Home selling goes on, even as the COVID-19 outbreak causes mass closures across the U.S. Real estate pros have quickly adapted their businesses to market homes for sale online, and Redfin says it appears to be working.
The brokerage announced a 494% increase in requests for agent-led video home tours last week. That followed an 80% increase the week prior. The majority of the requests were made for video-chat tours.
“The future of real estate has come earlier than any of us could have anticipated,” says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “The way things are during the pandemic won’t last forever, but at the end of all this, things won’t go back to the way they were either. We hope we’re well prepared.”
The brokerage Compass has rolled out new Virtual Agents Services tools to its agents. Agents can send clients live video postcards, virtual reality home tours, 3D house staging, real-time interactive virtual showings, and virtual neighborhood walks. Other brokerages also report that they’re conducting showings and office meetings using FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or other video services.
Anthony Marguleas, a real estate pro with Amalfi Estates in Pacific Palisades, Calif., created a three-minute video tutorial of how he uses Zoom.
Visitors to Redfin.com can request video chat tours from agents by clicking a single button. They can use the video chat app of their choice, too. Redfin is also making technology available so purchasers will be able to review and sign their purchase contracts electronically, in states where it’s permitted.
“During video tours, I become the eye of the buyer,” says Jill Thompson, a real estate pro with Redfin in Indianapolis. “I’m talking more than I would on a traditional tour, pointing out things that would be obvious in person but that aren’t as clear through a camera lens, like the quality of workmanship on any repairs, or whether or not a room would fit a king-size bed.”