The pandemic may have thrown a monkey wrench in…well, everything. But, rest assured, real estate is making a comeback, and here’s how:
With tens of millions of people unemployed, the United States economy isn’t doing too well. Yet, with mortgage rates at an all-time low, the real estate industry is still chugging along. Real estate agents have had to think on their toes in order to continue business. It’s highly likely that these new techniques will continue to be used going forward.
- Virtual and 3D tours
As a result of stay-at-home orders being issued across the nation, agents were unable to do in-person showings and open houses. Therefore, 46% of real estate agents have relied on technology like 3D and virtual tours to show listings. This practice is likely to continue in a post-COVID world as it’s more efficient and agents can also post the video on their websites for potential buyers to check out.
- Purchasing homes without seeing it in person
We rely so much on technology in our lives, so it makes sense that people begin house hunting through virtual real estate market places. Real estate agents who list houses on these marketplaces can upload up to 50 photographs on the site, which gives buyers a good look at the property. When you add the pre-recorded virtual tours, buyers can make offers on houses without physically going through the home if they want to. This is especially useful for buyers who are out-of-state and are looking to relocate.
- Appraisals may be conducted differently
Normally, appraisals require an appraiser to walk through the house to see how much the property is worth. In light of COVID, appraisers weren’t allowed to go through the house to conduct their appraisal. Instead of a walk-through, appraisers drive by the house, look at comparable houses in the neighborhood, and may even peek inside the home to see if there are any upgrades and the like. Once they’ve concluded the appraisal, they would use a video conferencing platform like Zoom or FaceTime to share their findings.
It’s worth noting that while these drive-by appraisals may not continue once the pandemic is over, it’s possible that video conferencing will continue.
- Signing documents digitally
As you can see, much of the home buying process has shifted from a very “hands-on” experience. During closing, there would be a group of people sitting around a large table to go over and sign closing documents. Yet, many agents, title companies, and the like have allowed for documents to be signed digitally through programs like DocuSign.
This practice is likely to continue going forward, as it’s an easy way for involved parties to do their part when it’s convenient for them. Once life gets back to normal (or some semblance of normal), it could be much harder to schedule a time that works for everyone. Digitally signing documents is a whole lot easier!
The future of real estate in a post-COVID world
No one knows for sure what “normal” will look like, but one thing is for sure – it’s going to be different than before the pandemic broke out. We already live much of our lives using technology, so the continued use of things like digital signing of documents and virtual tours makes sense.
The pandemic made many industries think of new ways to conduct business and real estate is one of them. Is it possible for real estate transactions to continue to be conducted with as little face-to-face interaction as we’ve seen over the past few months? Maybe. One thing is for sure, the future of real estate is going to be an interesting one!
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