Today's real estate industry is vibrant and quickly changing. Buyers, sellers and agents alike need to understand what's shaping it to make solid decisions.
What are today's biggest real estate industry trends? Jon Dodson, a Realtor® in Killeen, Texas, gives insight on what's changing.
1. Technology is affecting how homes are viewed
Only a few years ago, open houses served a key role in connecting buyers with potential homes.
"People would drive around and look at houses back then, but that's achieving little success now," Dodson says.
Instead, realtors increasingly connect with buyers online.
"Folks get their initial look at a home online. When they find a house they're interested in, it's only then that they go look at it," he says.
More people are also buying sight-unseen, using only internet resources to influence their decisions, Dodson says. This is especially common if the buyers are moving from a different geographical area.
Visual marketing techniques(opens in a new tab) have allowed Realtors to show homes in new ways. Virtual tours and staging let buyers experience a home, even if they're shopping from another continent. Drone photography and video can offer a better look at a home than a ground-level view.
In the future, look for even more advanced ways to show a home(opens in a new tab). Think apps that help potential buyers see their own furnishings in a house or a virtual reality tour, in which a buyer conducts a walkthrough using a VR headset.
Realtors are taking advantage of technological advances, too. For example, Dodson points out how he tracks listing analytics.
“When I see website traffic for a listing slow down, I'll recommend we do something in response—take different photos, for example, or adjust the price," he says.
2. Clients are becoming more educated (and inspired)
The internet has helped clients come to Realtors with increased savviness. They've often done their research about the local market, such as the schools, traffic and other details.
Overall, that's a good thing. However, Dodson says Realtors should be ready to correct any misconceptions.
For example, he says, "Sometimes, sellers will want to repaint or decorate with ideas they got from the internet or a TV show."
Those ideas don't always translate into better house appeal, though. As experienced Realtors know, splashes of color or unique fixtures often hurt a home's chances of selling.
"To appeal to the widest segment of buyers, I recommend sellers stick with neutral colors and standard items," Dodson advises.
3. Supply and demand is affecting home prices
Throughout the country, low inventories and high demand are driving up prices. For some, the combination of higher prices and interest rates points to an affordability crisis for buyers(opens in a new tab) of single-family homes.
Buyers will depend on Realtors to steer them to appropriate areas since markets in neighboring cities can differ significantly.
Dodson gives two nearby Central Texas towns as an example. "Home prices in Kempner have increased by 50%, and homes stay on the market for just a few days. In nearby Killeen, on the other hand, there’s plenty of inventory."
Forecasts by NerdWallet(opens in a new tab) indicate the overall increase in housing prices is likely to slow—welcome news for buyers.
No matter how the industry changes, one thing remains a constant: Realtors who know their markets will be essential to connecting buyers with the homes that fit their needs and budgets.
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