Tom Lynn, chairman and office division president for NAI Robert Lynn, a full-service commercial real estate firm with offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, recently took a building tour in a way he never expected.

In Texas, real estate is considered an essential service during the current coronavirus pandemic, as it is in many other states. This designation may help keep the economy going and minimize the effects of a future real estate market crash. But in-person tours, whether you’re looking to purchase an investment property or lease to tenants, are not ideal right now as the country tries to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

Send in the Drones

Lynn says he’s been relying on video real estate tours more than he ever has in the past. But another trend he sees picking up is drone photography. “The use of drone fly-overs had started to wane lately. But all of a sudden, drone tours are really important right now,” he says.

Find Someone Who Knows the Local Market

While drone tours can give you an almost-360-foot view of a property and the surrounding area, Google Maps can help you drill down to see what’s most important. Lynn says he will jump on Google Maps while using his video conferencing screen share tool to “explore” a neighborhood virtually.

But even in this era of social distancing, don’t neglect the human touch—so to speak. “Now more than ever, it’s important to have a broker with specific submarket experience,” Lynn says. “It’s not the time to act like you know everything about an area. Instead, find a really specialized local submarket expert who can tell you everything you need to know.”