Virtual tours the new real estate reality during COVID-19
KITCHENER -- The real estate market is still active during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the industry is adjusting its approach to buying and selling properties.
Without the help of open houses or showings, buyers are relying on virtual home tours to help them vet potential homes.
Videographers use high-tech cameras to scan and take videos of homes that have been put up for sale.
“When the scan is complete, the viewer will be able to view the space in 3D and VR walk through the home, notice highlights that we place throughout the home and virtually experience the space without having to physically be here,” said Gary Roberts, videographer for Integrated Marketing.
Since the provincial government prohibited open houses and the Ontario Real Estate Association urged against in-person showings, 3D virtual reality technology is becoming more popular.
“We've had more calls over the past four days then I’ve had over the past three months,” said Roberts.
The technology is being used by real estate agents and contractors to help showcase homes to potential buyers.
“It’s just the safer option right now. Instead of coming to our model home, where, inevitably you have to have some kind of contact with the home itself and then with our sales agent. This way, you're able to stay at home, stay safe,” said Leia Smoudianis, marketing manager for Ironstone Building Company.
While some realtors say many clients are putting buying on hold, those that are not are using virtual showings.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors says they are seeing homes being sold from virtual open houses.
“People are doing that and that’s an interactive way for them to have questions from potential buyers or agents and see the property that way,” said Colleen Koehler, president of Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors.
However, when the viewing is virtual, the purchase agreements are often conditional.
“A lot of people will say it is conditional on them doing a full inspection when they are able to do that,” said Koehler.
The association says virtual reality and 3D technology is helping realtors serve their clients, while keeping everyone safe during the global pandemic