Virtual Technology Preferences in the Midst of COVID-19

While it may seem as though the world is at a standstill, real estate keeps on ticking.

COVID-19 has changed much on how agents, buyers, and sellers conduct real estate business – but like other businesses, the real estate market has learned to adapt.

Listing data, well-done photos, and virtual and live-video tours are now a major focal point of how buyers and sellers can buy or sell a home.

According to a recent survey from realtor.com® and Toluna insights, 21% of respondents say that COVID-9 has made them more likely to move into a home sight unseen in the future.

How are buyers and sellers willing to adapt? Below are the technology feature preferences that clients believe are most helpful when deciding to purchase a home with social distancing guidelines in place:

  • Virtual Tour of the home – 61%
  • Accurate and detailed listing information – 58%
  • Accurate and detailed neighborhood information – 53%
  • High-quality listing photos – 51%
  • Agents showing the property through video chat – 39%

While this may seem like an unpredictable time, it looks like the real estate world is adapting and keeping it business as usual – with social distancing in mind.

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

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Virtual Meetings with Clients

With the new normal meaning sweatpants at home and working at the kitchen table, it’s time to prep for how you can help clients achieve their real estate dreams virtually.

How does that look? Take a moment to check out our tips below:

Prep the Materials

Before you host your virtual meeting, be sure to email a set of materials to help them prepare. Alliance Title has a Client-Resource Guide and a Buyer-Seller Guide that you can easily email!

Clean Your Desktop

It might be a good idea to declutter the (possible) mess you might have on your desktop. Sometimes you have to share your screen with your client, and you don’t want them thinking your disorganized and messy, do you?

Pick Your Platform

Will you be using Skype? Google Hangouts? Facebook Messenger? Be sure you understand the platform you’re using and how to share the screen when need be. This article lists a lot of great screen-sharing software!

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice your presentation – whether you’re using PowerPoint, Google Docs, or just talking freely with your clients. Have a goal and a script in mind on how you’d like the meeting to go.

With sheltering-in-place being the current “new norm”, it’s important that you adapt and still fulfil the needs of buyers and sellers.

Alliance Title is here to help you every step of the way! Check out our blog here for more ideas.

Creating a Home Office Space

Most employers are fortunate enough to allow their employees to work from home – so what does this look like for most of America?

A recent survey from Houzz found that 55% of homeowners have a home office. A quarter of respondents work from their kitchen table and 11% work from their sofa.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to work from home, you now need to create a quiet space to work, secure a strong internet connection (if you haven’t already), and make sure you’re staying healthy on top of it.

Here are some easy tips you can help follow if you’re working from home:

Pick Your Spot

If you don’t have a home office, think of your next best solution to set up your work-from-home space. Extra bedroom with folding table, kitchen table, nook, or counter. Are you able to work near family, or do you need a quieter space?

Create the Work Mood

Avoid eyestrain by angling your computer screen away from sunlight or light fixtures. Use multiple light sources, like an overhead light, desktop light, or natural light.

Consider Your Posture

Making sure you’re comfortable is a major reason to keep up with productivity. Use the right chair, mouse, mouse pad, etc. If you can, try and periodically stand while working – maybe by setting your laptop on a counter.

Be sure you’re also taking the breaks you need during the day: stretch, stand up, walk around your home and / or backyard, and take your lunch.

Want more real estate tips and advice? Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Digital Tools during COVID-19

These are uncertain times – but that doesn’t mean we can’t go through this together, virtually, of course.

As a real estate agent, you might be wondering how you can successfully continue your work with social distancing and shelter-in-place confirmed in your state. Luckily, real estate has been keeping up with technology – and there are plenty of tools for you to use and count on during this time.

Virtual House Tour & Open Houses

Just because you can no longer meet face-to-face with your client (or future clients) doesn’t mean they can’t see the house they’re interested in!

Think about using Facetime, Skype, or Zoom when presenting a home to your client. If you’re trying to interest a buyer, think about hosting a “Live Open House” on Instagram or Facebook live!

Alliance Title & Escrow Corp. Digital Tools

Net Sheet: Through Title Capture, you can access quotes on titles and fees all online.

Profilez on Demand or Agent Intel: Access to property profile information through our online account.

EMTransfer: Our cloud-based service that allows agents, lenders, and buyers, and earnest money holders to securely document, collect and disburse earnest money 100% electronically.

Plat Map & CCR Search

For up-to-date news and tips regarding COVID-19, check out Alliance Title’s Blog.

COVID-19: Remote Online Notarization Bill in Congress

With many agents wondering how they can successfully and swiftly close their transactions in the middle of COVID-19, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has sent a letter to congress urging lawmakers to include policy in coronavirus response legislation that would pave the way for remote notarizations.

This would help move transactions towards a 100% digital platform nationwide.

The Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020, also known as the SECURE Notarization Act, was introduced last Wednesday by a bipartisan coalition of senators.

Currently, only 23 states have remote online notarization policies – which permit a notary and a signer in different physical locations to safely execute electronic documents. However, some borrowers in these states are still unable to complete the transaction without an in-person notary.

The SECURE Notarization Act would create a safe, multifactor authentication that uses tamper-evident and two-way, real-time audiovisual technology to enable the signer and notary to see and hear each other simultaneously.

NAR Vice President, Vince Malta, explains, “As the nation and world grapple with some of the most difficult and uncertain circumstances of their lives, NAR continues working with the federal government to secure policy and promote public safety and protect this critical driver of our nation’s economy.

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

Generational Trends for Home-Buying Preferences

Yes, Millennials enjoy shopping through Amazon and making avocado toast – but it looks like they also enjoy the same housing preferences as Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

According to the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, most age groups were motivated to live near family and friends, with 53% pointing to this major factor when selecting a neighborhood.

Between Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers, newer homes were more enticing – most citing a newer home as the main reason for a purchase.

However, there are differences between the generations:

Those aged 22-29 stated that their main reason in purchasing a home was to own a home of their own (60%), whereas those aged 55-64 fell to 17%.

Younger buyers are also more concerned with their commute time – around 74% of buyers aged 22-29 selected “convenience to job” as a priority to buying a home. For older buyers, “quality of neighborhood” took precedence.

Check out NAR’s infographic below!

For more real estate news, check out Alliance’s Blog.

Got Homeowner Worries? Here Are the Top Concerns.

Becoming a homeowner has some amazing perks – equity being a top contender. However, it looks like homeowners still have their fair share of worries.

Once you are a homeowner, you’re now the one in charge, and the one to make decisions. So, what are some of the things homeowners are worrying about?

A recent survey from LendingTree summarized homeowners’ biggest housing worries for 2020. Check out their infographic below:

Nearly one-third of respondents claimed major home repairs as their top housing-related worry. With the 1% rule in mind (1% of the purchase price of your home set aside for your maintenance-saving piggy bank), homeowners might stress over the amount they should be putting away every year.

The next brackets of worry went to home values dropping (17%), and the possibility of mortgage payments increasing (13%).

Although there are underlying worries between all homeowners, 68% of those surveyed still believe that homeownership is a good investment.

Check out Alliance’s Blog for more real estate news!

Rental Properties Fur-Going Pet Restrictions

Have you had trouble finding a home or an apartment to rent, simply because your pet isn’t allowed to live there?

Well, it looks like things are changing – as landlords are seeing better profits if they open up their residence to being pet friendly.

Homes with kids under 18 years of age stands at 27% in America, while the share of homes with pets is at 68%. More likely, tenants are going to have a dog than they are to have a child. With that statistic in mind, more and more landlords are opening up their doors to allowing pets.

A study conducted by FIREPAW Inc., an animal welfare nonprofit research firm, showed that pet-friendly rentals increase investors’ profits AND show vacancy rates for rentals that allow pets tend to be lower than those that don’t.

 Landlords are also spending less than half as much money on advertising their pet-friendly properties.

But what about the likely damage caused by said pets?

The survey also found that the tenants with pets tended to cause less damage than tenants with children – even the worst damages caused by pets were cheaper than the average rent or the pet deposit.

Even potential homebuyers are looking for homes that are more pet-friendly – realtor.com®’s survey found that 87% of home buyers with pets say they take their pet’s needs into account when searching for a home.

Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog for more real estate news, tips, and guides!

First-Time Homebuyers Looking to Buy

What do you get when you mix low mortgage rates and first-time homebuyers? – Home sales.

According to REALTOR® Magazine, 32% of sales in January came from first-time homebuyers, which is up from 29% last year. First-time homeowners younger than 35 increased from 35.4% in early 2019 to 37.6% in late 2019, and existing home-sales are at 5.46 million for 2020.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, explains, “The rise in the homeownership rate among younger adults under 35 and minority households means an increasing number of Americans can build wealth by owning real estate. Still, in order to further expand opportunities, significantly more inventory and home construction are needed at the affordable price points.”

While it has only been two months into 2020, real estate analysts are looking to builders to increase inventory to help first-time buyers and repeat buyers alike.

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

Real Estate News: Homeowners Save When Comparing Mortgages

While this may not be news to current homeowners – soon-to-be homeowners might not know that shopping around for a mortgage can save you quite the cash in the end.

According to LendingTree, purchasers could save an average of $125 a month, or about $1,500 a year, by shopping around – that could equal up to $44,500 saved over the life of the loan!

Interest rates are constantly changing, and with all the various loan options, it benefits the potential homeowner to shop around and see which opportunity best suits them and their future.

Not sure how to shop for a mortgage? Check out our mortgage shopping 101 guide!

LendingTree’s findings also broke down which cities borrowers were saving the most money:

  • San Francisco
  • Fresno
  • Los Angeles
  • Portland
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Las Vegas
  • Seattle
  • Boston
  • Minneapolis
  • Phoenix

Check out their infographic, here.

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