Virtual Bests In-Person Visits

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Facing a super-fast housing market, buyers skip open houses and in-person visits in order to get a jump on the competition

Sign for an open house

Photo: Max Pixel

July 27, 2017

Current housing market conditions, along with new technology, are making people more comfortable with buying a home virtually.

A recent Redfin survey found that 33 percent of respondents who bought a house within the last year did so without making an in-person visit, up from 19 percent a year ago. Millennials led the charge. Some 41 percent skipped an in-person visit, compared with 30 percent of Gen Xers and 12 percent of Baby Boomers. The survey used responses from 3,350 U.S. residents across 11 metro areas.

Buyers aren’t skipping visits because of laziness. Rather, they need to act quicker than ever before because of the nation’s inventory shortage. The typical home went under contract in just 37 days in May, the shortest time ever recorded and seven days faster than a year ago, according to Redfin data.

Plus, buyers can now get a good sense of their prospective homes via a screen, with real estate agencies beginning to dabble in 3-D photography and virtual reality to create an accurate impression of the look and feel of a home.

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