The world has suddenly changed, in a peculiar fashion of course. Hazmat suits, masks and gloves have become a fashion nomenclature. Work-from-home, an excuse for Monday blues, got recognition at last, aimed at keeping people safe. And we got a new monarch ruling our lives-Digital.
Digital is like gravity today. One cannot imagine surviving in this world without this paradigm. And this realization is more apt in our present situation where a contagion has hit us like a wrecking ball, destroying everything in its path and threatening to take us back to Stone Age.
The normal order of business has been disrupted. Business leaders are rushing to reconfigure their work structures and reinvent their activities to adapt to the new normal. And going digital has become the only refuge for most businesses.
Industries that have advanced their digitization capabilities are likely to have a moderate impact from this pandemic. Businesses that have change ingrained in their DNA will fare better.
However, industries that depend upon physical interactions, movement and transactions have taken the brunt. Real estate is one such sector which witnessed its business screech to a halt in the wake of the pandemic spread.
Online Real Estate is a sector which is perennially dependant on physical site visits, interactions, discussions, and physical documentation. With quarantine and social distancing norms enforced, home buyers had faced great distress in approaching real estate developers for buying new homes. Some had thought of shelving their desires of owing a new home till the virus scare cools down.
For real estate developers, the sky was falling, till Digital Sales Platform saved their day. Digital platforms are the new order of the day for selling real estate. Companies like Square Yards swam with the tide of digitization, imbibing technological capabilities like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and 3D tech, that have put their businesses on firm ground.
Real estate developers left in the lurch, dropped anchor on such digital real estate platforms to save themselves from financial turmoil. In the next few weeks after lockdown, most real estate developers were on cloud nine, claiming closing deals online worth crores.
With the demand for small and ready-to-move units nearing threshold, consumer searches for properties on digital platforms surged exponentially. The interest is palpable as the entire home-buying process has moved online-right from search to booking.
Customers are going on property tours from the convenience of their couch through virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D mapping tech, with the aid of their smartphones, laptops and tablets. The excitement among home seekers to experience a new spectacle, where they can have a 360 view of their property and of the interiors to the minuscule is bubbling.
What separates the physical property visits from the digital one is the luxury of touring the property multiple times, to help convince a homebuyer about his choice over and over again. Customers are getting a good vision beforehand of how the final product will stand.
Not to mention the post-sales process, where everything, right from real-time inventory blocking to payment gateways to transaction are taking place digitally. Even customer signatures and stamp of approvals have gone digital. Homebuyers have thrown their weight on the transparency, speed and ease of digital post-sales methods.
Real estate brokers reiterate that homes on an average are getting sold faster and customer visits on properties registered on online platforms have tripled. Digital real estate platforms have opened up an avenue for property developers to reach out to a deluge of clients within a short period of time, something which was unimaginable physically. Leveraging these digital solutions have helped developers curb time and cost overruns.
So, the billion-dollar question pops up here?
Will conventional real estate methods bow down to digital real estate models? Absolutely YES!
The pandemic situation is a wakeup call for the real estate sector. Real estate developers, all shaken up have learned the importance of digitization to survive bad times and propel the sector forward. Investments towards rapid digitization of real estate will accelerate. Real estate developers will gravitate towards digital transaction platforms, smartphone apps and virtual reality to sell their properties, looking at the convenience and penetration abilities, digital tools bring to the table.
Tech-savvy homebuyers will go online to research &shortlist properties, visualize their choices through VR and drone technology, before paying a physical visit. With trends like digital paper and signatures becoming a norm, home buying will happen from the comfort of the house.
In a nutshell, real estate transactions will go digital and mobile in the future. However, edgy customers will still look to pay a physical visit to their property before inking a deal.