According to a recent Redfin survey report, almost half of American homebuyers have placed official bids on houses without first seeing the properties in-person. With housing supply remaining tight and demand intensifying by the day, the competition in the housing market is really heating up, right along with the summer temperatures.
In the face of such fierce competition, homebuyers are being forced to make compromises and move fast, leading more would-be buyers to bid on homes sight-unseen. In fact, Redfin reports that the 45% that its agents posted is a record-high (since 2015) for clients placing bids without first ever seeing the homes they are hoping to purchase.
This shows a dramatic increases when compared to this same period just last year, which was only 28%. Five years ago, in July of 2015, the statistic was only at 20%.
Experts attribute this increase to the current pandemic, as potential homebuyers are staying away from in-person viewings due to health concerns from contact. Also mentioned as likely factors for the uptick included accelerating migration trends, as well as the aforementioned increased competition caused by the current housing shortage.
Also according to experts, including Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather, sight-unseen offers are predicted to keep rising well into summer and beyond. Fairweather voiced his specific expectations for the coming months: ”I predict that by the end of the 2020 homebuying season, the majority of homebuyers will have made a sight-unseen offer. The pandemic has changed the way many people view homes, and on top of that, the market is highly competitive. If you aren't using this strategy, another buyer who is could beat you to the punch.”
With so many eschewing visiting properties in person, Redfin and other real estate agents have been forced to get creative when it comes to making their selling process more remote-friendly. For example, many have utilized the power of modern technology to offer clients virtual 3D walkthroughs. Redfin offers this option via its website, and the company reports that such viewings have increased by an incredible 243% since February alone.