Since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, the world of real estate marketing has been turbulent, to say the least. Real estate professionals have had to adapt their marketing to everything from city-wide shutdowns, to vacated office spaces, to wild swings in residential demand, and several other unpredictable trends and changes.
Now, as we near the start of a new year, it’s worth asking which of these adaptations and trends will continue. The short answer is most of them. Even as the pandemic recedes, its impact has changed real estate marketing for the long term. Here’s a look at three big trends that will continue going forward.
Virtual property tours are the new normal. Just a few short years ago, the thought of a virtual property tour was unthinkable to many buyers. How could a potential homeowner or landlord make a life-changing decision without first visiting the building in person? But strict pandemic measures, plus heated competition for homes outside of cities, quickly forced this norm to change. And real estate marketers played a big role, deploying a wide array of tools to make virtual property tours feel like meaningful replacements. 3D tours, live streaming walkthroughs, and 360-degree photography now make the process far more immersive and intimate. “Remote tours are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can include 3D floor plans and even virtual reality,” writes Forbes.
Real estate professionals quickly learned that this new approach was more than a temporary solution — it’s now a long-term strategy. “Not only can remote tours reduce the risk of viral transmission but also help drive traffic to listings and save time,” writes Forbes. “One analysis of 162 single-family rentals found that 3D tours increased property leads by 25% and decreased days on the market by 23%.”
There’s a need to get creative with vacant office space. While residential sales boomed at the height of the pandemic, another real estate sector suffered: office space. Businesses shed their workplaces when millions of employees began working from home. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon: about 30% of workers say they want to continue working from home five days a week, according to MarketWatch. So what’s the solution? First, real estate professionals need to meet shifting norms. That means marketing campaigns built around new office expectations, like open floor plans, open kitchens, and wellness spaces. “The modern creative office is truly becoming a place for people to live, work, and play,” writes commercial real estate agency Digsy.
Another option? Explore adaptive reuse. “Many of New York’s hotels and office buildings have been empty for more than a year now,” the New York Times recently reported. “And some of those properties may never recover. An effort is afoot to take these eerily empty commercial structures and convert them to housing of some kind and perhaps other uses.”
It’s still a sellers’ market in some places. The sellers’ market triggered by the pandemic has lasted months. And in some regions, it still isn’t slowing down. “If the pandemic has been good to anybody, it’s been homeowners listing their properties, as pent-up demand for homes has sent prices skyrocketing,” explains the New York Times. That same article suggests the sellers’ market is starting to lose momentum, but in certain areas — like Westchester in New York and Fairfield in Connecticut — it’s still going strong. Indeed, “demand continues to outpace inventory in New York State,” according to the New York State Association of Realtors. And in Connecticut, home sale prices reached a new record as recently as June. As this trend continues, real estate marketers need to be bullish and ensure they’re up to meeting the demand.
As you plan your real estate marketing for 2022 and beyond, make sure you’re taking into account the long-term changes brought about by the pandemic. Even as the pandemic comes under control, it’s not as simple as dusting off your 2019 marketing strategy. You need to adapt your marketing to the new status quo, embrace new mediums and keep the needs – and wants – of your target audiences top-of-mind.