The Global Pandemic and The Real Estate Market
Continuing our series of taking a look at how the world of real estate has shifted thanks to the global pandemic of COVID19, here is the second part, dealing with some of the bigger ways the transaction process of buying and selling real estate has been forever altered.
Part Two – The Transaction Process
Not only has the global pandemic altered what buyers are now looking for in a home, but it has also greatly affected the process of buying and selling property. Remote showings, digital paperwork and virtual tours are the new norm. Let’s take a look at some of the more important changes COVID19 has had on the transaction process of the real estate market.
Virtual Open Houses
With social distancing the new way of life, sellers are hesitant to have scores of potential buyers roaming their homes in person. Holding an Open House was a great way to entice people in the very early stages of shopping for a new home to see a property in person. So what is the solution when health and safety discourage gatherings? Enter the virtual open house. Agents are now planning events in real time where they do live walk-throughs of a listing on social media channels. Potential buyers can tune in from the comfort of their current home to get a better understanding of a property’s layout and ask questions just as they would have at a traditional open house. This trend will likely be around to stay long after interaction restrictions have lifted, as well as growing to incorporate virtual reality with regularity. It’s convenient for home buyers, who now, don’t have to spend hours driving all over town. Plus agents can reach a whole new audience- those who live out of town and are considering a move to the area.
Our Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty agents have been utilizing the benefits of paperless transactions for a while now, but the technology has evolved thanks to so many people having to work from home lately. There are all manner of programs out there, but the key points are that a buyer or seller is able to read through all of the paperwork necessary to the purchase or sale of a home on their computer, phone or tablet. Then they can electronically sign where required, all without ever having to touch a piece of paper. Not only is this more efficient (no need to print, sign, scan and email for fax back), but it is environmentally friendly as well. The documents are sent and stored securely, and can easily be generated or updated with just a few strokes of a keyboard. Paperless transactions are now a staple of the process of buying and selling real estate.
Like Open Houses, viewing homes in person and meeting up to discuss a transaction are happening less. Instead, agents are honing their remote showing skills and using programs such as Zoom or FaceTime to walk through properties with buyers or hold virtual coffee dates to discuss buyers’ wants and needs. It can be a difficult task to accurately represent a home’s potential through digital means alone. But with health and safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it looks like remote showings are here to stay. However, this is another development where the technology makes it easier for out-of-town buyers and sellers to stay properly informed and have a more stress-free experience.
The technology we use in our daily lives is constantly evolving. It is interesting to note what aspects this pandemic has caused to shift at a more rapid pace than others. There’s no denying the advantage of many of the new, and emerging technologies. But when it comes to the process of buying or selling real estate- the largest transaction anyone will have in their lifetime- buyers and sellers are relying even more on the knowledge and expertise of their Realtor. Having a professional working for you, whom you can trust to guide you towards the best decision is invaluable. We can send and receive so much information digitally now, but there’s something that just can’t replace the innate understanding and feeling that comes from the human touch.