Video tours and conferencing increasingly substitute in-person interactions for buyers, sellers and their agents
For home hunters seeking the perfect property today, the next best thing to being there is simply clicking play.
The latest social video tools allow buyers, sellers and their agents to tour a home remotely, teleconference on a desired property and scout a neighborhood.
“Video has become more prominent [in real estate transactions] because people are very visual today. They want to get a sense of things in no more than 60 seconds,” says Adam Shamus, sales associate with Keller Williams Realty, Newton, Mass. “Video is much more engaging, powerful and straightforward than photographs or data. Consumers want to just click and watch, and video personalizes real estate and relationships.”
According to a recent home shopper survey by Google and Compete, home shoppers use videos to find out more about a specific community (86 percent); tour the inside of a home (70 percent); compare features across multiple companies (44 percent) and understand specific features (38 percent).
Katie McCartney, real estate consultant with Cam Taylor Realtors in Worthington, Ohio, says she often uses Google Hangouts (video conferencing) to interact with buyers in real time about price bids and comparative market analyses.
“It helps me communicate with clients who are out of town or need to depart early,” McCartney says. “Social video helps facilitate a one-on-one experience even when people are unable to do so physically.”
With the housing market picking up speed, “sometimes buyers need to make offers on homes sight unseen, and having the ability to view the home in a video on YouTube or Facebook makes it easier to sign on the dotted line,” says Christine Espinoza, agent with HomeSmart Elite Group in Phoenix, who has already sold two properties this year for buyers who watched videos of their chosen homes because they were unable to see them in person.
Espinoza says buyers and sellers should ask their agents about an increasing array of social media tools available today that can help them find and promote homes, including Vine, Instagram, Vimeo and Pinterest.