aren’t able to accommodate online research and even purchase in your online experience, your properties could get left behind.
Read on for ideas on how to upgrade the digital experience you offer, and how Vincit can help develop innovative features that will make your web visitors feel ready to buy or rent, even if they’ve never set foot on the property.
Current Housing Market COVID-19 has changed so much in a short period of time, forcing more and more people to run their lives through digital platforms. With interest rates at an all-time low and a low supply of inventory, tech-savvy home buyers have been quick to invest in properties during this time. Remote work opportunities have resulted in migration from some big cities, creating more competitive rental markets. Full online home buying and renting is becoming a popular alternative to traditional home buying and many real estate companies need to adapt quickly, if they haven’t already.
In a recent survey, Zillow found that just over a third of Americans (36%) would likely buy a home entirely online, and 43% likely to try to sell a home entirely online. As the pandemic recedes, in-person property tours will take place more frequently again, but the importance of ensuring a great experience online to review properties is unlikely to change.
Advanced Technology to Enable Property Research Online With homebuyers capitalizing on the current market and renters seeking new options, real estate businesses must continue to adapt. Digital tools were adopted during COVID-19 when buyers and sellers couldn’t see properties in person, and these behaviors will likely continue after the pandemic. With new and improved technologies like 3D tours, enhanced maps to view neighborhoods and schools, and programs to process all paperwork virtually, now is the time your real estate or rental company should invest in the digital experience to attract buyers and renters.
3D Virtual Home Tours & Augmented Reality Full 360-degrees views and on-demand multimedia tours are becoming commonplace on property websites, led by innovators like Zillow. They found that “listings with a 3D Home tour got, on average, two times the amount of views than listings without. (Yes, really.)”
3D virtual home tours and augmented reality experiences not only allow home buyers to see a home, but listings with virtual tours sell faster and get noticed more than listings without. These types of enhancements strengthen the experience for home buyers and renters. Zillow’s experience raises the bar for everyone. If you don’t have a similar feature on your own website, buyers and renters may go elsewhere.
Vincit specializes in developing this type of innovation. For example, Vincit partnered with a leading property development company to create a self-guided tour feature in a mobile app. This allows potential renters to learn more and conduct contact-less touring and reduce unnecessary contact with an agent for a faster, easier journey.
Interactive and Immersive Maps Once buyers or renters have virtually toured their dream property, it’s time to tour the neighborhood. Real estate and rental companies can showcase houses by providing interactive maps of the neighborhood around them.
Most people are interested in the neighborhood, school proximity, nearby stores, parks, and more. Providing an interactive map to highlight these key amenities will help prospective buyers and renters learn more without ever having to visit in person.
Virtual Paperwork and eSignatures When it comes to closing the deal, companies like DocuSign have made the process of getting signatures a breeze. Not only does this digital experience save paper, but sending documents virtually increases the efficiency of the buying or renting process.
Whether buyers or renters are staying safe and healthy, or cannot meet at a specific time to sign papers in person, virtually sending paperwork keeps the process moving, especially in a time when homes are flying off the market. Enabling this through integrations in your digital experience is critical to keep deals moving.
How to Upgrade Your Digital Experience Whether your real estate company is still figuring out how to make a virtual experience for buying a home, or are working to make the best experience for your clients (virtually and in-person), it’s important to make sure that the buyers are informed and educated on the process of buying a home online. It's especially important to work closely with first-time buyers or renters who have not gone through the process before.
Integrate Video Calls and Chat Options While you may not be able to educate your clients in person in your office, it’s key to make them feel supported throughout this journey. Buyers and renters want information in the moment and are generally less willing to make a call, but may be willing to chat or text for more information. Enabling easy outreach, video calls, and immediate more responses in your digital experience will keep buyers and renters engaged and on your site.
Offer Immersive Video Tours Once the buyers and renters have narrowed down their search to their top picks and are ready to tour the homes, video is critical to giving the true look and feel for a place. Integrating these video walkthroughs is a way to showcase both the property and the feeling buyers and renters will get by working with you. Make these videos easy to find, easy to share, and full of personality.
As COVID-19 pushed many into the virtual world, these technologies have become a large part of the real estate business and will continue to be a great option for home buyers and renters, in-state or out-of-state. Now is the time to invest in your digital experience because behaviors that become regular during the past year are unlikely to revert back.
The more that you can enable buyers and renters to research on their own, online if they prefer, the more opportunities you’ll have to grow your business.
If you’re ready to invest in your digital experience and upgrade your website or app, let’s talk.

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