The Future of Real Estate in a Quarantined World

Written by Jeff Cohn Posted On Monday, 06 April 2020 05:00

It’s definitely not business as usual- especially in real estate while most of the world is in quarantine. That doesn’t mean that your business can’t shift to a virtual business model to keep serving clients. Being forward-thinking – blending virtual with in-person interaction models – safeguards your business from the unexpected. 

Living in a virtual world

I’ve been telling people for years that I believe agents and consumers will demand a virtual office solution going into this next decade- that is now becoming a reality.  For the past five years, my team has been able to do everything virtually and physically at my brokerage in Omaha. We are now operating 100% virtually during the quarantine. Since we are, and have been, a paperless company, the current situation hasn’t impacted the function of our business as hard as most during the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 impacts on real estate

The current pandemic will affect real estate in a few ways. We are going to see less listings while people quarantine so the supply will go way down and the demand will continue to go up. Despite the fact we’re in a recession you will see a buyers market- due to a lack of inventory. With interest rates at an all time record low buyer demand will be just as great if not greater than before COVID-19. I think that home prices will stay stable or go up because of this and closings will take longer. Wet signatures may also be a thing of the past with updated policies making virtual signing legal in many states for buying a home online. 

So how can you and your business adapt during this unprecedented period? I have five tips that can help your team continue to serve customers and grow their skills personally- all virtually from home.

5 Tips for Shifting to a Virtual Business Model 

1. Keep your employees current with continual training. My business conducts weekly virtual training sessions using the virtual platform Zoom. Agents have the option to interact live with their instructor or access training videos at their convenience.

2. Maintain accountability. Agents participate in weekly check-ins to ensure they are on track to achieve their professional goals by meeting key performance indicators. 

3. Implement a comprehensive transaction management system. There are a lot of moving parts in a real estate closing. Keep track of all the vendors and their respective deadlines with a digital transaction management tool such as Dotloop. Or, work collaboratively and organize your workflow with online platforms like Trello.  

4. Make sure your products can be viewed virtually. There’s a reason Amazon is such a booming success. Customers want to see what they are purchasing. Every one of my team’s listings have a custom virtual VRLY landing page offering drone fly-overs, HD photos, and 3-D Matterport walkthroughs. We are the only local brokerage that requires this next level of service.

5. Create a digital workplace. Staying connected to the consumer is important. So is fostering communication and relationships among your employees. Metrics tracking platforms, such as Sisu, allow you to track key performance indicators while celebrating listing sales successes and spark friendly competition via gamification and leaderboards.  

Utilizing technology to add value

Technology and innovation have to be a priority moving forward. My new office we are building out now will feature a virtual reality room for agents to do VR tours of homes with oculus goggles, along with platforms and portals that utilize AI to predict ways to save customers money. These and other tools will not only revolutionize real estate but ultimately add more value for customers. My brokerage’s goal, like most in real estate, is to always serve the consumer in the highest order. It’s also important not to forget to serve your agents through coaching, accountability, and business mastery. We are an example of a real estate company that can operate 100% virtually and I hope that these tips and tools can help your business through this unprecedented time too.


About Jeff Cohn:

JeffCohnHeadShotJeff, a nationally renowned speaker and host of The Team Building Podcast, is CEO of a tech-powered Keller Williams market center in Omaha, NE. As founder of Omaha’s Elite Real Estate Group, he led his team from 70 to 700 transactions in 6 years, and was awarded the #1 team in unit sales in the world at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in 2019. Since beginning his real estate career in 2006, Jeff’s team has closed over 5,000 sales, totaling over $1 billion in volume.

Jeff is founder and CEO of Elite Real Estate Systems, a coaching company, offers the annual Team Building Summit, monthly workshops, and weekly coaching calls. As a credit to his extensive know-how, Jeff speaks frequently at various events throughout the US and Canada.

In recent years, Jeff’s passion for providing exceptional service to his clients propelled him to establish ancillary businesses in Title, Mortgage, Insurance, and Investing. His objective is to expand these ancillary businesses into 100+ locations across the country. Jeff's vision is that the hybrid office of the future - through technological advancements - will offer the consumer a one-stop-shop customized experience, providing access to the agent and all ancillary businesses, virtually and in-person.

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