Real EstateCoronavirus

Real estate agents are creatively showing listings amid stay-at-home orders

These agents hold HousingWire how they are still working despite the pandemic keeping people home

With real estate deemed an essential service in many U.S. states, and potential buyers under orders to stay at home, agents are showing properties the only way they can during the COVID-19 pandemic: Virtually.

Fatemah Nickchehi, a San Francisco-based Keller Williams Realtor, already had been making videos to showcase homes on listing websites prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and told HousingWire it’s all the same when it comes to giving a virtual tour to a prospective buyer now.

It’s a service that’s growing in demand. While most people wouldn’t have considered purchasing a home sight-unseen prior to the epidemic, about 25% of shoppers interviewed in recent weeks said they would buy a home without even stepping foot in it, according to realtor.com.

Nickchehi said she hired a professional videographer from Los Angeles to produce something a cut above what an agent could record with a cell-phone camera while walking through a house. The finished product was worth the extra cost, she said.

“I was trying to go outside the box, like the conventional cookie-cutter stuff,” Nickchehi said. “I was just trying to get creative.”

Alison Zuckert, a broker in the Denver, Colorado area, worked with one of her brokers who used a GoPro to produce her video.

Since she is based in Colorado, where there are stricter shelter-in-place guidelines, Zuckert said this outlet has allowed her to show a homes’ full potential.

Currently, in Colorado, a homebuyer can only see properties in person once their contract has been signed.

“I think it’s a good way to market a house because it’s better than just flipping through photos or trying to get an idea through an interior drone,” Zuckert said, referring to drones some agents have used to show houses.

Mary Beth Alexander, in San Mateo County, California, produced this video in March to showcase one of her listings. Alexander said she saw signs of what was coming, and wanted to make sure she could still show the property.

Where Alexander is, the county issued a “Shelter in Place” order on March 31 that was stricter than state requirements. The video upload date is March 26.

“I was just thinking, what’s gonna draw people to look at the video while we really are not able to go see the houses,” Alexander said. “So that was really what got me going to do something and I figured just seeing or hearing someone talk would make it just a little more different and interesting.”

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