From RISMedia Staff

By necessity, due to the coronavirus pandemic, some homebuyers have been purchasing homes sight-unseen. But is this a trend that’s here to stay? According to a new Zillow® survey, 36 percent of Americans say they are more likely to try purchasing a home completely online during the pandemic, while 30 percent say they would do the same even after outbreak ends.

“We didn’t feel safe getting on a plane so having these digital tools on Zillow allowed us to narrow down our search and find the right home for us and our 8-year-old son,” said Jarrod Schwartz, a sales manager, in the report. “After our real estate agent provided a video tour, we had the confidence to make an offer.”

Sellers are feeling the same way. According to Zillow, 43 percent would try to sell their home entirely online during the pandemic, while 33 percent would still do so after the outbreak ends.

And while homebuyers still want to “walk through” the property in some way, according to the survey, one in three consumers would prefer a virtual or video tour over an in-person tour after the outbreak ends.

Agents predict this is a trend that’s here to stay. Of the Zillow Premier Agents who were surveyed, 31 percent anticipate sight-unseen purchasing will stay even once the outbreak is over. During the outbreak, 64 percent have reported fewer in-person showings.

“The home shopping tradition of loading the family into the minivan and touring open houses all weekend may be over,” said Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. “Now shoppers are realizing they can use virtual tours to either skip in-person shopping, or at least to winnow down their options and visit fewer homes in person, making it easier and less time-consuming to find their next home. That speed advantage can give buyers a leg up in today’s fast-moving market. ”