After a few scary months at the beginning of the year, real estate found its footing and recovered from the disruption due to COVID. Our industry was the one bright spot in the economic upheaval throughout 2020, and this is largely a result of our ability as a profession to adapt quickly to doing business in a remote fashion. The top tier of the market managed to maintain its resiliency, and I fully expect this to hold true going into 2021. But there are going to be a few noticeable changes. While we have time to catch our breath over the winter, we can better prepare ourselves for what the spring will bring.
Remote Business With a Personalized Touch
Agents and brokers found ways to tour homes, negotiate deals and have all the necessary paperwork completed without having to meet anyone involved in the process in person. This will continue at all price points, but luxury clients are going to expect something more. We can meet that expectation by moving toward processes that are still remote in nature, but more bespoke in their delivery. I recently heard about one luxury brokerage that uses a car hire service (with a glass divider between the driver and passengers) to pick up their buyers and take them to the house, which they can enter with a lockbox code and tour by themselves. Whether it’s expanding our custom branding so that all the paperwork is uniquely tailored to the luxury tier of our clientele, or having our video tours take on a more sophisticated look, the tiny details are what will set us apart for this type of client.
Physical Spaces for Virtual Work
Staging of luxury properties is also going to take on a new flavor. For most people, the word of the year was “Zoom,” but for luxury listings, the word might just be “Zoom Room.” High-end buyers began looking at properties that had appropriate spaces for hosting video conferences, with rooms located away from the noisy parts of the house, good lighting and enough space for a blank wall where owners could have a bookshelf curated with items that represented the persona they wanted to convey. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a surge in demand for dimmer switches and bulbs that change colors so that buyers can have more control over their lighting when they appear on camera.
At first, we all had to slow down to adjust to the pandemic, but once the dust settled, we had to run just to keep up with the demand. The same is going to hold true for the early part of 2021, but now we are better prepared. And when it comes to luxury buyers, the better prepared you are, the more likely you are to keep them as repeat clients.
Allen Alishahi is president of ShelterZoom, the technology company behind DocuWalk. For more information, please visit www.docuwalk.com.