In the current world where social distancing is mandatory and open houses and auctions are no longer allowed, many real estate agents are struggling to find new ways to do business and avoid a downturn in the property industry.
But some agents, such as Jonny Warren, Fiona Murray and Tom Osborne at Independent Inner North & City, have long been using existing technology in new and clever ways to enhance their real estate business.
Jonny has been a real estate agent for five years and he says the Independent team has been able to support each other through recent changes in operations due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before, but people have been able to pivot very quickly into a different atmosphere, and the entire company helped us move to a completely different methodology,” he says.
According to Fiona, the Independent crew has been fully prepared for the tech revolution. “If you are a sole agent, you would become overwhelmed about the whole situation, but because we work in a team which is positive, embraces change and uses tech, we don’t feel daunted by the challenge,” she says.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Jonny began using his and Fiona’s Facebook business page to promote and showcase properties they are putting on the market. Facebook Live enables Jonny to conduct a virtual tour of a property to show potential buyers if they cannot attend in person.
He also uses live video feeds on Facebook before, during and after renovations to a home prior to sale. Additionally, Jonny and Fiona run video series Property Talk on their business Facebook page.
“We’ve noticed that although there may be fewer people coming to private inspections, all of those who do come along are genuine pre-qualified buyers,” says Jonny. “It’s as though the people who came along to pre-COVID-19 inspections were either getting ideas for their own home extensions or decor, or just having a look, but weren’t about to make an offer.
“We had seven private inspections at a property the other day, prior to the home even going to market, all with a genuine intent to purchase.”
The team’s creative social media marketing videos each get between 15,000 and 30,000 views, a remarkable result which helped Jonny win Property Marketer of the Year at the 2018 Real Estate Institute of the ACT Awards for Excellence. Independent won the Marketing and Communications Award at the 2019 ceremony.
Jonny and Fiona have moved fast to ensure they are compliant with all current social distancing measures, from conducting house inspections with potential buyers by appointment only, to asking if they are unwell, if they have recently travelled overseas, if they are in self-isolation, and if they have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient.
When potential buyers arrive at a property for an inspection, they are asked to enter the house two at a time while Jonny and Fiona wait outside. Before entering the house, everyone is asked to use hand sanitiser and wear disposable gloves.
In addition to Jonny and Fiona’s online presence, they are constantly on the phone, using conference calls and responding to enquiries. Auctions are still possible using online portal Auction Now, which was co-founded by Damien Cooley, who is one of the auctioneers from Nine’s television series The Block.
Through Jonny and Fiona’s Facebook business page, you can book an online appointment for an appraisal, a sales discussion, tips on marketing strategies and auctions, and guidance on how to generate the best result for the sale of your property.
You can also follow Jonny and Fiona on Instagram.
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