Virtual real-estate showings — a Steamboat perspective
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a sharp increase in the use of virtual real estate showings, but for Steamboat Springs shoppers, the trend is nothing new.
That’s the word from Ulrich Salzgeber, CEO of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors. Salzgeber said local realtors have been offering some form of virtual tours for at least 15 years.
What has changed over the years, he said, are rapid improvements in technology. Where photo galleries or video were once cutting edge, agents are now offering options that include interactive 3D maps of rooms, virtual staging and more.
“The technology for remote viewing has improved and the use of it has greatly improved,” Salzgeber said. “More and more people come to almost expect some sort of a video presentation of a property. Once they’ve seen it one place, they expect to see it everywhere.”
Salzgeber said the scope of technology used by a selling agent often is tied to the sale price.
“The higher the value of the home, the more the agent is willing to invest in a higher-end product to show the property,” he said.
While technological advances have closed the gap between a virtual tour and actually being in a home, nothing beats an in-person visit, he said.
“It’s preferable to have a client view the property in person,” Salzgeber said. It’s one thing to see it on video but yet another to see, feel, smell, touch a property. But particularly now, it’s harder to come up and view a property.”
Salzgeber, who spent 16 years in real estate sales before taking his current job six years ago, recalled one of his first uses of virtual technology to sell a home to a buyer so far away visiting Steamboat in person wasn’t a viable option.
“I had a client in Indonesia and they purchased a home sight unseen and didn’t see it for 18 months before they moved back to the States,” he said. “Using that technology, I could answer all their questions. It became a really helpful tool. I think they would look at that first before they thought of coming up.”
What trends can we expect more of? Salzgeber points to virtual staging, where a room can be digitally altered to show how it could look with different paint, furniture and accessories.
“We’re already seeing it but we’ll see more of it,” Salzgeber said of virtual staging. “If a home is empty, buyers can’t appreciate the possibilities as if it were furnished. With virtual stagings they can see the possibilities. As the technology improves, it’s going to be even more of a valuable tool in the process of selling a home.”
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