Despite open houses pausing over the spread of COVID-19, a new survey from the National Association of Realtors said that 65% of people who attended an open house within the last year would do so now without hesitation, while another 15% said they would feel comfortable resuming this activity if there was an approved COVID-19 vaccine and/or proven medical protocol to mitigate and remedy the effects of the virus.
“The real estate industry – and our country – has endured some very challenging times for several months, but we’re seeing signs of progress and we are earnestly hoping the worst is behind us,” said NAR President Vince Malta.
Also in the survey, 47% of buyers and 53% of sellers said that during the current pandemic, relying on a real estate professional when searching for or selling a home is much more important than before. In addition, 54% of buyers and 62% of sellers said that a real estate agent’s guidance is especially valued right now. Hand-in-hand with that, 59% of buyers and 58% of sellers said that buying and selling real estate is an essential service.
“While we celebrate homeownership month, we embrace today’s version of homeownership and the unique paths homeowners take to realize their dream,” Malta continued. “For prospective buyers, the desire to own a home remains strong and the guidance, expertise and professionalism Realtors provide is more important now than ever.”
Despite the rise of iBuyers and virtual real estate practices, 51% of buyers said an agent is valuable when it comes to gleaning information from online listings rather than uncovering it on their own, and 56% said they believe that an agent can save them time and stress of weeding through listings.
The survey also showed growing comfort with the digitization of the home purchase process. According to the survey, 67% of sellers and 70% of buyers said they are very comfortable with conducting business on a computer, such as reviewing and signing documents electronically.
“Thanks to the internet,” 41% said they could envision themselves buying a house without ever physically stepping foot inside, and 53% of sellers could envision themselves selling to prospective buyers the same way.