In the award-winning academy film LadyBird, set in Sacramento, CA, a mother-daughter duo who verbally spar with one another throughout the movie suddenly stop their bickering when they decide to indulge in their favorite weekend activity together — going to open houses. It seems now that the rest of the country is feeling the same, as indicated in a new survey by the National Association of Realtors.
The survey suggests potential home buyers are eager to resume visiting open houses after a long 4-month shutdown. A majority of people (65%) who attended an open house within the last year would do so now without hesitation, according to the report.
“The real estate industry – and our country – has endured some very challenging times for several months, but we’re seeing signs of progress and we are earnestly hoping the worst is behind us,” said NAR’s president, Vince Malta, who goes on to say: “While we celebrate homeownership month, we embrace today’s version of homeownership and the unique paths homeowners take to realize their dream. For prospective buyers, the desire to own a home remains strong, and the guidance, expertise, and professionalism Realtors provide is more important now than ever.”
According to Forbes writer Brenda Richardson, the survey found that nearly half of buyers (47%) and sellers (53%) said that during the current pandemic, relying upon a real estate professional when searching for or selling a home is much more important than before. “A majority of buyers (54%) and sellers (62%) said that particularly during the pandemic, a real estate agent’s guidance is especially valued. In addition, 59% of buyers and 58% of sellers said buying and selling real estate is an essential service,” she reports.
Richardson also says that despite the rise of virus-fighting measures such as virtual home tours to help keep buyers and sellers safe, about half of buyers surveyed said an agent can help buyers glean more valuable information from online listings than buyers could uncover on their own, saving buyers the time and stress of weeding through online listings.
Of course, whether buyers will take that Sunday drive to an open house will also depend on their comfort levels, and Richardson offers some key actions real estate agents can take as they continue to navigate their response to the pandemic: (1) Actively help buyers and sellers get more out of online listings (2) Pair virtual tours with written information about home improvements (3) Be sure to include a tour of the neighborhood with the house tour (4) Be prepared to limit the number of visitors at one time, and (5) Stock up on sanitizers and wipes. They are likely permanent fixtures in open houses for a good, long while.