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Real Estate

More homebuyers would buy sight unseen, thanks to virtual tours

Home shoppers say they want the option to stay

Popular solutions in the real estate industry, while in-person open houses were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are 3D home tours, virtual home tours and even FaceTime home tours.

In April, realtor.com said that about 25% of home shoppers would buy a home without even stepping foot in it. Now, that number has notably risen.

According to Zillow, 36% of Americans said they would be more likely to try and buy a home entirely online because of the pandemic. And, 43% said they would be more likely to sell a home entirely online because of the pandemic.

After the current outbreak ends, according to Zillow, 30% would still be likely to buy a home completely online and 33% said they would still be more likely to sell a home entirely online, too.

“The home shopping tradition of loading the family into the minivan and touring open houses all weekend may be over,” said Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. “Now shoppers are realizing they can use virtual tours to either skip in-person shopping, or at least to winnow down their options and visit fewer homes in person, making it easier and less time-consuming to find their next home. That speed advantage can give buyers a leg up in today’s fast-moving market. “

Zillow itself has 3D home technology, the use of which it says skyrocketed more than 750% in one month after the pandemic was declared. Usage has remained at least three times as high in the following months.

Out of the Zillow agents who were surveyed, 86% said they started or continued to use virtual or video home tours during the outbreak, and 72% said they are likely to continue providing those tours after the current outbreak has ended.

Fewer in-person showings at least most of the time during the current outbreak was the case for 64% of agents, and 31% anticipate this trend will continue after the outbreak is over.

Additionally, 75% of U.S. adults said they would want the option to tour remotely through virtual or video technology if they were home shopping right now.

This June 30 HousingWire piece offers more perspective from real estate agents who sit on both sides of the fence regarding whether we should ditch open houses, or not.

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