If you’ve been running a real estate business successfully, or if you’re considering getting involved in the field now, it’s important to take note of how much the industry has changed. Operating a business in real estate in 2022 and beyond isn’t the same as it used to be, and there’s no going back to the way it was. The biggest reason behind the change was the pandemic, but that only pushed the timeline up faster and forced people to make quick adjustments. The changes were already starting well before then.

Everything Has Gone Virtual in Real Estate Business

Investing in Real Estate

Like many other industries, the real estate industry has responded to changing times but going virtual. That’s good news for some, because it makes things more convenient. But if you’re in the industry and not prepared to make that adjustment, you could find yourself left behind. Both agents and business owners need to be fully aware of their role in a real estate transaction, and need to make themselves virtually accessible to keep their business strong and growing.

Going virtual is more than just real estate virtual assistants, virtual tours and plenty of pictures of available homes. It’s also online listing agreements, and signing contracts through email and other methods. It’s lockboxes and video chats, and closings where the buyer and seller don’t sit across the table from each other anymore. Is your real estate industry business prepared for that. Running a real estate business will never be the same as it was before the pandemic, and before technology became so convenient and effective.

Big Risks and Bigger Rewards

There are bigger risks with everything going virtual, but there are also opportunities for bigger rewards. It’s easier than ever to reach a wider audience, because so much information about properties for sale can be found online. Someone who wants to find a new place can look through several real estate sites, and then just contact the agent who has the property listed. They don’t even need to go see properties in person, until they’ve narrowed down the handful that they’re really interested in.

But agents and others who are parties to a transaction may not clearly understand the role they’re playing now. For example, a buyer’s agent isn’t going to have listings for sale. So, what’s the best way to make sure people can find them, and that buyers choose them to work with instead of just contacting the agent listed on the property that’s for sale? How can title companies make sure they’re staying viable, and real estate agents are recommending them to their buyers and sellers?

Those are important questions, and anyone in the real estate industry needs to make sure they’re finding answers to those questions and others. They need to get found, and if they can’t then they could risk not being able to make a living. Billboards and business cards used to be common, but those don’t work for virtual interactions. The biggest part of the changeover was so sudden that many agents and others had trouble catching up. The time to do that is right now, if it hasn’t been done already.

Many Areas Can be Handled Online

Many Areas Can be Handled Online

There are a lot of different areas of running a real estate business that can be handled online. Lead generation, processing, staffing, and more are all viable in the online space. Most properties are marked online now, and the days of printouts and flyers in a box in the front yard of an available property are dwindling. It’s convenient for buyers and sellers to be able to do things online, but the more they can do virtually the less they feel an agent is really doing for them. It’s important to change that perception.

Building Relationships is Easier in Person

While so much of the real estate industry is going virtual, it’s still better to build relationships in person whenever possible. It’s not always realistic to do that, because some buyers and sellers just aren’t comfortable meeting face-to-face right now. Additionally, sometimes a buyer is from another location and isn’t in the area where they can meet an agent personally. For agents who can work directly with buyers and sellers, though, it’s definitely advisable. It’s a good way to remind your clients of what you can do for them.

Virtual Inspections Are Adding to the Concerns

One of the biggest effects of the pandemic and the changes to running a real estate business is virtual inspections. These aren’t a good thing for agents. If a consumer gets used to this, and can just find a property online and have it inspected virtually, they might feel like they don’t need an agent for anything. Agents do a lot more than helping buyers arrange inspections, of course, but the more a buyer is able to do for themselves, the more they feel like agents aren’t providing enough value for the cost they require.

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That will probably never fully come to pass, but it’s still a risk that agents need to be aware of. Even if a percentage of buyers choose that option, it will cut into the pool of buyers for agents to work with. That could seriously harm your bottom line. Making sure buyers and sellers understand your value to the real estate transaction can help reduce the risk that you’ll be pushed out of the industry due to virtual inspections and other technological changes.

Be sure buyers and sellers know what you can offer. Whether you’re an agent or a business owner, running a real estate business is different now, and you need to adapt to succeed.

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