Hampton Roads, because it is such a highly transient area with the dense military population, poses unique challenges for real estate agents. For example, my last two closings were with people who live out of the area — not just a few towns over, but one in a foreign country and another at our country’s southernmost point.
Usually, one’s first impression of a home will be based on viewing photos either in the Multiple Listing Service or online using an app. Then, further impression will be formed from curb appeal when one pulls up to the house.
What does the street look like? What do the neighbors’ homes look like? Are the yards maintained? Are children happily riding their bikes in the neighborhood? Are there mothers walking and talking while pushing strollers?
These are all things that appeal to visionary sense. Therefore, using platforms like Skype, FaceTime or even Facebook Chat allow an agent to walk the neighborhood and video real-time with buyers. This is where it’s vital to have a Realtor who will go the extra mile for you – someone who will take the time to share what the neighborhood and homes really look like, including clubhouses, playgrounds, churches, pools, even schools.
The reality is that that buyers count on their agent to be their physical set of eyes. Let’s face it: They are not just buying what is listed in that legal definition of the plot of land on the purchase agreement. This is a place they are going to call home. All things need to work together for a family to feel comfortable and happy with their choice.
Then there’s the physical touch. I often know when a buyer likes the home purely based on their interaction with the house. You’re probably thinking, “Touch the house?” Yes. If a buyer comes through the home and touches the fireplace mantel, or a hand over the newly cut granite counter top, or opens all the cabinet doors, or even smells the flowers in the yard, these are all great signs that he or she is genuinely interested in the home.
Naturally, there’s an extra layer of pressure on agents when we work with people who can’t physically touch the house. Thus, it’s important that we take the time to learn exactly what may be trigger points or critical components to the buyer and then focus on those things first. When they can see our facial expressions through video as we focus on things that are important to them, it makes them feel more at ease with the homebuying process.
In summary, I don’t think there will ever be anything better than when a buyer can personally experience the home. However, as we embrace the great things of today’s technology, we can put ourselves in the shoes of buyers and navigate them through all that a home and its surroundings offer. Also, after spending a substantial amount of time on video with buyers, they truly can have a good feeling for their Realtor’s personality and willingness to go the extra mile to make them happy.
Suzie Harris is a Realtor with RE/MAX Central Realty in Virginia Beach and a member of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association, Virginia Association of Realtors and National Association of Realtors. Realtors are real estate agents who adhere to a strict code of ethics and work for the home-buying public to protect and preserve private property rights. Learn more at www.IsYourAgentOne.com.
Learn more about HRRA at www.HRRA.com.
Reach Harris at Suzie@anovateam.com or 757-636-9153. Visit her website at Sueharrishomes.com.