The new normal: what if shoppers no longer need to hold hands?

“The New Normal” is a multi-story Inman series that explores what returns to normal after the pandemic wears off and what will never be the same again. Come back tomorrow to see a new installment and join us June 15-17 when we take the live conversation on Inman Connect.

Pre-pandemic ways of doing business have largely fallen by the wayside, and it’s a good thing for the industry as a whole.

Buyers They are abandoning what used to be the norm: multiple visits, seeing many houses in person before bidding, taking their time deciding, asking for a lot of repairs, and leaning on their agents for everything. Basically we are training buyers on how the process works, but much more efficiently.

Better technology, fewer exhibits and open houses, more qualified and prepared buyers all lend for a faster and less demanding transaction, which means that agents could potentially do more business in less time.

In the new normal, transactions will continue to advance rapidly and buyers will do most of the groundwork in finding a home, resulting in less back and forth and faster decision making.

Limited screenings

During the pandemic, houses were shown mainly for a day or a limited time for security reasons. When new ads appear on the market, there may only be a day or two maximum for potential buyers to see them before the expiration date of the offers.

Sellers seek to minimize interruptions and create urgency by having a limited submission window and a deadline by which bids must be received.

This method generates multiple offers in a short period of time, allowing sellers to select the offer that best suits their situation.

This short period of time means that buyers only have one chance to see it, either virtually or in person. Appointment hours may also be limited. Buyers can only have a 15-30 minute submission window.

Limited show times are fast becoming the norm rather than the exception.

No more fiddling with the tape measure, as buyers or their agents will need to use the measurement app on their phone during the 15 minutes allotted for your exhibit.

Quicker decisions

In pre-pandemic times, buyer agents had the burden of making sure they were pre-approved for a home loan and verifying their proof of funds.

But during the pandemic, all that changed. Due to health and safety concerns, the listing agents required documentation to make sure the buyer was truly qualified and a “real buyer” just to schedule the show appointment.

Technology has allowed agents to quickly put together an offer using electronic signature programs and document management and organization software.

Electronic signatures allow buyers to sign offer forms and return them to their agent in a matter of minutes. In today’s ultra-competitive market, minutes are important as agents have a very short time to submit an offer. The ability to accept an offer and finalize a binding contract quickly also contributes to the fast time-to-market mentioned above.

And alone three obstacles stand in our way when it comes to domestic digital transactions.

Less back and forth

If a buyer is interested in chasing new buildsBuilders often sell lots before developing the land due to construction delays. And they are limited in the number of lots they can sell each month.

Builders have spent a lot of time updating their websites so that buyers can access solid information about an online community and can refer to interactive site maps to see which lots are actually available and which ones have been sold.

Doing this preliminary work ahead of time will allow the buyer to be ready to go when the builder contacts them to give them an opportunity to lock themselves in a lot.

The builders that produce this information in the interface cut down on a lot of back-and-forth communication about things that buyers can easily look up online. Gone are the days when buyers roamed a sales model in hopes of buying a new home whenever they wanted.

And if buyers are moving from afar, the only option is to hold a virtual meeting where the builder can share site maps, floor plans, and discuss various design options to guide the client through an idea. of the finishes and prices.

More demand, less fussy

Low inventory, coupled with the speed of making a transaction, is driving home sales as is. Demand from buyers is simply too high for sellers to consider the home inspection repair lists they used to have before the pandemic.

More and more buyers are writing bids with no intention of requesting repairs unless something of a significant or structural nature comes up.

Post-closing extras

Fast time-to-market means sellers need more time to pack, vacate, and secure another place to live beyond the closing date.

Buyers are increasingly giving sellers the ability to stay in their homes after closing, often at no cost for a predetermined period of time.

In fact, a buyer’s ability to offer a post-closing occupancy on favorable terms to a seller can often make or break a deal for some sellers.

Elective relocations

With many buyers getting the green light to continue working remotely and some leaving the workforce to retire or pursue other interests, elective relocations are driving a large volume of moves across the country.

Given the fast pace of many real estate markets, scheduling a viewing to match the homes available to view is next to impossible. Introduce virtual projections as a solution.

After quickly becoming the new normal last year, virtual projections show no signs of slowing down.

With various video calling methods, agents can simply connect with their buyers on video or capture properties and neighborhoods on their cell phones to send to their buyers, no matter where they are.

Buyers no longer have to worry about rearranging their lives to travel and see a home that is likely to sell when they arrive.

Virtual projections allow agents to quickly jump into action the moment a potential fit appears on the market for their buyers, increasing the chances that your buyers will block successfully. a winning bid.

Tasks from afar

Technology has not only made buying a home virtually possible, but it has also made it much easier to calculate almost everything else about the home that way.

Many MLSs have linked up with floor plan creation apps that allow agents to create home floor plans directly from their phones. The power of Google Earth and Street View can go a long way when a buyer is looking from afar.

Many vendors, such as roofing companies, can quickly provide a roof quote based on aerial imagery and basic information available online about the home.

The ability to share videos and photos with multiple contractors and dealers can help facilitate estimates on repair and improvement work to give buyers and sellers a general idea of ​​expected costs.

Time-saving customer meetings

The simple act of speaking on the phone with a buyer or seller now seems so elegant, and thanks to a variety of virtual meeting platforms, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, to name a few, technology takes us wherever the customers are.

Virtual meetings They have been a great way to get face-to-face and build rapport, even though buyers or sellers may be thousands of miles away.

Video conferencing allows agents to consult with buyers or make a list of presentations by harnessing the power of their programs on their laptops.

You no longer have to hand out MLS sheets to review like builds with a seller when you can interactively present and review each property online with photos and videos while providing information on how it was listed or why it was sold.

Switching to a video call with buyers on their phone has allowed agents to take virtual tours much more efficiently when needed, no longer need to try to coordinate in-person meetings with travel time and everything else in mind.

Now granted, the ability to meet virtually doesn’t necessarily replace in-person meetings, but it does present another avenue in our time-challenged and multitasking society as life returns to its peak.

As life readjusts to a new normal, the housing market and the way we do business have accelerated in a way that perhaps never goes back to pre-pandemic times, especially when it comes to buying homes and how buyers view the real estate transaction.

Although face-to-face business will still take place, it is not the only option, and the speed at which transactions take place can render many of the traditional activities of the past obsolete.

Ameer face is an associate broker and global luxury agent for Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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