Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Featured in NPR's Marketplace for a story relating to what pandemic real estate trends will endure after the pandemic...

One of my clients and I were interviewed by NPR Marketplace reporter Matt Levin for a story that aired nationally yesterday. How has the COVID19 pandemic changed the housing market? There are numerous ways, however this segment mostly centered on use of technology to fuel buyer attention to listings. You can check out the broadcast here.

Of course, in the early days of the pandemic, we often found ourselves isolating at home, avoiding contact with others. Surfing home listings online was not a new thing, but in light of in-person home showings being more difficult and potentially unsafe to do, and open houses were literally illegal to conduct, more agents incorporated virtual tours into their marketing repertoire. This is something I have done to market my listings for years, but in the pandemic I noticed that virtual tours became more widely adopted. 

Some virtual tours are more sophisticated than others. The professional photographer I work with uses a really cool tool called a "Matterport" camera that captures 3D video of a home so you can virtually walk through it. It's super awesome. Others just do hand-held iphone walk-through videos posted to Youtube. But you get the idea. I do think home buyers and sellers alike will come to expect this sort of thing.

I have also noticed more "virtual staging" in listing photos. This is essentially photoshopped furniture into images of vacant rooms. You've probably seen this if you have looked through a lot of listings and not realized you were looking at virtual staging rather than real furniture. 

The way appraisals are performed has changed as well. That shift toward a "hybrid appraisal" had already started before the pandemic, however the "Stay-at-Home" orders fueled a rapid adoption of hybrid appraisals. In a hybrid appraisal, someone documents the condition of the property, and sends information and photos to an appraiser who then completes the analysis of value. The appraiser him/herself does not visit the property. In the pandemic, sometimes the homeowners themselves would supply information (this practice of the homeowner providing the info was mostly contained to the early months of the pandemic and has not continued)! Agents are also sometimes asked to supply that information. Most often now, it seems that a 3rd party is sent to the home to quickly take photographs and collect other details. Then an appraiser in an office somewhere else does the analysis. The result is the appraisals that are conducted in this manner are delivered faster. 

As a result, contractual timelines can be shortened. I do foresee these shortened timelines becoming more customary moving forward just because of the added convenience for everyone involved.

Anyway, listen to the broadcast and enjoy.

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