We know the times “they are a changing” in real estate. I recently listed a property in Pacific Heights and for the first time in my 30-plus years of real estate sales, more than 90 percent of the showing requests came via e-mail or text. In the past, appointments have traditionally been made over the phone so both agents can coordinate their schedules.
Agents and clients today are taking more and more to their mobile devices — both for communication and research. We all know that most real estate searches begin online, but increasingly they are beginning on mobile devices as we grow more comfortable with searching for real estate on them. It is critical to have a strong online presence and to make sure listings are in multiple locations on the web.
That’s just one of the important trends affecting buying and selling real estate today.
Also on the digital front, electronic signatures on documents are more and more common. This technology allows you to send documents electronically around the world and obtain signatures on them when needed. Most companies are now using electronic storage systems for the escrow files. They are stored in the cloud and are easy to access should need arise.
Until recently, Generation X was at the top of the home-buying pool in the country. These are buyers aged 36-50. While they now make up only 26 percent of the buying pool, they tend to be the buyers purchasing the most expensive and largest homes in any community. Who surpassed Generation X at the top of the home buying pool? That would be Generation Y (Millennials, those born in the early 1980s to early 2000s). This group now represents 35 percent of all homebuyers.
Sellers always want nice photographs of their homes and often videos. What is trending now is drone photography. These drone shots can do a lot to showcase larger estates, outdoor spaces, views etc. I think there are some very nice uses for drone photography.
As residences become harder and harder to find in the big cities, micro apartments are becoming more popular. If you have been to an IKEA store lately, you may have seen some great micro apartment interiors on display. It is amazing what can be fit in under 400 or 500 square feet of space! There are also some very nice stores popping up with furniture lines that cater to these small homes — such as murphy-style beds that fold out over a couch or have a recessing table when the bed comes down; also telescoping tables that can go from a side table to a large dining table. Very creative. Millennials want their living space to be for sleeping and their neighborhood to be for their dining and living.
So homeownership seems to be on the rise throughout the nation. It can provide much more than just a place to hang your hat. Rather than worry about rent increases, you can fix your monthly mortgage payments for the life of the loan. Rather than paying someone else’s mortgage on the rental, you are building your own equity by paying down the loan and through appreciation — a sort of forced saving account. There are also tax benefits for owning as well.
So feel free to get out your mobile device and begin looking for that traditional or micro home of your dreams.