Real Estate Tip of the Week: Virtual Home Tours

Although states are opening in phases, homebuyers and sellers still might be more comfortable completing parts of their home journey through digital means.

If you’re a homebuyer getting ready to take a virtual tour with your real estate agent, then it’s best that you prepare what you’d like to see and/or hear. Technology has helped the real estate world immensely during COVID-19, but sometimes you miss things that you wouldn’t have if you were there in person – like how a home smells or if there is a lot of traffic in the area.

So what can you do to cover your bases?

Check out our tips here:

Panorama

Before your agent enters the home, have them give you a wide shot of the house – be sure they you’re able to view all corners of the home and yard.

Neighborhood Shot

It’s important that you also like the surrounding area that your home is in! Ask your agent to show you the space surrounding your home. This way, you can see the spacing between homes, and maybe even get a glimpse as to how the neighborhood feel is.

Outside Glimpses

Since you’re not there in person, it’s best that you see all of the features of the home as close as you can. If your home has sprinklers, a fence, a light post, or a shed, be sure that your agent is giving you a good view of them. Have your agent show the driveway – how steep is it? Do you have enough space in the driveway for any extra cars you might have if guests stop by?

Extra Features

If your home has a pool, or playground equipment, have your agent give you an up-close look. How are the pool’s filters? Is the playground equipment rusty?

Listen

At any point in time that your agent is outside, ask them if you could just listen for a moment. Are there many planes flying by? Cars zooming down the street? These are things to consider before moving into a new home – and even when you try to resell it!

While viewing a home digitally doesn’t compare to seeing a home in person, there are still things you can prepare for so you have a better understanding of the home and neighborhood’s atmosphere.

For more real estate tips and tricks, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

How Will the Home Change After COVID?

With more and more people working from home, and college students returning to their parent’s homes to participate in online schooling, and couples or roommates having to maneuver between each other’s zoom meetings – are open floor plans going to be a thing of the past?

Open spaces (the large space that usually combines the family room, dining room, and kitchen), might not seem super ideal when a large majority of people are at home at once trying to accomplish different things.

Some experts are wondering whether homes will move towards a traditional style – where rooms are more separated and have “designations.” Another good reason housing might move back to this style is for economic reasons – HVAC experts claim that open floor spaces take more time to heat or cool, which results in higher bills.

Others have a harder time imagining the open floor plan disappearing. Michael Ackerman, of Coldwell Banker in Seattle, believes that “people won’t go back to a more formal design after getting a taste of natural light and the flow of a great room. [Instead] people are setting up workspaces in their garages, in their spare bedrooms, wherever they find space.”

What do you think? Will open space formats be a pre-covid luxury? Sound off in the comments below!

For more real estate tips and news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

The Need for Real Estate Agents Rise

Potential homebuyers, pre-covid, might have debated whether or not to use a real estate agent – but it looks like many home seekers are more determined to have an agent by their side.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a new survey that found nearly 47% of home shoppers felt that a real estate agent was more vital than before the pandemic. The main reason?

Peace of mind.

A real estate agent helps guide, explain, and present homes you might not have seen otherwise.

54% of buyers and 62% of sellers agreed that because of the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings, the extra help from a real estate agent was among the top of their lists.

NAR President and Broker, Vince Malta, stated: “While we celebrate homeownership month, we embrace today’s version of homeownership and the unique paths homeowners take to realize their dream. For prospective buyers, the desire to own a home remains strong, and the guidance, expertise, and professionalism Realtors provide is more important now than ever.”

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Market Planning & COVID-19

Usually, market planning is mapped out a year in advance – you already know your goals and steps that you want to accomplish! But with COVID-19 changing much on how we live, planning for your businesses can prove to be a little more difficult.

To adapt in these times, it’s best to market plan just a month (or two) in advance. That way, you can make sure you’re staying relevant to what is currently needed with buyers and sellers.

Take a quick look at some of the ways you can market plan for the immediate future:

  • Following up on leads might not be the most appropriate action to take during a pandemic – instead, think of taking a more moderate form of prospecting.
  • Send personal letters and messages to your past and current clients through the mail! Be compassionate and understanding to current situations. Let them know you’re there for them with whatever assistance they might need.
  • Finally get to organizing and updating your list and notes in CRM!
  • Utilize video! Send heartfelt messages to your clients through email.
  • Make sure any automated email blasts or social media campaigns are stopped or up-to-date to reflect the current situation.

We’re all growing and adapting during this quarantine. Be gentle with yourself and remember to be compassionate and understanding with your clients during this time.

For more real estate tips and news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Homeowners Remodel During Quarantine

What have you found yourself doing while you’ve been stuck at home? Have you picked up a new hobby? Is your home super organized?

Have you remodeled?

While many homeowners have been stuck at home, some of them have dug out their tool box and got to work.

According to Houzz, a home renovation and resource site, outdoor remodels, bathroom updates, and kitchen projects have been on the list of priorities. 79% of homeowners surveyed have considered making remodels to help enjoy their home more – and that makes sense, considering we’re all now spending a majority of our time there.

Here are some of the other projects homeowners are looking forward to:

  • Changing Décor – 47%
  • Upgrading / adding lighting – 30%
  • Changing layout – 27%
  • Upgrading / adding storage space – 25%
  • Upgrading / adding outdoor space – 24%

Some of the reasons why homeowners are remodeling are quiet interesting – homeowners are baking or working out more, so upgrades to the kitchen or adding an additional workout space are also on homeowner’s minds.

Here’s Houzz’s infographic on what homeowners believe is lacking in their homes:

New housing trends will emerge as we spend more and more time at home – what will we see?

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s blog here.

Is COVID-19 Impacting Mortgage Rates?

With all the uncertainty COVID-19 brings, it does seem to at least be positively impacting the real estate market.

Average daily rates have dropped to a new low of 3.09% as of May 15th – and real estate professionals believe they’ll dip even lower. Realtor.com’s Chief Economist, Danielle Hale, explains, “We expect mortgage rates to stay low and possibly slip lower. We’ll flirt with the 3% threshold for a while before we go below it.”

Similar to Fannie Mae’s May forecast – Hale also believes rates will fall to 2.9% by the end of 2020.

This all depends, however, on how COVID-19 continues to impact the economy.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Home Internet Searches on the Rise

Many potential homebuyers halted their shopping in the wake of COVID-19, however, it seems as though buyers are making their way back.

LendingTree’s newly found research helps show a possible surge in home purchases. Their findings analyzed Google search data to understand how popular the term “homes for sale” was in 50 of the nation’s largest metros.

Searches in these areas have risen, compared to their 2020 lows at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. The end of April showed that these property searches have rebounded by 54%.

Combined with historically low interest rates, homebuyers see a potential for a great deal – inventory still, however, being a hindrance when it comes to the real estate market.

Check out LendingTree’s infographic, here:

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Productivity While Working from Home

A lot of us are still working from home – or are at least having some hybrid combination of being out in the field. But with COVID-19 still a major factor in how we operate in our daily life, it’s important to work within its boundaries.

It can be hard to consistently work from home; maybe you don’t have access to the same tools or networks that you had when you were in the office, or maybe you have extra distractions while you try and participate in a zoom meeting while in the kitchen. However you have it, working from home is a whole different ballgame! Here are our tips for you on how to stay active and productive during these weird times.

Never Stop Learning

Take the time to read articles on the current state of the market and in the neighborhoods and towns you work in. Your brokerage might still be holding continuing education courses through an online portal (zoom being one example), so be sure you’re staying relevant and are continuing your trainings.

Update Your Accounts

Have you been wanting to revamp your social networking sites, but just haven’t had the time? Here’s your opportunity! Update your social media accounts – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. – and comment, like, tag, share posts you find relevant and interesting. This can also be a great way to reconnect with past clients and check in on how they’ve been doing.

Continue Networking – Just Virtually

Set up virtual calls with your coworkers, agents you admire and follow on social media platforms, and with potential (or current!) clients. Check out our previous real estate tip of the week article on how to prepare for those virtual meetings.

The quarantine won’t last forever, but until then, it’s best to keep yourself active and motivated to continue running your successful business. We’re all in this together!

For more real estate tips, check out Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Helping Our Communities

With COVID-19 bringing uncertain times for many, Alliance Title & Escrow, under the parent company of Futura Title & Escrow Corp., made sizeable donations to various local charities in the communities they live and work in. Futura Title’s brands donated a total of $67,400 (equivalent to $100 per company employee) to various charities across the Pacific Northwest. 

Alliance Title’s branches donated to the charities that were close to their hearts and who continuously aid in their communities.

With all of the branches throughout Idaho donating to their charities, Alliance Title was able to contribute a grand total of $26,400!

Alliance Title strives to continuously aid in the communities we live and work in. We are greatly inspired by all of the wonderful and generous community members who have stepped up and helped others during this difficult time – and we want to encourage the same.

Charities donated to by Alliance Title branch:

  • Blackfoot – Bingham Crisis Center
  • Boise – Women’s & Children’s Alliance
  • Clarkston – Twin County United Way – Health Division
  • Coeur d’Alene – Newby-ginnings of Idaho
  • Corporate – Idaho Food Bank & Veteran’s Hospital
  • CTS – Idaho Food Bank
  • Driggs – Seniors West of the Tetons
  • Emmett – Emmett Valley Friendship Coalition
  • Idaho Falls – Habitat for Humanity & Community Food Basket
  • Kalispell – Funding Families with Type 1 Diabetes
  • Lewiston – The Gina Quesenberry Foundation
  • Mountain Home – Three Island Senior Citizens Center, Inc.
  • Nampa – Canyon County Meals on Wheels
  • Pocatello – Idaho Food Bank
  • Rexburg – Case Appointed Special Advocates for Children
  • Rigby – Rigby Senior Citizens Center
  • Salmon – Lemhi After School Promise
  • Sandpoint – Bonner Community Food Bank
  • Soda Springs – Idaho Food Bank
  • Twin Falls – Light of Hope Food Pantry

Rethinking 2020: Real Estate Changes with COVID-19

Spring and summer 2020 looked to be quite the year for real estate – it was predicted to be one of the biggest years in sales in decades. However, with COVID-19 changing much about how things are operated, the 2020 year for real estate has adjusted.

COVID-19 halted many potential homebuyers and sellers. However, it is predicted that home sales will jump in late summer/early fall as Millennials make the jump to own homes.

Homes are still currently being bought and sold, just at a slower pace. The medium price for a home is expected to hold steady, rising just 1.1% in 2020 over the previous year. Chief Economist for Realtor.com, Danielle Hale, explains, “Were it not for COVID-19, we probably would have seen prices rise in the 2-4% range.

But buyers shouldn’t worry. Mortgage rates are expected to stay in record lows, hovering around 3.2%. Some lenders, however, might require larger down payments and higher credit scores due to the large amount of unemployment grappling the country.

Real estate has always been adaptable – with many safety measures in place to ensure the safety of employees and clients, home buying and selling is still accessible. And with many people rethinking their living spaces, it might drive homebuyers towards suburbs. Hale continues, “The experience of being at home for a long period of time has everyone rethinking their priorities. People are recognizing space is more important, so they’re looking for more affordable areas where they can have more space at the same price.”

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