COVID-19 and Real Estate Investing – Whether it is showing off a property or signing contracts, there is no doubt that real estate is a face-to-face business. Yet, as COVID-19 forces people to limit their social interactions, realtors are reinventing the way they do business.
Using the telephone and apps like FaceTime, real estate agents can talk to clients and potential buyers without having to meet them in person. But can the real estate market survive exclusively online? Well, thanks to the industry’s adaptability and federal stimulus packages, the real estate market is keeping afloat, though the changes it’s experiencing are likely to be permanent.
Social distancing is speeding up digital integration with the real estate industry
For decades, realtors have stuck to their old-fashioned ways of doing business. But now that authorities are restricting social contacts, more and more agents are realizing that doing walkthroughs and signing contracts in-person isn’t essential to closing a deal.
Virtual showings are now so important that in a 2018 report by Zillow Group one-third of home buyers admitted relying on virtual tours when taking a decision. Using high-definition cameras, realtors can record every corner of a house and let prospective clients look at it without the need to schedule an appointment.
When it comes to closing a deal, though, all the paperwork involved can be handled through emails. After logging into an eClosing provider account, both realtors and clients can see each other while they seal the deal. And while the legality of eClosing varies from one state to another, many predict that the COVID-19 pandemic will speed up its nationwide acceptance.
Record-low interest rates are empowering potential buyers
On March 15, the federal government slashed its interest rates to almost zero. The rate, which represents a historic low, gives buyers an unequaled opportunity to acquire a new property.
Despite a radical drop in physical walkthroughs, the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t slowed down the real estate market. In fact, in many places across the US, the prices for properties are growing thanks to the low interest rates. And with so much money available, it seems like everybody should be rushing to buy.
However, even with the low interest rates, the market’s volatility, memories of the Great Recession of 2007, and fears about the future mean these conditions probably won’t last forever. And that’s why many buyers are still stuck in a wait-and-see attitude and hoping for the best.
COVID-19 is forcing the real estate industry to change for the better
What’s most impressive about the digitalization of real estate is that these changes are here to stay. Although the pace of public acceptance may seem slow at first, most people will find the convenience brought by digitalization too hard to resist.
Physical visits and long closings that require customers to sign hundreds of pages will become a thing of the past as technology streamlines the way realtors do business. And thanks to interactive online retail platforms, potential customers will be able to investigate everything they need to know about property regardless of what state they’re in.
While coronavirus has disrupted the way realtors work, it’s also pushing the market to adopt new technologies and business strategies. So, although the present conditions are still far from ideal, real estate agents can look to an exciting future once the pandemic is over.
COVID-19 is here to stay!