By Tami Kenwell
COVID-19 has changed everything. The way we work, play, meet and transact. But as much as this global crisis has created isolation, in many respects, it’s also brought us closer together. People are picking up groceries for neighbours, checking in virtually on friends and family, posting signs of encouragement in neighbourhood windows and meeting face to face through panes of glass.
From a real estate marketing perspective, one might think that the coronavirus has brought projects to a screeching halt. However, with innovative thinking, digital tools, a virtual team and a heaping of positivity, many builders and developers are planning and preparing for future launches, and some have positioned themselves to sell online.
Making an online purchase is an experience that’s very familiar to most consumers. Think Amazon, Airbnb, Netflix, Uber and Walmart. Although some of these purchases don’t compare to the value of a home, society is definitely trending in that direction. Look at how comprehensive and immersive car manufacturers’ websites have become. You can build and customize your ride right down to the stitching on the steering wheel.
Home and condo builders and developers are applying this same thinking to their offerings. Instead of having a purchaser come to a physical store, they’re being invited to explore virtual environments on their personal devices.
And the experience can be the same or better. You can start with an emotional video, showcase your community’s unique selling proposition, virtually tour a model home or suite, preview colours and finishes, select a lot and design with real time availability and pricing, digitally sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and place deposits.
Two digital thumbs up
Anywhere in the world.
You can even kick things off with a video conference call to guide consumers through your app or host a broker event to give you that face to face interaction. Two digital thumbs up.
So, the big question is: Will buying a new home online become the new norm?
It’s pretty clear that the familiarity, social appetite and platforms are in place, so in my opinion, it’s just a matter of time.
By Tami Kenwell is President of Madhouse Advertising, Toronto. madhouseinc.ca