Covid-19 has changed so many things about daily life right now, and real estate is no exception. It may seem grim, like things will never be back to normal. In fact, with limits on how and where we can move around most people would think that real estate will grind to a halt. There are many people unwilling to relocate during this unprecedented time. But at this time it seems like there are boundless opportunities for innovation in the way we present, show, and even close a real estate transaction. This has led to a less-robust though still moving spring season.
Most people start a real estate transaction by looking online. That is even more the case as many of us are under stay-in-place orders at this time. You go to your Realtor’s website and put in search parameters to narrow your search to find the perfect property for you. Your Realtor then helps you to narrow and refine your search and then shows you the most likely candidates in person. This has been standard for a while now, but in addition to the photos, you now find drone footage of the property, and most importantly videos of the home.
Video tours of homes are starting to be more important than ever. It can be hard to get the sense of a property from photos. Especially when clever tricks can be used to make a home seem larger, brighter, and selectively show only the best features of a home. A video tour gives you more of a sense of the flow of a home and allows you to see more of the home than is allowed by a set number of photos.
Drone footage is a way to get a better sense of the home from above. This can show more about the landscape, surrounding landmarks, wider neighborhood, and outdoor features. This is much more than just a Google search showing a still picture of a property. This dynamic tool can really give you a feel for the placement of the property within a neighborhood.
Another unique tool that has recently emerged is virtual staging. This is great for people who can’t imagine a home that is shown vacant. The listing photos are taken with the rooms empty, then furniture is digitally added to the photos to help show how the room would look fully furnished. This can help especially when recommendations are to limit contact with surfaces so showing a home vacant is often preferable. There are many areas where you can’t even show a home if it is currently being lived in.
Once you have decided on a new home and are under contract, there have been innovations in the closing process as well. You still need a notary present, but with video calls on platforms like FaceTime and Zoom, you can do much of the closing online instead of in person. This keeps germs out of the equation and can help you do most anything from quarantine.
Times of great stress are prone to produce innovations that have changed our world. There is hope that many of these innovations will stay around after the time of Covid-19 is over. Additional innovations are possible and may make the process easier to do from home. For now, when looking at a home, ask yourself, can I see my family here for an extended period of time. Homes with private entertainment like pools, sports courts, and outdoor living spaces may be more popular than ever.