virtual home buying

The real estate and mortgage fiasco of 2008 was self-inflicted and took a toll on many homeowners. The current health crisis will not have the same impact for homeowners but it will – and already has – changed, to some degree, how business is conducted.

The pandemic put a short-term halt to some real estate activity during the first quarter of 2020. Experts predicted sales and prices would drop by at least 30%. In April, however, sales dropped only 17% while prices remained steady. The pent-up demand for housing was and continues to be very strong with an ongoing shortage of inventory. In addition, interest rates are at historic lows, making homeownership extremely affordable for buyers.

Since this past March, a result of the New York State mandated shutdown, all realtor activity has been hands off. Showings of homes were strictly virtual or via Facetime. Some in-person showings occurred whereby owners vacated their property while prospective buyers adhered to safety precautions: the wearing of gloves, masks, shoe coverings and sanitizing touch points.

In lieu of meeting with homeowners and buyers in person, virtual meetings/visits have become the new norm. Real estate sales did not slow down as much as expected as the industry quickly adapted to meetings via video technologies such as Zoom and Google Meet for seller listing presentations and buyer consultations.

Additionally, virtual tours and open houses will be incorporated onto social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, and are now an integral part of the selling/buying process. At some point, personal showings will resume with new guidance.

Viruses such as this one and the flu will always be around. The new norm will entail proper safety precautions and social distancing guidance to ensure public safety. Placing your trust in a true professional realtor, who can carry out the mission of fulfilling the goals and dreams of the selling and buying public, will be as important as ever.

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