For industries that rely on in-person interactions, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many devastating disruptions. The real estate industry in particular relies on many in-person activities and has been significantly affected by the pandemic.
Usually, home buyers find their agents through in-person meetings and go through all of the steps involved in buying a house with the help of their real estate agent. For example, the agent will accompany the buyer to visit different properties and guide the buyer to make the right choices for their specific needs.
With COVID-19 measures such as social distancing, this traditional model of operations has been cut short. Safety measures like lockdowns, social distancing and work-from-home measures critically impact the ability of real estate service providers to effectively run their businesses. Unless they can change the way they work, the livelihoods of real estate agents and other real estate service providers are at risk.
How WOWA is Helping Canada’s Real Estate Industry Through COVID-19.
Wowa Leads, Inc., or WOWA, a Canadian proptech startup, is addressing these new problems in the real estate industry by delivering a comprehensive suite of products to enable real estate service providers to rapidly virtualize their operations. These products are briefly discussed below:
A. A Digital Marketplace for Real Estate Services
Wowa.ca, a real estate marketplace platform by WOWA, is one of the first in the industry to let home buyers or sellers select top real estate professionals in their area based on their unique home needs. Real estate agents can advertise their services and value propositions on their set profiles by providing information such as their commission rate, previous real estate experience, their skills, and even add a personal aspect with a biography or an introductory video to help potential clients connect with the agent.
On Wowa.ca, sellers and buyers can choose their real estate agents online instead of via in-person meetings, allowing them to connect despite social distancing measures and lockdowns.
B. An All-in-one Platform for Real Estate Planning
Wowa.ca also offers an information hub for both real estate agents and home buyers and sellers. It provides real-time advice and education on the real estate process and related financial products and planning services.
As a consumer, Wowa.ca’s Comprehensive Real Estate Calculators help you to readily estimate the financial implications of different steps of a real estate transaction without having an in-person meeting with a banker or mortgage broker. These tools, which place clients in charge of their own financial decisions, are intuitive, easy-to-use, and supported by a team of experts and data from a range of sources and financial institutions.
WOWA is currently working on COVID-19 financial accounting solutions that are specifically tailored to the needs of businesses and help them understand how much they can receive from support programs. Like in many other countries, the Canadian government introduced the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan in March to help Canadian businesses during the pandemic. Some of the tools are already ready-to-use, are free for the general public, and cover the largest support programs: the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy reimburses employers 75% of the eligible wages up to a limit of $847 and the Canada Emergency Business Account offers small businesses a $40,000 interest-free loan for handling critical expenses. “Our team of developers are working overtime to tackle these problems and support our fellow Canadian businesses. We released our COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Calculator on April 29, only two days after the official opening of the program”, says WOWA CEO Dr. Hanif Bayat. “Our goal is to help businesses determine how to get the support that they need quickly and efficiently so they can focus on running their businesses.”
C. WOWA Virtual Home Walk-throughs/Open House
WOWA has recently released Virtual OpenHouse, an online video creation platform that enables real estate agents to record virtual home walkthroughs using their smartphones. Agents can highlight key features of their home listings to get the attention of potential customers and upload their creations directly to YouTube and other social media. The next release of the product is expected to include a live-streaming feature that allows agents and homebuyers to interact in real-time.
How is WOWA Revolutionizing Real Estate?
Wowa.ca already services hundreds of real estate agents throughout Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia, with plans to cover the whole of Canada by the end of 2020. Prior to the pandemic, Wowa.ca and other WOWA solutions have already been used by tens of thousands of Canadians to plan and buy or sell their homes. COVID-19 has only sped up the adoption of WOWA’s solutions and is likely to usher in a new generation of real estate powered by WOWA.
COVID-19 has presented new and challenging obstacles for the real estate industry. WOWA is already prepared with a suite of solutions to help as Wowa.ca eliminates physical barriers from the home buying/selling process and delivers an innovative digital real estate marketplace with detailed profiles, crowdsourced reviews, and integrated media solutions. Their AI-powered neighborhood score is one of the first in the industry to precisely match clients with potential agents based on the location of their homes. This ambitious startup is re-engineering the real estate industry and is ushering in a new generation of digital real estate.