Site visits have held immense value in a property purchase decision. The feeling of personally visiting the location and examining it has had no other alternative until COVID entered our lives. Fence-sitters who were planning on investing in the property were left with no other option but the virtual tours.
Developers who are very rational and keen on maintaining effective relationships with their prospects left no stone unturned in the adaption of advanced technologies. These innovations worked on the simple concept of presenting the homebuyer a real-time experience of a site visit. Dr Rahul Chaudhary, Promoter, Sunworld Group answers how site visits need to be transformed in view of the COVID scenario.
Q. How are site visits going to be different in the post COVID era from in the pre-COVID period?
The site visits have always been an essential part of the property purchase process. It was during these site visits that developers and buyers connected on a personal level, and get a better understanding of each other. Buyers were normally doing 3-4 site visits in a day if the properties were located close to each other.
Developers were also able to arrange multiple site visits in a day, especially on holidays and Sundays. The pattern will undergo a lot of change after COVID as every aspect of business turns digital. Scheduled sites only for genuine homebuyers will be encouraged if government authorities grant permission for the same.
Otherwise reputed developers have already set in place virtual tours and drone- view of their projects for giving complete discretion of location to the buyers. The entire construction site will be monitored in terms of workers density, cleanliness and hygiene, in case buyers happen to visit personally.
Q. How feasible are site visits considering the safety concerns for employees as well as customers?
Right now it is best if buyers choose to opt for digital site tours, as the COVID cases are rising at an alarming rate. As a developer, we would never want to put our potential and existing customer’s safety in danger.
With the market being uncertain, our employees are occupied revising their yearly plans via WFH, and if the buyers insist on visiting sites personally, it will need a lot of preparation from our end. The workers allotted on these sites have to be trained accordingly for maintaining distancing, an employee will have to accompany the potential buyers for ensuring everything is in place.
Q. Do you think home buyers are ready for this changed way of site visits? What advice would you give to prospective home buyers about visiting property sites?
The increased number of digital queries during this lockdown has shown us a clear indication that homebuyers are more than ready to accept this pattern. Our advice to them would be to seek addressal to their doubts and demands that are related to our properties to keep the communication going.
We can mention only limited information on these sites, and a buyer when investing for properties has many questions. We do not want that this distancing reduces our connect with the potential buyers, our ORM team is equipped and trained to solve their queries and provide quick addressal of their concerns.
Q. What measures have you taken on your sites to ensure safety?
We have trained our workers appropriately, a site manager ensures safety guidelines are being followed throughout. Use of Sanitizers is encouraged at intervals, disinfection of sites is carried out regularly. Temperature screening on entrances, limited workers on site, and a medical officer is kept at the beck and call for any emergency.
Q. Do you think these restrictions or changed ways of site visits will hamper or dampen buyer interest?
The interest will not be hampered but it might prolong the process of booking the unit, as property-buying followed very much a traditional route in our country before COVID. Virtual tours have given them an outlook of the property on their screens, but a good number of buyers still believe personal visit as the final step before entering into a legal agreement. NRIs, however, have always taken the digital route for property investment, so no change has been observed from their ends.