Even as COVID-19 forces mass closures across the United States, home selling is still happening. That’s according to Redfin, which says real estate professionals have quickly adapted to working from home.
Redfin said it saw a 494% increase in requests for agent-led video tours last week, following an 80% increase the week before. Most of the requests were for video chat tours, it said.
“The future of real estate has come earlier than any of us could have anticipated,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “The way things are during the pandemic won’t last forever, but at the end of all this, things won’t go back to the way they were either. We hope we’re well prepared.”
Another brokerage, Compass, has debuted new virtual agent services tools for its agents. The tools enable its agents to send live video postcards to clients, conduct VR home tours, 3D home staging and real-time virtual showings, with virtual neighborhood walks too. And other brokerages report using tools such as Zoom, FaceTime and Skype to conduct showings too.
Anthony Marguleas, a real estate pro with Amalfi Estates in Pacific Palisades, California, has created a three-minute video tutorial of how he uses Zoom.
Those browsing Redfin’s listings can request video chat tours from agents by clicking a single button. They can use the video chat app of their choice, too. Redfin is also making technology available so purchasers will be able to review and sign their purchase contracts electronically, in states where it’s permitted.
“During video tours, I become the eye of the buyer,” says Jill Thompson, a real estate pro with Redfin in Indianapolis. “I’m talking more than I would on a traditional tour, pointing out things that would be obvious in person but that aren’t as clear through a camera lens, like the quality of workmanship on any repairs, or whether or not a room would fit a king-size bed.”