The New Way of Home Buying

virtual tour

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Remember the days when on any given weekend there would be at least 10 open houses taking place? You could bounce from home to home, maybe having a snack set out by the buyer or realtor as you perused the home? When it came to open houses – the more traffic through the door the better!

But now, finding an open house being advertised has become a little harder to find, and in some cases, non-existent. During 2020, the way we bought and sold homes drastically changed – and some of those trends are sticking around. 

Open Houses – Out – Open houses were a staple when it came to listing your home for sale but have now mostly disappeared with home seller’s not wanting to encourage crowds of strangers in their home, and buyers not wanting to encounter them. Many by appointment only home tours included masks, gloves, and even booties to prevent the spread of germs and asked the buyers to limit touching of light switches, doorknobs, cabinets, etc. While open houses may pick up again, they most likely won’t return to their original fan fair.

Virtual Home Tours – Here to stay – These became a staple for house listings in an effort to give buyers the best possible view of the home from the safety of their computer. Buyers could get a more complete view of the home and were able to more easily narrow down if they did in fact want to see the home in person. What started as a precaution has now become pretty normal for most realtors to include. Most people do still want to see a home in person before making an offer, but the virtual tour can help reduce the number of homes a buyer will visit or spend time in.

Sight Unseen Offers – Here to stay – Pre-pandemic, a sight unseen offer would make most people shudder, break out into cold sweats, and maybe even lose sleep. However, in a super competitive market coupled with enhanced safety measures, they become much more common especially if buyers were relocating to another part of the state or country. With inspections built into the offer, buyers still had an out if the property wasn’t up to par. After losing out on several homes due to scheduling conflicts for showings,  more and more buyers felt more comfortable making a sight unseen offer, and we think it could be here to stay as long as the market stays hot.

Desktop or Drive-by Appraisals – Out – In the height of the pandemic, some appraisers chose to do appraisals just by looking at photos and stats or by driving by the property and looking at the outside. Determining the value of the home is a very important part of the home buying process for everyone involved – bank, buyer, seller, and realtors. In person appraisals will be back in full force.

If you weren’t particularly fond of the home buying process in 2020, don’t worry, the return to most in-person processes will be available. For those who prefer a more digital approach, we’re pretty confident most of those options will continue. Have questions about securing a mortgage – give us a call!


Jennifer Ives-Groebl
Vice President, Senior Mortgage Lender
NMLS MLO ID: 532621

Author: Jennifer Ives-Groebl

Jennifer has been with Litchfield Bancorp since 1994 and was promoted to Assistant Vice President and Senior Mortgage Originator shortly after graduating the Connecticut School of Finance & Management in 1998. Stationed in both our Torrington and Litchfield locations, Jennifer is well known and respected in the local residential real estate community and recognized as a resource for some of the more difficult transactions. Jennifer resides in Torrington and is actively involved in the local community. She is a long time member of the Torrington/Winsted Rotary club and is currently serving as its Assistant Treasurer. Jennifer is involved with Litchfield County Board of Realtors and serves as chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Public Relations Committee. She is also a member of the Fuessenich Park Partnership; and through Education Connection, has participated in the Mentoring Program.