How COVID-19 Has Forever Changed the Home Sales Process

Under normal circumstances, selling a house takes a lot of face-to-face communication with several parties. From in-person house tours and handshakes to roundtable closings, it is difficult to imagine selling (or buying) a house without these formalities. Or so the world thought.

Times have changed drastically since the world first came to know about the novel coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way business is done now. Wearing personal protective gear (PPE) such as a facial mask and maintaining social distance has become the norm, and real estate sellers have had to adapt accordingly. This means changing how realtors approach personal greetings, open houses, and closings.

The Evolution of Home Sale Process during the Pandemic

Despite the significant changes, the real estate industry didn’t take long to embrace this change. Realtors across the country came together to create innovative solutions and to continue serving the needs of home sellers and buyers. These solutions include giving virtual house tours wherever possible and using technology to complete the document signing process.

As 2021 has begun and the Covid-19 vaccine has arrived, industry experts predict that some of these solutions will stay in place even after the pandemic has become history. Let’s take a look at these practices.

No-touch and Curbside Closings

For all parties involved, the closing day is perhaps the most exciting part of the home-selling process. But during the pandemic, no-touch and curbside closings became necessary to comply with social distancing regulations.

In a curbside closing, the real estate agent walks out to the client’s car to get signature on documents that an attorney has prepared ahead of time. It means there is no longer any need to complete the paperwork with an attorney present in an office somewhere, which translates into reduced travel times as well.

Depending on whether the remote ink or remote online notarizations are permitted, all documents can be signed remotely through an audiovisual portal (like Microsoft Teams) or an official online notary platform (like Notarize).

Detailed Listing Descriptions and High-Quality Images 

Every experienced property seller knows that persuasive listing description and high-definition pictures of a house are extremely important in attracting buyers. This factor became even more important during the pandemic, when buyers were forced to limit in-person open house visitations.

As a result, real estate agents had to become handy with using stunning photos and creative descriptions in their listings online. Many agents went the extra mile and started to use social media by posting virtually recorded tours of homes on Facebook Live and Instagram.

Considering how well these efforts have been received by homebuyers, many agents, and sellers are going to continue using professional pictures and virtual tours even after the pandemic.

Virtual Property Showings 

Open houses have been a long-standing tradition in the sale of homes, and they will probably always be a part of the process. However, the pandemic has shown that virtual showings have become equally popular.

Virtual house tours through 3D videos have been a huge hit among homebuyers, especially because it allows them to narrow down their choices before driving for hours and visiting a property in person. Thanks to the evolving technology, gone are the days of sluggish 3D tours that won’t load properly.

3D tours today are incredibly realistic and immersive, making them the future of real estate marketing. Potential buyers can now take a virtual walk through a property and get an in-depth view from anywhere, any time. This has proven to be a boon for homebuyers who live a busy lifestyle and can’t manage to spend several hours every week house-hunting.

What’s in Store for 2021 & Beyond?

When social distancing became the new normal, it increased the need to develop and implement contact-less technology in everyday life. Business models are now being powered by technological innovations that are tailored for clients.

The real estate industry has responded positively to these changes, which is quite visible from the way many processes have been digitized.

More and more states are creating online notarization and signature policies as well.

Talk to an Experienced Real Estate Attorney

A successful real estate transaction is more than mere preparing and signing the documents. Sellers as well as buyers alike may come across any number of hiccups during the process, such as financing, disclosures, dealing with title insurance and property owner association requirements, and findings during the property inspections.

If you are looking to sell or buy real estate, it is wise to speak with a real estate attorney who can ensure your rights are being protected and you know all the necessary details when making important decisions. Contact a real estate lawyer in your local area today.

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