Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it. Every industry and every sector has seen a change in functioning due to this pandemic, including the real estate industry. The process of home buying and selling has drastically changed, not only in the UK but all around the world. Covid-19 has impacted asking prices, selling prices, the way people view homes, the process of moving houses, and so much more. You could speak to estate agents in Buckingham or real estate agents in Leeds, even estate agents in New York or real estate agents in France, and everyone will agree that home buying and selling has changed in 2020. Let’s throw some light on how home buying and selling has changed in 2020.
Buyers and sellers need to follow social distancing norms
Gone are the days when sellers could have open houses with various potential buyers walking in and out of their homes. Now, sellers are asking people to sign a disclosure form to ensure that people entering the house do not have any symptoms of Covid-19. Only a certain number of people are allowed to visit a property, during which time they need to follow social distancing norms, wear masks and sanitise their hands before stepping into the home. Many real estate agents and sellers are asking people to enter the viewing property one at a time.
Virtual viewings are the future
Sellers have almost stopped printing brochures and putting advertisements in newspapers for properties on sale. Instead, real estate agents are encouraging sellers to make home tour videos which can then be sent to potential buyers. Buyers can view potential properties virtually from the comfort of their own homes. Instead of staged photoshoots for online advertisements and the smell of fresh cookies when you walk into an open-house, virtual home tours have become the trend of 2020. Sellers are now focusing more on 3D tours and virtual viewings to showcase their properties.
Open houses are almost nonexistent
The concept of open houses has almost become extinct. Earlier, an estate agent would advertise an open house and various people would show up to see the place. Now, once potential buyers have visited a place online, they ask for a virtual tour of the house. Once they have almost made up their mind to buy the property, they request a visit to the property. Open houses are not so open anymore. Now, there are scheduled visits which are finally done to view the property and sign the deal.
Loans are waiving the need for property inspections
While most loans do not require a property inspection, some loans do. That means an inspector needs to enter the house, inspect it thoroughly and make a detailed report. Since many sellers are worried about the presence of a stranger in their homes, that too for an extended period. So, many banks and lenders have decided that a house inspection is no longer a necessity to procure a loan. Of course, a buyer should hire an inspector to thoroughly inspect the house and look for any red flags before signing the deal.
Worrying about financial uncertainty
Many people have faced wage cuts while some people have even lost their jobs. In these uncertain times, buyers are very wary of making a long-term investment. Since no one knows what the future holds, people are unsure about their financial futures. Buying a new property means monthly instalments to pay off the mortgage, and that is something that has buyers worried. People instead use that money as a rainy day fund.
Buyer expectations have changed
Earlier, buyers might want a modular kitchen or a spacious dining room in their new home. Now, one of the most significant demands is a home office. Many sellers are converting one bedroom or an extra room into a home office since the demand has risen rapidly in the past few months. Buyers are now expecting to see a home office, maybe a garage that can be used as a workstation or a property with an extra room that can be converted into an office. The demand for properties with small gardens or patios has also
increased in recent months.
Overall, the demand and supply for housing in the UK has remained consistent. Some people might be upgrading their homes, some might be looking to invest in the future while some might be moving because of a job change, but the demand for property is still going strong. However, there has been a significant change in the process of buying and selling a home. From virtual viewings to social distancing norms, from the elimination of open houses to the shift in buyer expectations, a lot has certainly changed when it comes to buying and selling homes in 2020.