Digital by design

Technology influencing all factions of real estate

In today’s digital world, buying a home can become a strictly online affair – making proper marketing an all-important factor in distinguishing a home for sale from one that’s sold.

In a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), searching online is the first step an estimated 90 per cent of potential buyers’ take to owning a new home.

In addition, the NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report found more than half of Generation X (born between the early 1960s through the early 1980s) and the following Generation Y (born in the early 1980s to early 2000s) used a mobile device during their home search.

“Twenty six per cent of Gen Y and 22 per cent of Gen X found the home they ultimately purchased via a mobile device,” said the report.

When perusing homes for sale online, the quality of the photographs presented can mean all the difference, said 13-year REALTOR® and broker David Brown.

“I’ve heard straight from buyers, if the pictures are lousy, they don’t even bother looking at any more. So I really think it has to be prominent in any listing,” he said.

Presenting a home for potential buyers includes utilizing professional photographers and staging the home to look its best come selling time. By staging your home, especially for photos, sellers will make it look appealing and attractive to buyers, said International Association of Home Staging Professionals president Barb Schwarz.

“(It’s) the preparation of the home for sale so that buyers can mentally move in,” she added.

Some staging tips include using warm soothing colours considered more attractive to the eye, stashing personal photographs and de-cluttering the space and minimizing furniture so potential buyers can get an idea of the space available in the home.

Technology is also playing a larger role in marketing homes that are for sale. With the official release of the Apple Watch on March 24, “wearables” are being touted as a way buyers will increasingly look for information to guide them on the purchase of their next home.

Earlier this week, the Canadian Real Estate Association announced it is developing an app for the forthcoming Apple Watch that will include some of REALTOR.ca’s most popular features, such as Near Me listings, saved searches and the ability to contact My REALTOR®

Further to that, a 2015 Swanepoel Trends Report identified “the value of a great agent local expertise can be demonstrated by accessing information through augmented reality and capturing photos and video on wearable devices.”

Drones are also fast becoming the buzz word in real estate marketing circles. In December, Eastern Canadian news outlets reported on an Ontario REALTOR® who is increasingly using drone videos to boost business.
This past January, an agent in Arizona was the first to legally use a drone for real estate photography in the state.

CREA spokesman Pierre Leduc told CBC the association doesn’t track the number of drones used by members, but has noticed a spike in media stories covering the use of drones for real estate.Drones utilized for commercial purposes are regulated by Transport Canada and through the Canadian Aviation Regulations. Current rules include restrictions relating to how high and close drones can fly to buildings.

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