You are viewing our site as an Agent, Switch Your View:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default     Back to List

The Importance of Property Information When the Market Is Frantic

February 22 2021

If the market is feeling a little nutty to you, you are not alone. We hate to use the word unprecedented yet again, but in many markets, the conditions are exactly that. According to the National Association of REALTORS, despite all the challenges, 2020 was a record year for US housing activity.

  • Existing-home sales rose in December, with home sales in 2020 reaching their highest level since 2006.
  • Existing-home sales totaled 5.64 million in 2020, up 5.6% from 2019 and the most since before the Great Recession.
  • The median existing home sales price was $309,800, up 12.9% from one year previously, and housing inventory sank to 1.07 million and a 1.9-month supply – both historic lows. (source)

As we are dealing with record low inventory, record low interest rates, rising COVID cases, and a looming spring market, it's clear there are no shortage of challenges for Realtors right now.

On top of that, U.S. Realtors are seeing astronomical numbers of offers being placed sight unseen — over 60% buyers in 2020 say they made a bid on a home without seeing it in person first, according to Redfin. And December showing activity jumped 63.5% nationwide, year-over-year, the eighth consecutive month to see an increase over 2019, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index.

It's clear that buyers are more likely now than ever before to do their research online prior to viewing a property. This means that virtual showing options are no longer a perk — they are a necessity. It also means that in times like this, accurate and complete property information becomes more important than ever.

People are living differently

Across the country, we are seeing people's habits change. Work from home and remote work is a trend that may shape our lives for years to come. As buyers consider new living spaces, they are taking this into account. Space planning has become not just about "Where will I put my furniture?" but also about how to incorporate living, working, and schooling spaces into a home. (We've even heard of buyers looking for "Zoom rooms" where they can take calls and conduct virtual meetings!) Accurate and interactive floor plans are becoming a critical marketing tool for forward-thinking Realtors.

Accuracy matters

It's simply not good enough anymore for a Realtor to list a home without accurate measurements and square footage. Gone are the days when an agent could simply note "to be verified by buyer" in the comments of a listing. Buyers are becoming savvy enough to demand virtual 3D tours, virtual showings, and accurate measurements in advance of a showing. These technology amenities can now mean the difference between a showing or a pass, even when inventory is low.

One-stop shopping

Google Analytics tell us that if someone doesn't find what they need on a website, they are unlikely to return to that site. The same is true on our listings. If a buyer is searching for a home and doesn't see great photos, a video or virtual tour, or an interactive experience, they are unlikely to ever click on that listing again. Having all of these marketing features built into a single platform on your listings ensures that buyers are going to spend more time there, and they are going to come back.

Your reputation is on the line

When a market is frantic, inventory is low, and buyers are plenty, some Realtors assume they can skip steps when it comes to property information. After all, the house will likely sell anyway, right? But great agents know that accuracy and marketing matters even in a seller's market. Creating an emotional pull for buyers always puts your sellers in a better position, and usually ends up in a better sale price. Not to mention that fact that you want those sellers to become a referral source for years to come. And let's face it – people talk. Your extra efforts will not go unnoticed.

One thing is for sure – this is our new normal. Forecast reports from NAR suggest real estate activity will remain healthy through 2021, with prices either continuing to climb or remaining steady. There is no doubt that agents who pay attention to these trends and maximize their marketing will continue to see success.