Amazon tells us that 80% of people living in this country shop and buy online without ever “seeing” what it is they’re buying. Redfin tells us that 20% of its buyers submit offers on houses online without ever having seen the house they’re buying. And realtor.com tells us that, in its survey of 45 New York City based agents over the last 6 months, 50% of their buyers were purchasing homes sight unseen.
How is it possible to make one of, if not the largest purchases of a lifetime sight unseen? Technology. Beyond the tech, real estate agents need to have in-depth websites, strong, clear web photos, be information/organizational/tech savvy and comfortable in front of a camera. More on that later.
Primary homebuyers who have already purchased their first homes are very comfortable buying sight unseen. They tend to be more relaxed about the home buying process since they’ve done it before. They tend to be location driven…close to their child’s school, close to their public transit, walking distance to their job… rather than specific home driven.
Out-of-towners looking for primary homes know that, due to stiff competition and low inventories, if they don’t act fast, the house they saw and liked online will be gone. Leslie Turner, a broker in Charleston, SC, said, “By the time you get on a plane to go see it, it’s be gone.” (Average DOM in Charleston in 4/18 was 36, 6 days fewer than in 4/17. The median DOM in Denver in 6/18 was 6. The hottest markets contract within 24 hours.)
Multigenerational purchasers who are helping their children or grandchildren buy a home are very comfortable buying sight unseen. These homebuyers tend to be well traveled, well educated and enthusiastic about new technology. And these homebuyers tend to also be location driven. As long as the home is near their (grand) child’s work and/or college/university, safe and in good working condition (doesn’t have to be in perfect condition), they’re fine buying sight unseen.
Second homebuyers may not have an immediate, urgent need to purchase. They have the luxury of time to shop around locations and houses until they find something they like. As long as they get the necessary information to make a final decision, these homebuyers are very comfortable buying sight unseen.
Out-of-towners looking for investment properties are profit driven. They tend to buy based upon average rents, price-per-square-footage comparisons or when it’s new construction, based upon renderings or floor plans. This group of buyers often prefers to buy sight unsee.
Now…back to the tech savvy and being comfortable in front of a camera parts. Because location is crucial, agents need to help their clients use apps such as Google Maps, Waze, Google Street View, etc. for a sense of the neighborhood. And agents need to use FaceTime.
FaceTime enables you the agent to bring the home to the customer. FaceTime saves time and money for travel while making the viewing/touring process personal. Face Time
- -enables you the agent to schedule viewings/tours before the sales gallery opens so that everyone’s time is maximized.
- enables you the agent to use viewings/tours during traditionally low sales and visitation periods.
- enables you the agent to create and engender effective relationships with clients you may never meet face-to-face.
About the only thing FaceTime can’t capture is odor so make sure to be forthcoming with your clients about any odor issues. You don’t wan them to be surprised when they finally see what they’ve bought. Become expert with FaceTime…it will help you develop your sight unseen buyers across the country and internationally.