Whaťs In & Whaťs Out in Real Estate Today in 2020

What's in and what's out in real estate today in 2020

In our upside-down world, pack-’em-in open houses and crowded closing tables have quickly become as dated as shag carpet. Here’s what real estate buyers and sellers should expect at a time when social distancing is golden. (Masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, hand washing, and ventilation are de rigueur for any interpersonal activities on this list.)

What's In & What's Out in Real Estate Today overview

Guiding sellers room by room—via video app—on what to move, store, or buy Stagers doing the heavy lifting
Staging vacant homes (using computer software or real furniture) Reusing furniture and accessories without deep cleaning
Making the home feel bigger, carving out home office space, emphasizing flexible space, refreshing outdoor spaces Open plans without flexible space or privacy options
3D tours, and lots and lots of photos Not enough photos
Super-serious buyers ready to pull the trigger Buyers who want to see dozens of homes
Taking buyers on a live tour of a home via smartphone, tablet, Facebook Live, or even drone In-person visits
Sanitizing Spot cleaning
By-appointment showings Open houses
Leaving children at home Bringing children along
Already opened cabinets, closets, doors, and windows Touching stuff
Escorting buyers (6 feet apart, of course) Wandering
No-touch, in-person appraisals; drive-by, desktop appraisals (lender dependent) Appraisals with the sellers' family present
Three or fewer people including inspector or buyer participating by video app More than three people; children
Already opened cabinets, drawers, closets, doors; lights on Touching stuff
Two or fewer buyers; or agent conducting via video app Group walkthrough
No-touch closings (curbside, through car windows, outside buyer’s house, etc.) In-person conference room closings
Electronic signing; bringing your own pen Shared pens
Key transfer via lockbox such as SentriLock In-person key handoff
Congratulatory thumbs up Hugs and handshakes
Virtual walkthrough for estimate In-person estimate
Packing your own stuff Hiring packers
Limiting the number of people on both ends of the move Lots of people milling around
Disinfecting unpacked items Placing items in your home without a wipe down

Source: Leanne Potts and Christina Hoffmann

Selling From Home: Mixed Reviews

Working virtually may make the housekeeping aspects of running your business more convenient, but connecting with clients remotely isn’t always a smooth experience. Real estate professionals weigh in on the best and worst parts of working from home.


Efficiency of virtual meetings. Extra time for buyers to get their finances in order. Recorded online trainings. More quality time with partner, children, and pets. More casual wardrobe.


Lack of human connection. Difficulty assessing seller’s home virtually. Missed opportunities to educate clients while driving around on neighborhood tours. More limited prospecting and networking. Clients expecting you to be available at all times.

3 Lessons From Selling New Homes ‘Sight Unseen'

New-construction buyers are often accustomed to entering into a sales contract without setting foot in a home. New-home sales pros rely on selling a vision and legal assurances in the absence of physical tours. During the pandemic, reports of sightunseen offers for existing homes have been rising. While most clients will still prefer to physically see a home before buying it, they’re also likely to vet more homes online.

These tips gleaned from the new-home construction world, offered by Realty One Group’s Chief Learning Officer, Mark Pessin, may help all clients feel more comfortable about remote home shopping.

  1. Create a floor plan.

    A floor plan can be a useful supplement to a virtual tour because it helps buyers visualize the flow and layout of a space. It can provide useful dimensions of rooms, too. Phototica.com offers Schematic Floor Plans, for example, to help you generate 2D floor plans of spaces, including measurements and labels for each room.

  2. Offer a 3D walkthrough.

    Virtual tours can help buyers feel like they’ve walked around a space without ever going inside. The new-home market uses 3D walkthrough tools to allow buyers to study model homes. You can use that same technology for tours of existing homes. There’s a wide ranges of cameras and solutions today for creating 3D tours and dollhouse views of a home, allowing buyers to click throughlooking up and down, side to side, and inside rooms and even closets to get a feel for a space remotely. “It can give you a sense of movement inside a home and you’ll feel like you walked through the home,” Pessin says.

  3. Gather feedback in real time.

    Real estate pros working with new-home customers know how carefully they must take in all their feedback when working with clients who can’t physically tour homes. That’s why Pessin suggests agents invite buyers to view properties together online. Jump on a Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or other videoconference call and share your screen, showing the full range of property features and details as you walk clients through them. “Even if you’re not physically together in the same room, you can still get that instant feedback, which is valuable for seeing what they like and don’t like,” Pessin says. “It’s important to get that in-the- moment emotional response to a property because it can really help [narrow] the search for a desirable property.”

Sources: Rocky Balsamo, Weidel Real Estate, Princeton, N. J.; Catarina Farina, Baird & Warner, Chicago; Mabél Guzmán, ABR, CIPS, Coldwell Banker, Chicago;, Carol Kaufman, ABR, GRI, eXp Realty, Firth, Neb.; Valesa Linnean, CRS, Keller Williams Realty, Anchorage, Alaska; Melanie MacDonald, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Jacksonville, N.C.; Dawn McNary, Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®, Rockwall, Texas; Emmary Simpson, ABR, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Steinborn & Associates, Las Cruces, N.M.