The Growing Trend of Selling Sight-Unseen
We all know how hot the market has been for sellers recently, and most realtors are probably aware of the growing trend of buyers making an offer without even viewing the property. I learned this first-hand after a property I photographed in Raymore went under contract within ONE HOUR of being listed!
According to Redfin, ONE in THREE buyers made an offer on a home before viewing it in person in 2017! "That’s up from 19 percent last year and from 21 percent two years ago. Millennials were even more likely to have made an offer sight-unseen, with 41 percent saying they had done so, compared with 30 percent of Gen-Xers and 12 percent of Baby Boomers."
It's no wonder this trend is occurring, with things like Pinterest, HGTV, Instagram and Houzzconsumers have an endless feed of buying and designing trends for every aspect of their lives. Especially when it comes to millennials, quality photography matters, and high quality real estate photography is now available everywhere (as long as you choose the right photographer).
There is also of course, the out of town buyer, who is more likely to make an unseen offer, as it may be their only option. The realtor then becomes their executor, and must be able to deliver a service which can find the right property on visuals alone.
One option available is Google Street View. Ideally, someone could cruise down the street and check out the neighborhood. But as we all know, it's just a camera on top of a car, and what you may be looking for may be obstructed or outdated like I discovered when trying to preview a property in Overland Park last week.
... but at the very least Google Earth and Google street view is fun. It gives a fairly good sense of place, and when we can't drive or bike down the road, it is still the next best thing.
Using Facetime / Skype / Facebook to walk Buyers through a Home
The Winning Agent posts about the ever increasing influence social media and live videos have on the real estate market and lists four ways realtors are using it to their advantage. By creating "Live Q&A Sessions, 'Exclusive' Home Tours, Social Check-Ins and Home Buyer Tutorials" realtors are able to reach a larger audience in modern home shopping style. Check out one example they give of Melissa Steele in San Diego doing a tour through Facebook Live here.
With anything, there are certain risks to be aware of such as unseen home maintenance and miscommunication between the realtor and the buyer, so it is important that the buyer does their research and is clear in what they are looking for.
Starting with the right materials
Whether you're working with someone from out of state or around the corner, unseen sales cannot happen without beginning with a great marketing campaign:
Professional, high quality photography (not DIY)
Staging and preparing a home properly
Great posts to social media platforms
For more, check out the list of real estate photography and marketing experts listed here at BestRealEstatePhotographers.com.