As social distancing becomes the new norm, one national real estate agency is already enabling Australians to buy and sell property almost completely remotely.
National digital agency, Upside Realty, has set up remote appraisers, virtual meetings, digital contracts and communication between home-based real estate agents through cloud-based technology to minimise contact between property buyers and sellers in the current climate.
Upside Realty CEO and founder Adam Rigby said “It’s of utmost importance that government social distancing measures are implemented, and the industry needs to adopt quickly.”
“It could be a wake-up call for traditional agencies starting to think about how they are positioned to respond in a way that won’t impact upon the service they provide for their clients.
“Our local agents have been working from home from day one – we don’t have bricks and mortar offices.
“We are now providing the option for our buyers and sellers to communicate virtually with their agents over digital devices for any real estate services they require.
“The health and safety of our agents, in addition to our clients is of utmost importance and other revisions to our processes include upping hygiene guidelines (no more handshaking) and vetting attendees before they enter properties.
“This is a constantly evolving event, as such Upside will keep revising their processes and add in new provisions and procedures. As a company we have always been agile and worked to change around the needs of buyers and sellers.”
The processes Upside have rolled out, allowing houses to be bought and sold almost virtually include:
- Remote appraisals
For the first time in Australia agents are now able to remotely ascertain the price range of the property by utilising video conferencing, detailed knowledge of the area and metric combining technology.
- Virtual meetings
Buyers and sellers have the option to meet with agents digitally through a video call. Upside is also offering their clients the option to carry out virtual open home tours for interested buyers. This allows buyers to ‘walk through the property’ without having to leave their house, maximising the number of buyers looking at a property whilst limiting in person inspections to only the serious buyers. There is also a digitally approved signing platform which removes the need for in-person meetings to sign documents.
- Cloud-based software
Through end-to-end custom software program NurtureCloud, the functions of CRM, marketing automation, transactional and lead generation tools are all combined into one. In February, Ray White announced it would be using the platform. This technology was developed over 3 years alongside Upside agents out in the field. Whilst other businesses tackle the complexities of switching to working from home, Upside agents have always worked under these conditions, meaning their focus is on catering to the changing needs of buyers and sellers.
- Remote agents
There is no need for bricks and mortar agencies as agents around the country work from local home offices.
- Virtual open homes
Upside is also working with UberRE to bring virtual open houses to vendors. Unlike other virtual walk through products in the market, offerings are more secure for the vendor and aids in allowing the agents to generate offers as buyers need to sign into the virtual open home in the way that they would have to for a physical one.
- Other new hygiene practises in place
New hygienic practices at open homes include eliminating physical contact such as handshakes in favour of an elbow bump, working with vendors to organise more private open home inspections for interested buyers, dispensing disposable latex-gloves to every agent and open home attendee and practicing safe distancing at our auctions.
Real estate agent Gee Adams says working remotely has allowed her to be more efficient and to better serve her clients.
“The technology is a game changer – everything that we do as agents has been designed to make our jobs easier. With less down time it also enables us to help more clients,” said Ms Adams.
“I’m finding that I am much more productive. Unlike the traditional offices that I am used to, there are no distractions, I don’t have to compete for the marketing assistant or designated sales support with other agents. Our CX team also offers ‘round the clock’ support.”