How Will COVID-19 Shape The Mechanics Of Home Buying & Selling?
During the pandemic, real estate agents had to reexamine the way they conducted business. They needed to think on their toes because they couldn’t meet with clients in person, they couldn’t host open houses or go on normal showings. These challenges lessened the strain on agents in terms of trying to figure out what to do. Yet, will agents continue to look for new and innovative ways to help clients find their dream home or will business go back to “normal?”
Welcome to a virtual world
We already live much of our lives online, thanks to countless social media platforms. Real estate agents have embraced social media and have used online real estate platforms to advertise their listings. However, these tools are becoming key marketing tools because agents cannot host open houses due to social distancing.
Virtual tours and live walkthroughs have made it possible for agents to show clients potential homes without taking the client through the home in question. Instead, the agent can use conferencing programs like Zoom, Facebook Live, or Facetime to show the house. Clients can ask questions and leave feedback as though they were there in person.
Another way real estate transactions have been impacted by COVID is that many tasks that used to require in-person meetings (like signing closing documents, for example) can now be done online via a program like DocuSign. Of course, some local governments may allow businesses to erect plexiglass windows while still maintaining social distancing protocols. Fortunately, your agent will be able to explain what to expect in that regard.
Buyers want are looking for different amenities
Many businesses are now letting their employees to work from home. That means for those who are looking for a new house are going to have different requirements. For example, some may want a house with a detached garage that could be turned into an office. Some people may want a finished basement so that the family doesn’t have to be right on top of each other – especially if stay-at-home orders aren’t going to be lifted any time soon.
It isn’t just those who are working from home that are looking for something specific. Folks who have lived in cities or densely populated areas are moving away from the crowded metropolitan areas and are seeking property in suburban and even rural areas. These buyers are interested in finding homes with large properties in which they can enjoy being outside rather than being cooped up inside. Not only do they want to enjoy the great outdoors, they want that the extra space so that they feel safer than if they were in, say, an apartment complex where the virus could easily spread if someone had COVID.
Real estate will be different, but not necessarily for the worst
Life and business has been impacted by the pandemic in a wide variety of ways and many of us are still trying to figure out the best way to make it all work. In terms of real estate, it’s hard to say where the market will be in the future. But make no mistake, if mortgage rates continue to be this low and people are able to recover financially from this pandemic, we very well may see the real estate market thrive once more.
If you need to move right away and you cannot wait until this mess is over, be sure to consult your real estate agent about safety precautions you can take and how to move forward with your real estate transactions. For more on COVID-19 and real estate, check out HomeLight’s full report from their Q2 Top Agent Insights Survey.
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