By Michael Edlen | Special to the Palisadian-Post
The pandemic conditions have impacted nearly every aspect of daily living, including most of the practices involved in the sale of real estate.
While many real estate agents are hoping that “things will get back to normal soon,” they undoubtedly will be quite disappointed when that will never happen. We are experiencing a “new normal” in the industry, and it behooves everyone to adjust as best and quickly to the changes as they possibly can.
Arguably the single greatest change has been the adoption of Zoom and a few other online platforms for meeting new clients, discussing real estate alternatives and contract details, etc. This has become the default way of getting together during a time of people staying at home as much as possible, and it is such an efficient method of communicating that it is most unlikely people will cease using it even after the pandemic has subsided.
Since it is somewhat of a cumbersome process to arrange for and conduct in-person tours of a home now, there has been an increase in the use of online ways for a buyer to see potential alternatives. Agents are making use of digital technology to take videos of their listings and then post them on various internet sites.
Others are investing in having 3D photo tours done of their listings and often include floor plans that show the relationships between various areas of the interior. Although it appears that agents have only used these so far on fewer than half of the recent listings in Pacific Palisades, it is likely that the added level of service to the public will justify the continued investment in this technology.
As photos are so critical to the presentation of a home, the use of professional staging is likely to continue growing during and after the pandemic period. Similarly, sellers are apt to have pre-inspections done so they can prepare the home before marketing as well as know more of the things that need to be disclosed to potential buyers.
Understandably, many sellers are concerned about a lot of strangers coming through their homes, especially now during the COVID environment. As a result, an increasing number of people will not allow their agents to show their homes to anyone who has not first provided a proof that they have sufficient funds or loan commitment to purchase it. This may well become the norm after the pandemic has faded away.
One of the most rapid changes that began in March when agents were told they could not be in their office was an accelerated process of digitalization. Many of us had already been gradually converting to online files and information retrieval for a few years.
The pandemic required an urgent transition to 100% online file management. Similarly, electronic document signatures have now become standard in 99% of all transactions, and better online file management and organization has become necessary.
Home buyers have needed to adjust to the changes as well of course. Since open houses may not be held as everyone had been accustomed to, arrangements to see the interior of homes need to be made at least a day in advance. Buyers would also be wise to contact a loan source to obtain a letter of pre-qualification before beginning to look at homes.
Of course, the meaning of “home” has been altered too. Since people have had to learn to adjust to working, educating, exercising, etc. at home, many of these activities are likely to continue being done more at home than they were in the pre-COVID era.
Michael Edlen and his team have provided complimentary counseling to many people each month for 30 years. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-600-7422.
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