It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 has resulted in many changes to the way business is conducted across the board. And real estate is no exception. No one could have predicted the degree to which COVID-19 would impact our daily lives, but life does go on – and this means that people are still buying and selling homes. In fact, for many realtors, the year 2020 resulted in personal sales records.
Here are some ways in which the pandemic changed the ways Americans buy and sell real estate:
1.) Staging and selling a home virtually: The development and enhancement of online apps made more homes available to view online, it became more common for buyers to find the home of their dreams without even crossing the threshold. This has greatly increased the importance of having high-quality photography on listings (e.g. the days of iPhone photos being “good enough” are over). I always recommend that sellers have a professional stager take a look at the home prior to it going on the market. And now, thanks to technology, stagers can also give recommendations to home sellers via FaceTime or through other online methods without needing to enter the home and give in-person feedback. For example, one of my listings in Apple Valley in the winter of 2020 preferred to stage their home in this way, and the home sold within a few days after listing.
2.) Touring and buying a home virtually: Home videos and virtual tours have also become more popular as fewer in-home showings take place. These really help prospective buyers get a good idea of what each home is like inside, without actually going inside for open houses or scheduled showings with their realtors. In some cases, buyers have already seen a virtual showing online prior to contacting a real estate professional and making a formal offer on the property. Two other advances in technology became more popular for sellers (and buyers) in 2020 – 3D modeling and drone photography. 3D modeling of the home allows buyers to see the home from all angles in a 360 “doll house” format they can view online. Drones are also increasingly being used by agents who wish to give prospective buyers a full picture of the home from the air – and give a bird’s eye view of the roof, yard and property lines that were previously hard or impossible to see during a ground-level showing.
3.) Digital communication with buyers, sellers, and others: The pandemic made it more challenging to meet each other in person to discuss deals, sign paperwork and get to know each other. But thanks to technology, keeping in touch, exchanging information, and signing offers, purchase agreements and loan documents are all very do-able by using online apps, texts, video conferencing and emails. Virtually everything can now be done online – mortgage applications and approvals, home inspections, appraisals, offers, counteroffers, notarizing documents, and so on. My biggest recommendation, however, is to make sure that you ask plenty of questions before you sign anything. Be sure to ask your realtor or lender to go over any documents you need to sign BEFORE you actually sign them. In my experience, the best way to handle online signatures is to first send copies of all documents to my clients so they have an opportunity to read them through. If there are questions at this point, I will either answer them or find out the answers before any signatures are added. Communication is key.
For a FREE GUIDE on How to Buy or Sell a Home During a Pandemic, click here: https://bit.ly/3rFSzQq