Realtors group in Qatar encourages remote property viewing to serve customers
April 15 2020 08:13 PM
Rivera: Time to innovate.
Rivera: Time to innovate.

A Doha-based realtors group is encouraging people to utilise digital platforms when searching properties for rent in order to strictly comply with the government’s programmes to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Many industries are now finding ways to innovate and continue business operations amid the pandemic,” according to Joseph Rivera, the chairman of the Association of Filipino Realtors & Entrepreneur Executives in Qatar (Afreeq).

Rivera said Afreeq is encouraging the use of video presentations and virtual reality (VR) platforms, in addition to photographs used in conventional online advertising channels by various property brokers in Qatar.

He said real estate companies could upload videos to give clients a comprehensive view of any property or they could use available technology for an immersive virtual tour of the featured area.

In addition to websites, real estate companies could also use remote video conferencing tools when dealing with clients, said Rivera, adding that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are among the popular choices for remote marketing.

“These methods would definitely help clients in conveniently browsing available options with more information and immersive experience of the featured properties in the comfort of their own homes or in the office. This would efficiently narrow down their options without even visiting the property,” Rivera said.

According to Rivera, real estate companies continue to receive client inquiries, prompting agents to “remain aggressive and be more creative without undermining the strict health and safety regulations of the government.”

“In these very challenging times wherein physical interaction is avoided, real estate agents who act as frontliners of the property industry are greatly concerned because rental property presentations and lease negotiations are among the key factors in closing deals as they require close personal interactions during property viewings,” he pointed out.

For situations where agents are required to be physically present during property viewings, take for example for furnished units, Rivera said Afreeq “strongly recommends that high safety standards should still be in place.”

“All door handles and light switches must be sanitised, while all surfaces touched or walked through by the clients must also be disinfected after the viewing,” Rivera explained.

Social distancing should be maintained by both the agents and clients at all times, emphasised Rivera, adding that “it is imperative to use face masks and gloves.”

“Both parties are also encouraged to use hats or hair caps, and to put on socks as the wearing of shoes inside the properties being viewed is discouraged unless the shoes are sanitised before entering the main door. If further required, even the actual site viewings of shortlisted properties by health conscious clients can also be done even without the physical presence of agents,” he said.

He added: “Properties can be sanitised and prepared ahead of time and after the visit of meticulous clients. Doors can be left unlocked or keys can be acquired from security desks; clients could then interact with the agent via mobile phone while inside the property.”

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