3D Tours – The New Open House

We’ve touched on two differences that the coronavirus is causing in residential real estate sales; the cumbersome arrangements now required just to see a house for sale, and how wearing masks will help buyers hide their interest in a home.

What else is changing?

The real estate flyers are gone now, and public open houses are heading for extinction too – and the 3D tours are being heralded as a worthy substitute.  It’s too bad too, because the industry never fully grasped the biggest benefit of open houses – helping to create urgency in the buyers, especially when the home is fresh on the market.

If you haven’t seen a 3D tour, here’s an example:


The 3D tours are very crafty, and buyers should love them for offering maximum convenience within minutes – or seconds.  Sellers don’t have to leave their house every Sunday afternoon, and agents won’t have to work weekends any more.

What’s wrong with that?

Have you ever seen a perfect house?  Me neither.

The 3D tour allows the viewer to scroll around the home at their own pace, which is a plus.  But it’s too easy for viewers to give up when they see something unusual or have trouble navigating.

You gotta give the house a chance.

Rather than relying on a thorough walk-around with an agent who is explaining every nuance, the home-buying decisions will be based on fancy imagery on a computer screen.

Won’t the interested parties pursue an in-home visit?  Yes, and they are the most likely real buyers.

But it’s the internet viewers who click out too quickly who will miss out – and fewer buyers relying on less information isn’t a positive for home sales.  Instead, the sales process gets dumbed down further, and those who support the 3D tours as an adequate substitute for agent advice are contributing to the downfall.

It’s all going that way anyway, but at least you can say you saw it coming!

San Diego is The Downsizer’s Upgrade!

As people hunker down in quarantine throughout the state, many must be asking themselves if they are in the right house for them – and if it isn’t, then where to move.

Thankfully, most of the densely-populated parts of coastal California are more expensive than in San Diego County, which makes for a natural progression.

For downsizers who want to live in the same size or larger home, they can come to San Diego and make out nicely!  Or get a smaller home AND pocket big profits from their previous sale.

San Diego County real estate should fare well in the coming years – we enjoy a natural housing demand from baby boomers who are looking for a less-costly coastal experience.

It’s good for the ego too – who would criticize them for wanting to move here!

Realtors’ Big Game

Hat tip to Rob Dawg for sending in this podcast by a realtor president – an excerpt:

It’s been a strange, and difficult time for us. So, imagine what it’s like if you are trying to buy, or sell a home. Tim Comstock is President of the Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors, as well as a working Real Estate Agent. He says that if buyers or sellers can wait, they should.

Comstock says about 20% of the homes listed when the crisis started have been taken off the market, but some people still have to move ahead because of factors like a job move or a death in the family.

Comstock says despite the difficulties, some deals are still happening. He admits it isn’t easy.

As for the future, what does the industry expect? Comstock says people will always need housing, but much will depend on whether people keep their jobs, so that they’re in a position to buy in the first place.

Within twenty seconds into this podcast interview, Tim said that buyers and sellers should wait if they don’t have to move, and that he had nine listings currently that he is struggling to sell. This is the guy who is the public face of Ventura County real estate, and the elected leader of the local realtor group.

The listeners are looking to him for guidance, and leadership.

He did them a great disservice.

While we know that being the president of a realtor association is mostly ceremonial, when a crisis develops on your watch, it’s your time to deliver for your people. Agents are counting on you to help them!

This is our Super Bowl, and the ultimate challenge of our career.  This is where realtors get to rise up and demonstrate our value as problem solvers – and then provide solutions!

He threw an interception here – time to get back in the game and throw for a touchdown.

He should get back up to the microphone and apologize – maybe he had some bad pizza the night before?  Then tell us how realtors can serve their clients, and assist them with moving while we’re in this predicament.  It’s what leaders are expected to do.

We may not win every game, but let’s try.

Downtown Penthouse For Sale!

I teased this new listing in February, but then we decided to do a more-extensive upgrade to get full attention – here are my MLS remarks:

One of only four south-facing panoramic-view penthouses where you enjoy both sunrises and sunsets from the top of the Grande North! Brand new real wide-plank hardwood floors, deluxe new master bath, new paint, sleek and snazzy white kitchen, large storage closet in hallway, and two designated side-by-side parking spaces! Live on the front-row at the Bay with the best views anywhere (Pt. Loma, aircraft carriers at North Island, the USS Midway, etc.) plus HOA has no lawsuits and $15 million in the bank!

1205 Pacific Highway #3603

3 br/2 ba, 1,786sf

LP = $2,195,000

The zestimate before the listing was inputted:

Zestimate is lower now:


Carmel Valley Report

Our listing in Carmel Valley is still getting hundreds of views – the chart above are two-day totals.  I love when a new listing hits the market nearby, because it gives buyers some perspective, and in this case we are almost identical in cost per square foot ($507 vs $509) so the analytical buyers will be pleased.

The graph at the top shows the importance of the first few days on the market.

It’s virtually impossible to re-ignite the same buzz later, even with a price reduction, so we try our best to make the first deal stick.  In this case, our first buyer was doing a 1031 exchange with tight timelines, but then the IRS extended everyone to July 15th, so like most buyers he figured he could get a better deal later, and cancelled on us.

The talk about how opening up the country will affect the real estate market seems simple enough to me.  The more-motivated buyers will be the first ones to venture out, and that’s who drives the market anyway.

When Will the Market Comeback?

Everything seems like “If” these days, but if we had a market comeback, the dates of a modified and compressed selling season would be fairly predictable, looking at it logically.

The actual results will be a matter of compression and intensity.

If there isn’t much of a market rebound, then we might only have a couple of hot weeks in July, and a lot of standing around, relatively.  If things get cooking, then we could have a solid 4-6 weeks before school starts (in red above) when the most sales will be made.

The dates in green is when buyers will be looking hard – and might be when the best deals are made.

Two to four weeks in October will be a lost cause, due to the election.  In December, buyers and sellers will both pack it in early for the holidays, and prepare to GET ‘ER DONE IN ’21!

Next year’s selling season is 11-12 months away – we gotta be ok by then, right?

Then all we have to do is get through 2020!

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