With most buyers resorting to virtual tours as the only way to actually see inside a listed home during the coronavirus outbreak, one might be forgiven for thinking that home buying activity is all but dead.
But in actual fact, many real estate brokerages are still doing business, with Redfin reporting that some 12% of all offers signed by customers last week were done by clients who’ve only seen the home in question through a virtual tour.
That’s up from almost zero at the beginning of the month, Redfin said,
“Video chat tours are not only a great way to minimize contact with others during the current crisis, but also a cost-effective way to see homes across town or in a different city,” Taylor Marr, Redfin’s lead economist, wrote in a blog post. “Home buyers and sellers are becoming more comfortable with this technology, which may remain a popular way to view homes once the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, especially given many Americans may need to relocate to find work.”
In one example, a Redfin agent based in Florida recently worked with a client that’s planning to relocate from New York City to Jacksonville. The family toured multiple houses via virtual tours before finding the one that was right for them and was able to choose their new home, make an offer and sign the deal all from their New York apartment.
Redfin isn’t the only brokerage offering virtual tours. In fact, most are doing so, using tools such as Zoom or FaceTime to meet up with clients and show them around their listings. Some are also using 3D and virtual tools online to help clients preview properties.
Redfin said last week it piloted a live-video open house via Zoom in three markets. The option allows several customers to simultaneously view a house. The brokerage says it will bring the service to additional markets soon.