the Pandemic Has Changed Home Shopping Forever
The pandemic has brought on
quite a few changes to the real estate market and the process of buying and
selling homes. Completely normal parts of home shopping have been taken away,
or moved online, and even buyers’ priorities have shifted.
But which of these changes are
likely to stick around? From viewing homes on Zoom to looking for the perfect
home office space, here are 3 ways the pandemic has changed home shopping
Virtual home viewings have become
One of the biggest differences
we’ve witnessed in 2020 in real estate is the emergence of virtual home
viewings. In absence of a safe way to view a home in person, online video tours
are the next best thing, and they’ve grown in popularity not just for the
pandemic, but as a legitimate long-term option.
Viewing a home via Zoom or
through an online video tour is a great first step when you’re still at the
stage where you’re casually looking at houses. You can have a first view online
for several properties before you decide to go and view one in person. That
significantly simplifies the process and saves a lot of time, money, and effort
for everyone. Why view a house in person if it’s not worth it?
The other extremely practical
application has proven to be for people who are making a big move and are
looking to purchase a home to move into. Assuming one is in Ohio looking to
move to California, it makes sense to view homes virtually, instead of making
the trip over there. People
have bought homes sight unseen, based solely on virtual
viewings during the pandemic. It may not be ideal, but it’s a great solution
for someone in a difficult situation.
In addition, virtual viewings
have a bright future ahead – the virtual reality applications alone may change
the viewing game forever. What if you could view a home just like in real life,
but from the comfort of your living room, via VR? The future is now.
Buyers & sellers are taking full
advantage of online listings
Zillow and similar sites were
already a reliable stand-by before the pandemic, but it’s now when they
exploded in popularity. We predict a rise in services that make available
information about properties, prices, comparing properties, etc. That puts the
power in the hands of the buyers, who can be informed about the properties,
pick them out ahead of time, and don’t just have to rely on information from
their real estate agent.
As expected, social media has
had a big hand in selling homes across this entire period, and it’s a tool
people have gotten accustomed to using. In fact, according
to Forbes, social media is one of the primary factors playing into
the new real estate market – even outside the pandemic. Photos and videos are
tremendously successful in showcasing a home and getting people excited about
it, and that’s exactly how sellers are using social media.
Whether they’re posting on
Facebook groups or Instagram hashtags, this enables them to extend their reach
and popularize their properties. Buyers are known to follow such posts and are
able to survey homes quickly and decide what they want to see in person and
what’s best to pass on. It’s a democratization of online listings.
Multi-functional homes are here to stay
One of the major shifts we’ve
seen in home buying this past year has been the search for bigger,
multifunctional homes. While tiny homes and alternative spaces have certainly
grown in popularity over the past decade, the pandemic has pushed a lot of
people to reassess their needs and wants.
The biggest change is the fact
that so many employees have started working from home, with a significant
percentage working remotely long-term. That’s a major lifestyle change, and one
that requires some extra space, and some extra features. Additional space,
extra privacy and security, and reliable
internet access are all non-negotiables for a lot of buyers.
Considering the major shift to remote work, these are requirements that will
outlast the pandemic.
In addition to that, working
from home for a year has helped people realize and appreciate the importance of
having more living space and even outdoor space, and they are not willing to
give up on that comfort and small luxury.
When the same space needs to
serve very different purposes, it’s important to have those elements of
relaxation to separate it from work. We may very well be witnessing a historic
shift in priorities, long-term. Less concern over proximity to work and
entertainment, and more interest in comfort and tranquility.
What’s the bottom line?
Shopping for a home is a very
exciting time in a person’s life, which is why putting it on pause or taking
the process online may be disappointing or frustrating for buyers. Which is why
it’s so surprising that some of the changes brought on by the pandemic are
likely to stick around long-term.
Virtual home viewings and
social media listings have turned out to be a convenient solution for a lot of
situations, whether the buyer is far away or just busy, and multifunctional
homes are “the new normal”. The homes people are looking to buy right now may
very well dictate home buying trends for the next few decades.