With the recent move to Alert Level 3, the real estate industry has returned to work and based on current trends, the future looks promising. But what exactly will “business-as-usual” post lockdown look like?
Covid-19 has drastically altered the landscape of the traditional workplace for the majority of South Africans. The way we occupy physical space is forever changed with the concept of social distancing, making it difficult for traditional businesses, such as the real estate industry who rely on face-to-face contact to service their clients.
Pre-pandemic, the real estate industry relied on technology primarily for marketing purposes. However, the lockdown created a sense of urgency to re-evaluate the way we can utilize technology to facilitate the transaction process and still provide exceptional service to our clients.
Although this was born out of necessity to ensure the industry can still survive, it has, in fact, allowed the future of the industry to thrive. With the help of an array of innovative digital tools, the entire buyer's journey can now safely be completed online; from viewings done with the help of Virtual Reality technology and online meetings via video applications such as Zoom, Facetime etc., to using digital signatures for any official documents - facilitating a seamless, contactless, and paperless transaction.
For prospective buyers, being able to view multiple properties from the comfort and safety of their own homes will help them to narrow down
their shortlist and reach a decision much sooner than they would with multiple in-person viewings based around the homeowner or the agent’s schedule. Essentially speeding up the buying process. This will be particularly advantageous to out-of-town and international clients or those with health concerns. Whilst technology is a great enabler, a truly awesome client experience is only created when it is combined with a personalised service that companies like Harcourts have always been focused on providing.
The groundwork laid during the lockdown will in future allow for a more convenient home-buying experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the use of these technologies will replace the traditional agency, but rather that those who cannot meet their customers’ expectations for a seamless online solution, will surely fall behind.
Harcourts South Africa CEO