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Consumers are looking for new ways to buy and sell real estate. A recent Redfin-commissioned survey of 2,134 individuals who had bought a home in the last 2 years shows that only 21% of respondents prefer buying and selling homes using the traditional methods. In contrast, 64% of respondents were open to unconventional, alternative, and innovative takes on the home buying and selling processes. But just what do we mean by “alternative” and “unconventional” ways of buying a home? One example: putting in an offer on a luxury home without ever setting foot inside.

The SurveyMonkey-run survey showed that 21% of buyers—or 1 in 5—had made an offer on a home without having ever visited it in person. And more than 50% of these site-unseen offers were made by high-end consumers who ultimately bought luxury homes with a purchase prices of $750,000 or more. Behind luxury homeowners, the demographics most likely to make an offer without seeing the property are millennials (30%) and single, never married people (30%). These numbers are huge and, according to SurveyMonkey’s review of the data, “a testament to the proliferation of online listings, mobile real estate apps, and cool things like 3D scans that take you inside and through every room of a home for sale online.

Technology & Lifestyle Marketing Are Key In All-Virtual Sales

So, how do you make yourself and your listings more attractive to prospects who might buy without stepping foot in the property—or even the same country? SurveyMonkey posits that “[it] has a lot to do with technology that enables people to know agents and properties intimately without a walk-through or face-to-face visit.”

Some important marketing and branding techniques to consider in attracting and closing these all-virtual transactions:

  • 3D virtual walk-throughs. Nothing offers a more realistic and intimate off-site home preview than 3D walk-through technology. Luxury real estate professionals can hire a service to photograph and construct the 3D walk-through, or buy their own 3D real estate camera and software packages, like the very impressive 3D Showcase from Matterport. Prospective buyers can navigate throughout the home, explore floor plans and specs, and even seeing what the view is like from each window in the house. In addition to increasing the accessibility of your listings, this exciting technology has the added benefit of differentiating you from other luxury real estate professionals.
  • Rich, up-to-date websites. With consumers relying heavily on property information found over the Internet, it’s vital to maintain an impressive and up-to-date website for your listings—or possibly unique websites for each of your biggest properties.
  • Statistics don’t lie: listings with video get 4x more inquiries than those without, and 85% of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video to market or showcase a home. Video is a fantastic way to bring a property and its lifestyle to life for a viewer.
  • High-quality photography. It’s always a must-have—especially in luxury—but site-unseen buyers want images that showcase minute design details and insinuate the lifestyle that accompanies your luxury listing.
  • Great lifestyle copy. For wealthy individuals doing their home shopping from afar, it can be difficult to get a sense of the lifestyle that comes with a property. Paired with video and area guides, good copy can change all of that by transporting the reader to their possible future in your luxury listing.
  • Social networking. Social media, blogging, and online networking present an opportunity to build an authentic, trustworthy personality over the internet so that your relationships can blossom before (or without) face-to-face encounters.
  • Testimonials. A simple way to build trust with far-flung consumers is via testimonials from your past satisfied clients.
  • Traditional printed property promotion. Where videos and 3D tech fail, traditional marketing materials, resources on local culture and amenities, and quality copywriting can bring high-end homes to life and help push the online buyer to make an offer.

If the 64% of consumers interested in alternative buying processes are any indication, then site-unseen luxury home offers and sales are likely to become more and more common in the coming years. Luxury real estate professionals who want to capture business from this growing market must leverage both new technologies and traditional marketing methods.

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