Technology has changed the way many buyers shop for homes during the pandemic. As social distancing measures remain in place, the in-person open house has been put on hold in many markets. That has prompted some real estate professionals to believe open houses may become a thing of the past post-pandemic, too.
Forbes Real Estate Council recently asked 14 real estate execs whether they believe in-person open houses will fade in favor of more digital and virtual options to show homes in the future. However, the real estate execs were still mostly bullish on open houses for now and for the future.
“Open houses are not dead, but they are becoming safer than ever,” Kevin Hawkins, WAV Group Inc., told Forbes.com. “While agents use of live and recorded video technology has taken a huge leap forward, for some sellers, a safe open house (with masks required and visitors limited) is still the preferred method as they don’t want two dozen separate buyer visits.”
Real estate pro Mike Shapiro says open houses can help humanize house shopping. “Open houses are valuable, but during the pandemic, they are not the safest thing to do,” Shapiro says. “I do believe both are important during normal times. However, when not available, an agent should become the person that would be looking at the home and living there. They have to become the buyer and transmit the emotions as housing is very emotional. It needs to be humanized, not marketed.”
Agents say open houses help provide more exposure for a home and help the consumers view more homes. It also serves as a low-cost solution for agents in getting more people to view a home and a way to gauge how much interest there is in it.
While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, many real estate pros are relying on virtual open houses, virtual tours, and video walkthroughs to show buyers spaces safely from a distance. But agents believe in-person open house tours will return.
“Open houses are still relevant, regardless of how good videos, VR and 360-degree photography get,” Chris Ryan, Beyond Properties Group with eXp Realty, told Forbes.com. “Nothing beats walking through the home or property. These technologies will always leave out the noise you might hear from a busy road or the lack of sun the property gets. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but smell, noise, and how the property feels once you walk through it is irreplaceable.”