GROWTH OF ONLINE REAL ESTATE SERVICES: DIGITIZATION


By: Eng. Abdulrahman Al Koheji

CEO
Esnad Management

The number of people on the internet has more than doubled in the past year. Since most people spent their time indoors during the pandemic, the internet has now become part of the daily lives of the majority of Bahraini consumers, changing the way we live, work, play and shop. Many industries have established innovative online modules to meet these changes, one of which is the real estate industry.

The real estate industry, much like the F&B, banking and insurance sectors, has been quick to adopt digital solutions. It has a major online presence as home seekers look to ease the home-buying

and leasing process by doing a lot of their search online, thus creating a digitization trend within the industry amongst a few others that the pandemic has started. The world as we know it has stepped into a zone of digital permanence and the real estate market, particularly in the GCC region, has adjusted accordingly and embraced the impact of digitization. This however does not mean that the online- property-search module has put real estate agents out of business.

On the contrary, the crisis has allowed sales agents to increase their online presence and immerse themselves into technology to meet the changing consumer habits. It has become a cost-effective and convenient way to conduct human activity, whether it is with transactions, property management, or virtual tours. It has opened up a portal of possibilities within the industry by introducing virtual reality 3D tours.

Real estate companies can now send clients a link to a virtual walk-in 3D tour on their cell phones. The tour can take the viewer through the property starting with a street view and location of the premises, walking into a building and visiting all the flats and amenities or bedrooms of a villa.

To enhance the customer experience, viewers with virtual reality headgear have the opportunity to walk through the property to get the real-life experience of visiting the property. This interactive and innovative approach can shift the industry by collaborating hand-in-hand with the technology sector.

This form of technological intelligence can immensely improve and transform the real estate industry in Bahrain, even post COVID-19. Typically, a real estate agent provides a list of properties to the client that fits their budget and then the real-life visits to the villas or flats begin. The power of VR technology can help real estate companies grow their business and help agents gain more clients by delivering top-level services.

Clients visit more than one property typically and this can take up a lot of their time, effort and causes a risk during these unprecedented times. So, what is the solution? Simply put on a VR headset and experience an immersive 3D walkthrough of the property in the comfort of your own home. This helps clients narrow down the list of properties that do not fit their requirements and they get to decide which properties are worth visiting in person.

This brings up another dimension to improving the virtual reality experience, having virtual staging showrooms. The future of real estate is open to endless innovative approaches to viewings. Clients can have the option of viewing a property furnished or unfurnished with virtual instructions and walkthrough the property on an open empty stage to get the real-life experience. This can also help market projects that are still in the renovation phase, giving clients a look into what the property will look like upon completion. Though staging can be a great way to market properties, it requires investment and can be looked into further with an architectural visualization element to showcasing properties in Bahrain’s future.

This article was published as part of the fifth edition of Property Finder Bahrain’s Trends Report