Today’s climate is changing the way real estate transactions are conducted. Forward-thinking Realtors are embracing technology, allowing for a more safety-minded business model. Even after this health crisis passes, a new normal will take hold in the real estate industry creating better efficiencies and a smoother transactional process. Those rainy, snowy, and hot messy days that got in the way of real estate transactions and closings in the past, will become a not so fond memory.
In the short term, while we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Health will require realtors to ask relatively invasive questions related to a buyer and seller’s health. In addition, buyers and sellers will experience procedural adjustments and will be asked to comply with a new norm. But in the long run, the industry will see improvements beyond many of our consumers’ dreams.
By utilizing various technological enhancements to the realty industry, the health risks to buyers and sellers can be reduced considerably without compromising the needs of either party. Personal protective items such as masks, gloves, and shoe coverings, as well as the utilization of cleaning materials and disinfectant sprays, will be part of the new process. Overall, the change will provide everyone involved a certain level of comfort and reduced health risk, making the real estate industry a leader in adapting best practices to minimize the further spread of infection.
Video conferencing, virtual tours, 3D photography, virtual showings, virtual open houses, live-feed video and much more will enhance each aspect of the real estate transaction, saving the one thing that money can’t buy and that is time. In a world where a twenty-four-hour day just does not seem long enough, Realtors are finding ways to give time back to their clients.
With a video conference pre-sale consultation, along with a comparative market analysis, the Realtor can review the seller’s goals and desires, as well as, discuss the marketing needed, without having the Realtor physically enter the home. A seller can give the Realtor a simple tour of the home and follow with a video conference, without the need to sit face to face, thus reducing risk and saving time.
By placing the home listing into the area’s multiple listing service – SIMLS on Staten Island- it allows a broader reach to locate and identify prospects. The seller should expect their Realtor to place multiple online photos and virtual tour videos to give the home the exposure needed to attract qualified buyers, which should include a large number of search engine driven non-realtor websites to bring more attention to the property.
The listing agent may also include 3-D photography and drone photos, but more importantly, a more detailed virtual video and property description, showing the full opportunity of the property to a potential buyer. This allows for a more in-depth look at the property, similar to a live, in-home visitor experience. The benefit to the seller becomes obvious, as it reduces the number of people entering their home during the exploration process, and will decrease the number of window shoppers, bringing more serious buyers – again reducing risk and saving time.
By utilizing video conferencing, with a pre-purchase consultation, it can provide the buyer with a more successful search for the perfect home or property. Sharing a website search and setting the buyers up with their self-designed search criteria will bring homes to the buyer that better fits their wants and needs while reducing the running around time.
Utilizing this process will allow for more homes to be seen safely in less time. It will also give the buyer’s agent a better understanding of the likes and dislikes of the buyer. Instead of physically looking at dozens of homes that do not fit their needs, the buyer can visit fewer homes, saving time, and avoiding risk.
Live Open Houses will start to disappear and be replaced by virtual Open Houses, which again will allow more buyers to see properties without the need for dozens of people walking through the seller’s home. Once a potential buyer shows increased interest, they will then make an in-home visit. The Realtor can utilize video conferencing, setting a time for the start of the virtual open house and market the property to agents and potential buyers and invite numerous people to attend at a specific time by joining in the conference. The agent can show the home to more customers and clients during one-half hour sitting than they could in a three-hour live open house again saving time, energy, and risk.
In the past, hours were spent in face to face meetings preparing and signing the necessary paperwork to start the real estate process. For the seller, the listing agreement, house description input sheets, agency disclosure, property condition disclosure, lead paint disclosure, and new Fair Housing disclosures, as well as other paperwork required hours of preparation and signatures. Buyer’s required agency disclosures, property condition information, lead paint notices, new Fair Housing disclosures, offer to purchase, and a buyer’s agency agreement. Running back and forth to sign paperwork is a chore for all parties. While e-signatures had been used in the past, today we are seeing more electronic adoption and acceptance.
The explanation of the paperwork can be done through video-conferencing or telephone so that each document signed is understood. Programs that allow for the sharing of necessary documentation between the interested parties – sellers, buyers, realtors, attorneys, and others – help reduce the delays and confusion often associated with real estate transactions. This again saves time, energy and improves transparency, making for a much smoother and less stressful transaction.
Yes, a real estate transaction can be safely performed now and in the future. Ask your Realtor for their plan of action and get the ball rolling today on some of the great real estate properties available on the market.
Fran and Frank Reali, Co-Owners and Brokers
BHGRE Safari Real Estate
(718) 442-5200 NY
(732) 409-0700 NJ