The process of selling your home and buying a new one may not look the same as it did a few years ago. The pandemic, social distancing, business shutdowns, and shelter-in-place regulations all impacted real estate activity. And, while many local governments deemed real estate an essential service, realtors and buyers alike introduced new processes and precautions to make home-buying as safe and seamless as possible.
From staging and listing homes to negotiating and closing on a new property, COVID-19 introduced new standards and normalities of the buying and selling experiences.
With the vaccination rolling out, you can expect some aspects of the experience to return to the way they once were. However, some trends are likely here to stay. Here are four ways the pandemic may have changed home buying and selling forever:
While online listings have long played a role in attracting potential buyers, more detailed listing descriptions and high-quality real estate images are even more critical in the early stages of selling a home. Realtors also offer video conferencing to save time and provide a safer experience.
Virtual Home Showings
While some realtors already relied on online listings to market properties, more have realized that offering virtual viewing options is convenient and necessary for prospective buyers looking to close during these times. Even after all restrictions lift, providing a detailed online listing will help you capture the attention of potential buyers faster.
Listing agents can now offer a safer and more immersive experience by working with a real estate visual marketing expert to help make their property stand out online. Even post-pandemic, adding high-quality photos and virtual 3D tours to your listing will help you close quicker and at a higher price point. By including these in property listings, buyers can better understand the space without leaving their homes.
As mentioned previously, virtual showings are becoming the new normal, and video technology has allowed agents to showcase properties virtually. Beyond that, video conferencing has also introduced an easier way for realtors to generate leads. Additionally, they can increase listing visibility and ensure more face time with prospective buyers.
Remote meetings also allow realtors to maintain intimacy with their clients meanwhile limiting in-person interaction. By conducting meetings and showings via video chat, home sellers can show their properties to prospective buyers, guarantee face-to-face interaction with existing clients, abide by social distancing regulations, and save on commute time.
Record low interest rates, remote work, and learning arrangements, and an increase in multigenerational living have prompted an influx in home buying in 2020. Depending on your local market, now might be an excellent time for you to lock in a lower rate and rightsize your space for your evolving needs.
The real estate market has experienced noticeable shifts since the start of the pandemic. In the wake of COVID-19, buyer needs and preferences have changed. For instance, individuals and families adjusting to the new work and learn-from-home realities may now seek homes with several rooms as opposed to an open floor plan, so they can dedicate separate spaces for working, eating, sleeping, or exercising. They may also look for homes with outdoor living spaces or in quieter suburbs where the cost of living is lower.
The pandemic also put many in uncertain financial positions, causing some buyers to delay their home search or research their financing options more carefully. Especially during these times, house hunters looking to capitalize on low interest rates may factor in the possibility of using an FHA loan or a similar form of down payment assistance over more costly conventional loans to mitigate their cost of closing.
Closing on a home used to require in-person notarized signatures. However, it’s now a process that can be accomplished virtually. Even when shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions are lifted, homebuyers may opt for virtual closings out of an abundance of caution or for convenience.
If you choose to close in-person, you should still expect title and escrow companies, as well as real estate agents, to take safety precautions. A virtual closing may entail signing documents virtually using services like DocuSign and meeting with various stakeholders virtually. The safety measures taken during the closing process, as well as the accommodations offered by each stakeholder, will dictate how you can and should proceed with buying a home in 2021 and beyond.
There’s no denying that the home buying and selling processes have changed over the past year. And, while some aspects may return to the way they once were, real estate might not ever look the same again. Before buying or selling a home in the future, consider how the experience might look different now and forever.