5 Ways to Conduct Digital Real Estate
I am so fortunate to have been in companies that have taught me how to be “paperless” long before it was a complete necessity. Digital real estate is here. The great thing is that it’s been here for a while. And I have been practicing it for years. In these uncertain times, people are scared, and it’s understandable. My hope is, that we all take a step back and come up with solutions to overcome our fears. How can we do our jobs remotely? If our job cannot be done remotely (ie. hair stylist, care provider, photographer, restaurant server, hotel housekeeper), what other jobs can we do that will bring us income while we aren’t able to go to our physical jobs?
I started thinking about these questions as it related to my business and I was delighted to realize that I have been practicing digital real estate with my clients for quite a while. Here’s how it can work:
- Digital meetings. Listing appointments and Buyer intro meetings can both be done online. Sellers can “walk” me around their house using any number of apps or programs from their phone. We can then discuss staging, any necessary repairs, marketing strategy, and price. If Sellers are concerned about anyone coming into their home, they can even choose to take good quality photos themselves and send them to me. Buyers and I can either have phone conversations or we can do an online meeting to discuss their needs.
- Digital marketing. While most of our marketing is done digitally already, we can step up this strategy and add other online and advertising and marketing digital options.
- Virtual showings/tours/open houses. I have been doing this for out of state Buyers for years. Buyers can write offers contingent on seeing the property in person. There are several ways to do virtual showings, tours, and/or open houses. Facebook Live is great for virtual open houses. People can tune in, ask questions, ask to see in the attic, closets, etc.
- Digital paperwork. My office is paperless. I have been working paperless for years. All contract docs can be sent and signed digitally. Important communication can be done via phone and email with anything official being handled through digital platforms.
- Remote closings. I have also done this for years. It is typically easier for a Seller since they have far less documents to sign than a Buyer who is getting a loan, however, it can be done by either party if allowed by the title company (and I believe more will find ways to accommodate this request). The title agent or attorney can be available at a certain time to go over the paperwork with the Buyer and/or Seller over the phone or video conference. Two caveats to this: Documents have to be witnessed and signed by a notary and they will need to be emailed to you the day before closing for you to print out, signed, and sent back for delivery to the title company the day OF closing. This can happen if everyone is prepared for it. It really only adds one day to the process. As long as Buyers and Sellers have access to a printer and a notary, documents can be dropped in a Fedex box that same day.
Digital real estate does not have to be daunting and it certainly isn’t impossible. Most Realtors have been doing a lot of these things already so the only thing that will need to be adjusted is mindset. We are living in a new time, a new world. Maybe more things will be done this way when this pandemic is over. I, for one, am happy to accommodate client’s special needs. Always have – always will. Let’s ban together. Let’s keep doing business. Let’s just be smart about it.
Keep calm and practice digital real estate!
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.