What’s to Become of the Open House?

Real estate is one of the many industries that has been affected during the pandemic. Open houses, a weekend staple for homebuyers and Realtors® alike, have fallen prey to social distancing. What will happen to this hallmark of house hunting while we are adjusting to our new normal? Let’s consider some of the possibilities. Here’s how potential buyers will get a glimpse of properties:
 
Virtual Property Tours & Live Open Houses
While forward-thinking Realtors® like us have used virtual property tours for their listings for some time now, expect to see these in many more listings going forward. We are hosting “Live Virtual Open Houses” now using a specialized 360-degree camera. Look here to experience one of our more recent tours: https://www.facebook.com/bestcoasthomes/videos/703480107151772/ 
 
More pictures
For those who are selling homes that need a little TLC, be warned: It’s no longer going to be enough to post exterior shots for online listings. Unless owners are willing to let their properties linger on the market, they’re going to have to get their homes ready for their close-up photos. We need to up our photography and start posting dozens of pictures of our listings in the hopes that it will be enough to entice buyers to make an offer.
 
Smartphone tours
A smartphone is all we need to take our clients on a tour of a house for sale. It may not be exactly the same as being in the home, but it’s better than two-dimensional pictures – and it’s far better than buying a home sight unseen. We recently negotiated an accepted offer on a property whereby after viewing a virtual tour, our buyer made an offer subject to a final viewing, which all worked out well. The new normal.
 
Private appointments
While open houses can be stressful, they require keeping the house clean and tidy for a span of just a few hours, usually on a weekend. Now, sellers will find themselves having to keep homes perfect 24/7 as they await a call from their Realtor® saying someone wants to see the property. Homebuyers will come individually to see a home until it is sold.  The good news: Now that there are more barriers to entry with seeing homes, those who do request private appointments are more likely to be qualified homebuyers rather than ‘Lookie-Loos’.
 
The fall of the ‘Lookie-Loo’?
The upside to the changes to open houses: the loss of the ‘Lookie-Loos’. These are people who have little intention of buying a home or may look at homes far out of their price range. A good Realtor® will be able to weed them out to avoid wasting time with a private appointment. It won’t stop them from viewing virtual tours online, of course, so keep that in mind when listings start to rack up views by “interested” buyers.
 
Like all other industries have had to adjust to social distancing, Realtors® and sellers will have to rethink the open house as part of the homes’ marketing plan. Of course, buyers will also have to modify their expectations with how much access they’ll have to a potential home – and how much they’ll need before they feel comfortable making an offer.
 
Our new normal is certainly different and an adjustment for everyone involved in the transaction. There are homes being listed and sold in our current market. 
 
If you need any further information or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here for you.

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