With the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in virtual tours, more people are buying more homes “sight unseen” and that has prompted some real estate agents to be much more honest in their descriptions of listings.
As buyers increasingly turn to video tours, agents need to act as their eyes, ears and noses when showing them around a home by remote. Many of them have taken to being brutally honest, they say, to prevent buyer’s remorse.
Real estate agents are somewhat notorious for their tendency to sugarcoat everything, Colorado-based agent Jamie Eklund told the Wall Street Journal.
“If a house is old and rundown and small, we say ‘It’s cozy and has lots of character.’ But everything has its bad side and I want to be as honest with people as I can,” he said.
So while Eklund might highlight features such as the cloudless skies and sights of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in his videos of homes around Greely, Colo., he’ll also make admissions such as “it smells like a farm town”, and pan the camera to show surrounding cattle ranches.
“If it is something that might bother you, you might want to reconsider,” he admits in one of his videos.
For those relocating from city to the country, real estate pros say they want prospects to have an honest idea of what to expect from the area, as the adjustment can be tough for some.
“A lot of times they think they’re Davy Crockett, but when they get here they’re really Betty Crocker,” Billy Milliken, a Maine-based real estate broker, told the Journal.
While Milliken’s clients may fall in love with the waterfront homes in fishing villages, he’ll remind them that the beautiful lobster boat they’re admiring out on the sea can make a lot of noise at 4 o’clock in the morning.
He also has a proposition for any clients interested in his recent $339,000 listing - an off-the-grid, one-bedroom cottage on a small island. He wants them to spend the night at the home first - so they make sure they can handle the remoteness and won’t have any regrets.