Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on many sectors of the economy including real estate. Sales volumes are down but offers are being made and transactions are closing. The sales process is different than it was pre-Covid but, again, deals are getting done. So how has the sales process changed?
Virtual Open House
The traditional Open House is scheduled on a weekend afternoon and hosted by the listing agent. It allows potential Buyers an opportunity to have a thorough look through the house. The agent is available to answer questions and “sell” the house by highlighting the home’s features and benefits. Busy Open Houses may have 25 people or more in the home at any given time. Obviously, under the current environment, this is an unacceptable practice. The Real Estate Board actually prohibited Open Houses for a period of time in March, but later eased the restriction by setting strict guidelines such as allowing one group through at a time with masks, gloves etc.
The Virtual Open House is simply a very detailed recording of your home. It differs from a traditional marketing video in that it’s longer and doesn’t simply highlight your homes selling features. It allows the Buyer an opportunity to see all aspects of your home. It’s designed to provide the Buyer with the same experience as walking through the house. The Virtual Open House is a link embedded in the public MLS listing and is available to potential Buyers with the click of a mouse.
Zoom is a video and audio platform for online conferencing. Many agents have used it successfully over the past few months by hosting hourly conferences to allow Buyers to log-in and ask questions about the property. Typically, the call is open for one hour and several buyers may be on the call simultaneously.
If a Buyer has taken the time to watch the Virtual Open House and participate in a Zoom conference call, they will likely want to schedule a physical viewing of the property before writing an offer. If they request a showing, they are likely serious buyers. Normally, it’s a single showing for up to an hour depending on the size of the property. Buyers are asked to wear gloves and masks and to make as little physical contact with the property as possible. Any areas that are contacted are immediately disinfected.
This three step process has proven effective in selling occupied homes over the past few months. Several homes have been sold after a single showing. Of course, if your home is considered a “tear down”, the buyer may not require a viewing of the property before presenting an offer.
Sales volumes are down across the North Shore but prices have remained consistent. The “Average Days on Market” is down considerably meaning most homes are selling much quicker than they were a few months ago.