With the global pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19) going on, these are truly unprecedented and uncertain times. As a result being an individual agent or small business owner must have been unnerving.
Governments have suggested that the general public stay in isolation to reduce the spread of the virus. Therefore many of you have been forced to work from home. With this in mind, we have put together a list of our top 5 virtual tools which can help you keep growing your business. However these are not our products. But we have used them or have seen others use them in Canada.
1) Review Generation
Like every small business, for a real estate agents too reviews make a big part of their reputation. Now, with everything virtual, there is no easy way for us to know if the customer you just served in happy, or if they would be willing to give good reviews to you. This is where online platforms can be useful for the real estate agent. The major ones is given below.
ReviewHornet.com: This is one of the most popular service for real estate business. With the platform you can send a request to your customer and they get a feel of how they feel about your service, and if they are happy it forwards them to the review website like Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, RankMyAgent or any of the other platforms.
2) Virtual signature
As real estate agent you would need to take signatures constantly from clients. Docusign is a tool that can be used to avoid getting signatures in person.
With DocuSign you simply create a Word or PDF document for a contract. This document is then uploaded on the DocuSign platform. Through the platform you can place markers such as where signatures will be entered. From there, documents can then be emailed to everyone that needs to sign. In addition, DocuSign is legal binding as it provides a ‘Certificate of Completion’ per document and conforms to the eSignature Legality in Canada. This certification provides a log history which gives high certainty that the right people have signed. For a quick video tutorial on DocuSign, this link provides a great overview.
3) Virtual home showing
With the global pandemic: everyone is encouraged to practice ‘social distancing’. In other words, to reduce physical contact with others. From this agents may be challenged in giving a proper viewing of a listing. The Ontario Real Estate Associate has called for an immediate stop to have open houses at this time.
Fortunately a company called Matterport can help you in creating a 3D reconstruction of a home, also referred to as a “digital twin”. This can give clients a virtual walkthrough of a property. The digital twin of the home can be shared on social media, emailed or embedded in your real estate website. Here is a sample of a virtual tour with Matterport’s technology.
4) Background checks for rentals
If you are in the rental space, the current situation is also making it challenging to screen tenants and collect rental applications. The traditional process of renting a property requires the landlord and potential tenant to meet and then exchange some documents. Given the current situation there are online solutions to avoid physical contact with potential renters.
Two Canadian companies, SingleKey and Naborly, provide a service that helps landlords screen for the best suitable tenants. Just provide the tenant’s info or invite them to fill up a screening form. Once the provided information is processed, the results will then be forwarded to you.
At the end of the day you need to get paid for the services that you are providing to your clients. Below are two great options to choose from.
Interac: It has a feature called e-Transfer, which you can send/request/receive money. The sender and receiver just need access to online or mobile banking. Funds can then be transferred using a recipient’s mobile number or email.
6) Virtual meeting
Using virtual meetings is a great way to stay in touch with clients and continue on with your business. Below is a list of products you can use to stay in contact with your clients.
Google Meet: This requires a Google GSuite account. This service from Google allows screen sharing and video conferencing. For every meeting created a Canadian call-in number and PIN is also provided. Check this video for a great step by step tutorial on setting up a meeting.
Zoom: They have different plans but their basic plan is 100% free. With this plan you can have unlimited 1 to 1 meetings. It has screen sharing, video conference and a toll free number for people to call into.
WhatsApp: This product is an all in one communication tool. Send text, create calls or even have video conferences with multiple contacts at once. Above all else, the app is free to download and use!
That is our top 5 virtual tools that real estate agents can use!
We hope you stay safe and continue to take safety precautions at this time.