The real estate industry in the Philippines is trying to keep up with the marketing changes, needs of clients, and health protocols set in place.
COVID has brought many changes to the real estate industry in the Philippines. One of these changes is embracing marketing technology.
According to Bernalyn Panit Quero, a real estate agent of Amaia Land Corporation, the current challenges real estate agents face during the pandemic include getting people’s buy-in in investing properties using online channels, like social media.
Quero said, “We promote various types of residential units at Amaia Land Corp., such as twin pods (two units attached), bungalows, and single homes. We now focus on using digital marketing strategies like social media and virtual tours. The main struggle we encounter nowadays is how to gain the trust of potential investors when we position our sales pitches online”.
“Before the pandemic, we were allowed to set up desks in malls and other public areas to promote our units for sale to the public without any problems. However, the health and safety protocols set by the government, like social distancing and lockdowns, restrict us now from these marketing activities,” she added.
Buyer and Seller Engage Via Video Calling
One marketing technology used by realtors in the Philippines is video calling. The real estate agents of social housing projects and exclusive subdivisions that offer mortgage-financed housing utilize video calling to communicate with potential buyers. This mode of communication was rarely used before the pandemic because most Filipinos prefer to engage in business transactions face-to-face.
A Sudden Shift to Virtual Tours
Before the pandemic, real estate agents assisted interested property buyers in physical tours. When COVID struck, they created virtual tours to show units to clients. These virtual tours were computer-generated images or graphic presentations, primarily presented in video format.
Through video and three-dimensional 3D tools in the digital age and pandemic, real estate agents, property developers, and other real estate professionals can bring prospective clients closer to the projects virtually.
When real estate agents market their listings online, they include a link to a virtual tour and the other property details. They also have clear pictures of properties to provide more visual information to clients.
Accelerating Social Media Presence
Many Filipinos are avid users of social media. In statistical data, YouTube was the most used social media platform in the third quarter of 2020, with 97.2% of online users accessing the platform. Filipino online users spent almost four hours on social media.
Over 800 million Facebook users in Asia and about 74 million Filipinos are Facebook as of 2019. This data shows that Filipinos depend on social media as a number one source of news, social networking, and product placement.
Because social media is very popular in the Philippines, the real estate industry also takes advantage of this demand. While real estate agents used social media even before the pandemic to promote “for sale” and “rent-to-own” properties, the current health issue accelerated the use of the platform even more.
Social media users in the Philippines notice increased real estate ads on Facebook. In the marketplace section of Facebook.ph, there are many property listings, from individual or private sellers to real estate agents’ listings. Buyers and sellers message each other using Facebook ‘comments’ section and the Messenger app.
Digital Signatures And Documentation
Because of tight restrictions and lockdowns, real estate agents who usually use paper documents for unit reservations shifted to digital signatures or electronic signatures and documentation.
Digital signatures are like handwritten signatures, except they are written using a special pen in a mobile device’s touchscreen or computer interface. There are existing laws in different countries, such as the E-Sign Act, that support the legal validity of e-signatures.
The E-Sign Act permits the utilization of electronic records to meet any rule of law, regulation, or statute requiring information to be provided in writing when the person has consented and hasn’t withdrawn the consent.
In the Philippines, a hierarchical trust model exists wherein e-signatures are legally valid when a Certifying Authority issues them. Philippine courts accept electronic documents and digital signatures as evidence.
Reserving units in developmental projects involve digital documentation and signatures. Real estate managers ask their clients who want to reserve property to fill up a digital form and affix their digital signature as proof of reservation agreement.
More Investments Outside Metro Manila
Real estate investors divert their investment outside Metro Manila. For instance, Ayala Land is investing $1.8 billion to develop a mixed-use residential and commercial waterfront estate in Cebu.
Cebu is one of the fastest developing hubs in the Philippines. Bobby Dy, Ayala Land president, stated that the company believes this development will put Cebu in the spotlight as a future growth destination, elevating opportunities and experiences for Cebuanos (locals) and visitors alike.
The real estate companies and investors in the Philippines embrace marketing technology in many ways. Leading technologies, such as virtual tours, video calling, and social media, help conquer the effects of COVID in the industry. The real estate industry is trying to keep up with the marketing changes, needs of clients, and health protocols set in place.