Home Shoppers Moving Toward Buying Sight-Unseen, Selling Virtually

Home buyers and sellers are growing more comfortable making the purchase or sale of their biggest financial asset entirely online, reported Zillow, Seattle.

“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.”

Tucker said that speed advantage can give buyers “a leg up in today’s fast-moving market.”

Digital tools widely adopted during the coronavirus pandemic give people greater ability and confidence to buy or sell a home online. A new Zillow survey said consumer demand will likely keep those tools in place and lead to more online real estate transactions in the future.

Zillow found more than one-third of Americans say they are more likely to try to buy a home entirely online during the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly one-third say they would do the same after the current outbreak ends. 

Even more Americans appear to be getting comfortable with the idea of selling a home virtually. During the pandemic, 43 percent say they are more likely to try to sell a home entirely online. When the current outbreak ends, 33 percent anticipate they would still be more likely to try and sell a home entirely online. 

Most people still want to tour a home in person before committing their down payment, Zillow noted. But when asked to choose between taking an in-person or a virtual tour after the current outbreak has ended, one out of three say they would choose the virtual or video tour–a meaningful departure from traditional shopping behavior.