It’s safe to say that the real estate industry looks pretty different from how many imagined it at the beginning of 2020. Due to the pandemic, we’ve seen our community face a reduced ability to view and show properties, fewer listings on the market for home seekers, and an unprecedented amount of financial uncertainty.
We know times are hard. That’s why REW - as one of Canada’s leading digital real estate platforms - has doubled our commitment to making the online home search experience better for property seekers everywhere. Since the pandemic began, we’ve focused our efforts on ways REW can tangibly help buyers, sellers and agents navigate our “new normal”. Here’s what these exciting new features mean for you and your real estate experience.
Enhanced Property Listings
REW’s upgrades start with our all-new Enhanced Listings. Building off of our Virtual Tours add-on from April, we’ve designed these premium listings to showcase the maximum amount of information that’s relevant to home seekers.
Enhanced Listings let real estate agents truly highlight what makes a property special. We know that having to leave REW to find more information about a property’s interior or location can be a hassle. Below the image carousel, you’ll now find quicker, clearer information about a property. Namely, at-a-glance access to a comprehensive photo gallery, virtual tour (whether video or 3D walkthrough) and map location. With these changes, enhanced listings provide a convenient, all-in-one source of info, letting you assess a potential new home that much faster.
Another great change that you’ll notice on Enhanced Listings is a new option to connect with an agent via requesting a video call. It looks like this:
Clicking the “Request a Video Chat” button when you contact an agent will now allow you to connect with an agent face-to-face, but safely. Our hope is that this makes getting to know an agent as convenient as possible, while providing a more personal connection than an email or a phone call typically offers.
REW has always believed in a digital-first, technology-powered approach to real estate. Providing more ways for agents and potential clients to meaningfully connect was always on our roadmap, but the COVID-19 pandemic made us realize that this feature couldn’t wait. Whether you’re buying or selling, having a great relationship with your agent is a vital part of the process.
Enhanced Listings also receive priority placement on REW search results pages. When you’re searching for a new home, we want you to see the best, most fully-featured listings first. We hope these visual and quality of life upgrades make using REW for your home search even better.
Livestream Open Houses
Nothing will ever truly replace the experience of attending an open house and touring a potential new home yourself. Especially since it’s difficult to put out a plate of complimentary snacks online. Luckily, the widespread availability of livestream services has made the ‘gathering information about a property’ part of open houses a bit more transferable to the digital realm - you’re just on your own for the snack part.
REW is now set up to aggregate upcoming property livestreams as part of our existing open house services. This means that when browsing REW, you’ll now see handy information like this:
While open houses may be difficult/impossible to attend given the social distance guidelines in place, being able to quickly get a sense of a property is still critical to home searchers everywhere. These livestreams are perfect for anyone who wants to get a general overview and look at a potential home without committing to an in-person viewing quite yet.
You can find information about these upcoming livestreams on the all-new list on the right-hand side of REW search results, as well on listings themselves when relevant. You’ll also see them as part of REW Property Alerts if they’re relevant to the area you’re tracking via email notifications
3D Building Amenities Tours
Another exciting REW feature that launched this week is the ability to take a fully 3D tour of a building’s amenities. This great feature is brought to you in partnership with Matterport, and you can find it on either a Matterport-enabled listing or by navigating to a building’s feature page. For example, this luxury condo listing in Vancouver’s Bauhinia building. If you scroll down the listing detail page, you’ll now see this:
Click this icon will launch a 3D tour of the building’s amenities, letting you see public spaces, exercise rooms and more! It’s an exciting feature that brings even more useful information directly to home searchers.
Last But Not Least…
We hope all of these recent REW upgrades make your home search experience even better, but there’s one more thing we’re just beginning to roll out. At the top of your screen, you might notice that the word “Rent” has been added to our navigation bar.
REW wants to help people across the country find their next home. Whether you’re in the market to buy or rent, we believe that everyone deserves a great home search experience. REW rentals are still very much in beta, with more listings and features to be added in the near future.
We’ll have more to say about rentals soon, but if you’re in Vancouver or Toronto, you can take a look at our new rentals section now! And please, if you have feedback about rentals or any of the other new REW features, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].