Why 63% Bought Homes Using Virtual Tours in 2020

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For those that are unfamiliar with the term, 'virtual home tours' includes online photography, 3D cameras, video tours, drone video, virtual staging, and FaceTime tours; and they have revolutionized the real estate market. I have personally been working with out of town folks and doing FaceTime video tours daily!!!

The FaceTime tour is such a great way for the buyer to experience my very in depth home tour, where I focus in on the areas of the house that are most important to my clients. I drive through the neighborhood, talk about the highlights of the location etc….then get to the house and then GAME TIME!  It’s so much fun for me…and given my film background…I feel so at home with this mode of showing homes!

And it now appears that professional virtual home tours could change how real estate business will be conducted. 
And why not? Certainly real estate professionals often benefit from the absence of the sellers belongings distracting from the charms of a home, and during the past year, not only the seller, but the buyer and many agents require safety protocols which are made easier by the seller vacating the home during the selling process. 
Typically, after the owners vacate, any of the home's flaws are repaired and walls are painted and a professional photographer/videographer will choose optimal angles and lighting to highlight the interior, and for some homes, a drone is used to provide a bird's eye view that includes the home's exterior, the yard, the neighborhood and even proximity to nearby features, such as parks, lakes, or other selling points. For more serious buyers, agents will often do a live tour using their mobile device, highlighting any existing issues or areas of a buyer's interest.

Virtual staging, while just one of the services provided, is an almost limitless marketing tool that allows the selling agent, or private seller, to present a property as it could be, which helps potential buyers, especially those without the ability to imagine themselves in an otherwise empty house, see a space as a nursery, a media room, and therefore emotionally connect to a property. And while the virtual services are not 'cheap' they typically cost just a fraction of what would be spent on actual, physical staging. And while traditional staging is limited to the furniture, artwork and other decor on hand, virtual staging allows for fixtures, appliances, and even landscaping to be imagined in a space. 

Virtual staging can also be done quickly, which in today's hot market, is a definite plus. While physical staging can take a week or more to complete, teams can complete virtual staging for an entire house in just a few hours. This makes it an excellent option for sellers who want to position their properties effectively without investing a massive amount of effort. What's more, sellers and agents are able to stage the same home to suit multiple markets; for example, growing families could see a nursery, kid's rooms with at-home school learning areas, kid-friendly dens and such, whereas empty nesters could see the same home with sophisticated guest rooms, a high end media room, and outdoor living areas.

As I’ve experienced in the past year, with the massive employment and educational shifts, almost 30% of 2020 home buyers moved to homes outside their geographic areas. And they depended upon virtual home tours exclusively in their home buying decisions. But it's not only long-distance buyers using virtual services. Data out last week from Redfin records that 63% of homebuyers in 2020 signed a contract to buy the home without actually seeing it in person first. Truly, with all the challenges that were the result of COVID, virtual home tours have been a huge benefit to buyers, sellers and agents alike. If you'd like to learn more about how a virtual tour could enhance the sale of your home or are interested in seeing a virtual tour of homes currently available for sale, please get in touch! Tracy Curtis, Coldwell Banker Realty, 415-910 0599.