Video listings are the future

Relocating to a distant city or even more distant state can be not only stressful, but also time consuming and financially draining.

What if there was a solution? Enter smartphones. Inman used this example:

John Goetz, a real estate agent in Bloomington, Indiana, recently showed about 10 homes to a couple who were planning to relocate to the area from another city.

The couple, who had taken time off from their busy schedules to visit town for a day, didn’t like any of the listings Goetz showed them. That put the agent in between a rock and a hard place. His clients were picky, had a short timetable and couldn’t easily see the homes in person.

Thank goodness for Google Hangouts, Facetime and the ability to take smartphone videos. Goetz’s clients ultimately made a successful offer on a listing they’d never even set foot in the day after “touring” the home through Goetz’s smartphone.

video listingsWhy video listings are important 

It’s a convenient way for some house hunters to go through prospective properties and their surrounding neighborhoods, providing some with enough confidence in a home’s setting and condition to make offers without ever visiting them.

One startup, Realync, has designed an app specifically to support live video walk-throughs, as well as “virtual open houses” that could deliver live video feeds to dozens of remote buyers.

Unlike other video sharing apps, Realync records all the footage to the cloud so buyers can go back and review it later. Forgetting that awesome listing and not being able to go back and find it is a thing of the past.

During a tour, buyers may view property details, send instant messages to their agents, shoot photos and take notes they can review later. They can also share recorded tours on social media and through email from within the platform.

Agents may use the app on a free-trial basis, after which they must pay as little as $9.99 a month or as much as $89.99, depending on how much they use the app.

How it works its magic

Sherry Arnold, who’s based near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has worked with soldiers who relied solely on listing photos to make offers on homes.

Just imagine putting your trust and hard earned cash into a video listing for a home you won’t set foot in until you buy it?

“It’s such a simple procedure, which is really good for me because I’m not tech-savvy at all, and if it’s complicated, I don’t want to even try it,” said Arnold, an agent with Fayetteville-based ERA Strother Real Estate.

“They (home shoppers) can see everything that is in the surroundings, not just the home itself … the neighborhood, the neighbors, and what’s across the street and things like that,” said Barbato, another ERA Strother Real Estate agent.

Barbato says she’s used FaceTime to help four clients see homes they ended up purchasing without visiting.

Even local buyers are viewing homes through their agents’ smartphones 

“Obviously, seeing a home in person is the very best way to experience a home, but sometimes schedules don’t permit,” said Greg Geilman, an agent at Manhattan Beach, California-based South Bay Residential. “And we are in such a low-inventory and competitive market these days that sometimes we don’t have time to wait a day or two.”

Barbato thinks the day may come when some local buyers actually prefer to get a first peek at homes through their agents’ smart devices, rather than run the risk of wasting time visiting listings that turn out to be bad fits. After all, time is precious stuff.

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