Matthew Speakman on what’s driving homebuyer demand

Zillow Economist Speakman explains what Zillow’s recent report on homebuyer demand tell us about the current state of the housing market.

Record low mortgage rates hold steady at 2.72%

This is the second week in a row rates have sat at the lowest recorded level in the survey’s near 50-year history.

What Yellen as Treasury Secretary would mean for housing

Experts weigh in on former Fed Chair’s possible impact on GSE reform and how she could jumpstart the economy.

Building the one-touch digital mortgage

As Katherine Campbell drives toward a one-touch mortgage, she’s taking time to share what she has learned along the way.

Real Estate

Should we ditch open houses?

Real estate professionals debate the future of open houses

open house sign

The value of open houses is up for debate these days with real estate agents either very much in favor of them, or totally opposed to them. There’s not much in between, if reader response to a recent query from our Chief Product Officer, Diego Sanchez, is any indication.

Once upon a time, open houses were the only way people who did not have relationships with real estate agents could freely tour a home without making an appointment.

However, in recent years, as technology has developed, virtual tours have lessened the need for in-person open houses. These days, potential homebuyers can peruse the inside of a prospective house from the comfort of their own homes at any time of the day or night. Or, they can attend virtual open houses.

But for some real estate agents, a virtual tour is no substitute for seeing a home in person. Open houses, they argue, are a crucial way for buyers to truly discern if a property is what they had in mind.

For others, open houses are dangerous in more ways than one. On June 22, we reported on a female Keller Williams Realtor in Lynchburg, Virginia, who was hit in the head with a blunt object at an open house.

Add the fear of catching the coronavirus to the equation, and the number of real estate agents eager to host open houses seems to be dwindling by the day. Not to mention the fact that in many states, open houses were banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And if they weren’t, many brokerages and companies (such as Redfin) opted to suspend them – at least temporarily. 

And to still others, they are simply a waste of time.

As states have gradually re-opened, more real estate agents are once again able to conduct in-person home tours. The question is, do they even want to?

In this piece, we’ll share feedback from agents who sit on both sides of the fence.

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