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Coronavirus Has Some Buyers Purchasing Homes Without Setting Foot Inside Them

According to the Wall Street Journal, more and more people are willing to purchase homes sight unseen. This is incredibly risky, yet, during this time and these circumstances it is no wonder why so many are shifting to purchase real estate quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Even in our market out here in the Coachella Valley, vacationers who would normally go through vacation rentals are jumping to purchase homes. With vacation rentals closed, those who are able to purchase homes are doing it simply to be able to “stay-at-home” in a place that isn’t in a city or their permanent residence.

In March, a couple purchased a home for $1.55 million on the second fairway at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Fla. Lester and Janet Knispel never even set foot in their home until after closing. According to WSJ, the Knipsel’s didn’t want to risk flying to Florida during the pandemic. “I never thought I’d buy something like this, sight unseen,” said Mr. Knispel, a celebrity business manager. But thanks to “a million pictures” and videos sent by their real-estate agent, Tiffany Pantozzi of Compass, “I feel like we know the house inside and out.”

It’s no surprise that we are starting to see a similar trend here in the Desert.

Some buyers are asking friends who are in the area to walk through homes for them, sifting through hundreds of photos, watch videos of walkthroughs and 3D tours.

There is definitely an urgency about this process that has many people willing to take the leap and purchase their home in this way.

Last year, only 3.5% of buyers in the U.S. purchased a home without viewing it, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. But last month, a survey of NAR members found that 31% of agents who worked with buyers the week of April 23 had at least one purchaser put in a contract without physically seeing the home.

Industry experts predict the trend will have staying power even after the crisis, now that more agents and buyers have embraced the technology required to conduct sales virtually.

Many agents are using all the tools available to them…including virtual reality goggles!

The buyer, who lives in San Francisco, was unable to travel to Miami due to the pandemic, and had never visited the site. Despite this pause in physical movement, the WSJ reports that the buyer was ecstatic! Explaining that, “With those goggles, it feels like he’s walking into the building.”

However, there are some significant hiccups that may prove difficult for homebuyers.

Buying a home sight-unseen isn’t recommended for first-time buyers, agents said; the process goes much more smoothly if the purchasers, like the Knispels, are experienced home buyers. It also helps if the buyers are already familiar with the neighborhood they are purchasing in.

We, Desert Cities Home, have worked with several clients in the last few months that don’t quite know which neighborhood they want to live in, and conducting virtual showings becomes much harder…but it doesn’t mean we aren’t trying.

We have always had these tools to go virtual, but many agents just weren’t using them. But now we’ve had more adoption of technology in the last three weeks than we’ve had in three years!

This is an amazing leap!!!

If you are interested in more of our Technology and Virtual Components in Real Estate today, Check out our links here! These are just a few examples of what we are using here in the Coachella Valley.

 Technology and Virtual Components

Matterport 3D Virtual Tours

Video Walkthrough

Zoom, Facetime Meetings

Virtual Reality Goggles & Marco Polo for Virtual Home Walk-throughs

Would you consider buying a home from a virtual tour without touring the home in person?

WSJ Article: