The coronavirus pandemic has altered almost every aspect of our society. That’s especially true of the way many businesses conduct business in many industries now, particularly the real estate industry. Agents are having to adapt to these new conditions, and that also means it’s a different game for both real estate buyers and sellers. Showings and closings have changed dramatically, and much of it has gone digital. To help you understand this new environment, here are 5 ways Chicago real estate agents are adapting during coronavirus.
1. Virtual Rules Now
People still need to buy and sell houses, and agents still need to make a living. But they all have to do it safely, so Chicago real estate agents are adapting during coronavirus by going digitally remote. To limit close contact with other people and to reduce exposure to the coronavirus, agents have found ways to make parts of real estate transactions virtual.
The traditional open house, for example, has given way to virtual tours. Here’s how virtual now rules . . .
An agent “will go in, take a detailed video tour of the house and send it to their clients afterward. Moreover, and depending on the agent in question, the agent may also FaceTime or otherwise video call clients as they are walking through the house, therefore making them available to answer questions in real-time. These virtual open houses serve as a way of showcasing properties to interested individuals while completely eliminating the close contact that would usually occur during an in-person showing.”
2. Open Houses and Showings
As we mentioned, one way Chicago real estate agents are adapting during coronavirus is by using virtual tools and strategies. The most used and most effective of these are virtual open houses and virtual showings.
Open houses are an effective tool to pull in interested potential buyers. But under current conditions, the traditional in-person open house is pretty much out of the question. Even though they can’t get buyers physically in a house, agents have found another way with virtual open houses and showings.
Although not really new, virtual showings are now becoming the norm. Buyers can tour a home virtually while still having digital access, through something like FaceTime or Zoom, to agents in order to ask questions.
“Virtual reality,” industry pros explain, “provides a 3D, 360-degree tour of a seller’s home that offers immersive visualizations in high resolution. It may not fully replace an in-person tour, but it’s close. While this may sound difficult or expensive, it’s not as tricky as it seems. Many companies already exist in this space to help real estate agents and their clients produce great 3D virtual home hours.”
3. Inspections and Appraisals
The ways Chicago real estate agents are adapting during coronavirus can also be seen in how inspections and appraisals are conducted now. Formerly, the principals in the transaction would be present together for an appraisal or inspection, but that’s changing.
Now, for example, the seller and agent may be sequestered in one room of the house while the inspector, wearing proper protective gear, conducts the inspection. “Some lenders are also allowing drive-by appraisals and photos submitted by the homeowner in order to qualify the buyer for the home’s purchase price. This removes the need for yet another person to enter the home and potentially contaminate the owners and their living area.”
Because you won’t’ be able to tag along in such cases, your agent will have to follow up later with your questions and concerns. To find out more about these new developments, contact a Chicago agent at 773.233.8180.
4. Supplemental Materials
Another way Chicago real estate agents are adapting during coronavirus involves providing buyers and sellers with supplemental materials to make up for the shortcoming of and to complement virtual showings an altered inspections/appraisals.
So here’s what some savvy agents are doing now . . .
They “have begun providing clients with floor plans, detailed descriptions and panoramic pictures to supplement their video tours, with some . . . even working to set up a live stream link through which multiple clients interested in a particular property can view it concurrently. . . . [S]ome companies and agents have even begun to work with photographers that specialize in piecing together 360-degree home video tours.”
Agents are adapting during coronavirus by increasingly using remote closings. Remote closing has been possible in a few states for some time, but it’s now becoming more and more common. In fact, “now, nearly every U.S. state has issued an emergency declaration allowing for buyers’ and sellers’ identities to be verified by a notary via video and documents to be signed electronically. This opens the door for fully remote home closings through the U.S.”
Lean on Your Agent
Although Chicago real estate agents are adapting during coronavirus, many buyers and sellers are having a harder time adjusting. It’s no easy thing to lose human contact and do everything remotely, virtually, and online. That’s why it’s so critical at this time that you have and lean on a qualified local agent. Find out how our agents can help you buy or sell under these new conditions. Give us a call today at 773.233.8180 or send us a message.