Open House signs antique? like typewriters?

After returning to an “open” business environment after three months, the future of Open Houses seems to be bordering extinct. Or more accurately obsolete, like the typewriter.

Can you write with a typewriter? Yes, but why would you? Can you have an Open House? Yes, but with all the restrictions necessary and appointments required, why would you want to go?

Open House Pivot

Pivot is a word often used to express the dramatic and rapid changes impacting the real estate market due to COVID19. Some changes were underway but became accelerated, like virtual selling.

Others, like Open Houses, have completely “pivoted” to something other than what they were.

The non-committal and casual nature of Open Houses was a way to explore local real estate without an agent, or appointment.

Virtual Open Houses were a work around during our COVID19 shut down, using video previously taken or with the owner’s cooperation via Zoom video conference.

The new standard is to present a virtual Open House on Zoom with the agent guiding a tour of previously recorded video or navigating the Matterport 3D layout. Appointments are required, and if you “stop in” late you miss the video tour.

While it’s better than nothing, and a way to get a “peak” at the interior of the home, it’s not the casual easy way to explore real estate that we have enjoyed for so long.

Virtual Selling – the new standard of practice

In today’s market, virtual selling should be a standard of practice. I’ve sold homes virtually using video since 2008. It doesn’t make sense to book an appointment for a video tour that I already have access to, or should.

Every listing should provide a video tour. For my sellers I do a marketing video, think of it like a movie trailer;

Then I do the actual walk through video which takes you through the home as if you are there.

The home buying process has “pivoted.” Home buyers used to wait to interview and hire an agent until they were ready to buy. Now it’s best practice to do that at the beginning of your search.

Likewise, your pre-approval is needed early in the process as it’s required along with a COVID19 form to book showings.

Open House Standards Due to COVID19

Now that physical Open Houses are allowed, understandably there are awkward restrictions. As an example, here are highlights of a current brokerage’s Open House guideline for agents;

1. Sales associates and all open house visitors must wear a mask.
2. Social distancing rules should be maintained.
3. Disinfect all high-touch areas prior to and between each group of visitors; provide hand sanitizer if possible.
4. Sales associates should limit open house attendance to one group at a time to maintain appropriate distancing and accompany them through their tour to minimize unintended touching of surfaces. Additional groups can be asked to wait outside and to maintain social distancing while doing so.
5. Maintain a record of everyone entering the property, including name and E-mail address or cell phone number.

COVID19 is “here to stay” – we must adapt

The Economist recently published – COVID 19 is here to stay. People will have to adapt :

“The worst is to come. Based on research in 84 countries, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reckons that…without a medical breakthrough, the total number of cases will climb to 200m-600m by spring 2021.”

We cannot just return to “business as usual” as the battle against this pandemic is far from over.

Protecting buyers and sellers from unnecessary public exposure and utilizing current technology to present a virtual buying experience is now a necessary standard of practice – not just an option.

While our local market is now pushed to pivot in this direction, it’s long overdue in terms of providing the highest level of service to our clients.

Home buying is a journey – not a transaction

I provide information, support, advise and guidance from early exploration of the market through negotiations and closing as my personal standard of practice. Sometimes the answer is to not buy, which is perfectly fine. It’s all about what’s best for you!

The rush to provide virtual Open Houses has been a push to generate “leads” or meet prospective buyers. Open Houses have always been more of a networking opportunity for the agent than a true selling tool for the home owner. Virtual Open Houses provide marketing exposure for the agent but present an awkward experience for buyers.

Virtual Home Buying Service

Using virtual selling expertise, I create video walk throughs of properties throughout the home buying process to narrow down selections and fine tune the home search for my clients. That way, the showings we book in person are in reality 2nd showings. This saves time, protects home buyers and sellers from unnecessary exposure and streamlines the home buying process.

Open House Signs – an antique?

When I sold luxury real estate on Kauai, my open house signs were often stolen and used for fighting rooster sheds, an illegal but popular local sport.

One way of repurposing them but not a big demand on the Main Line!

While I haven’t thrown my Open House signs away, they are in the back closet for now! My ‘go bag’ is full of video equipment instead.

Home Office Design Tips

What used to be a “like to have” on buyer’s wish lists has become a “must have” not only now but into the future as our way of life has changed due to COVID-19. Working from home, remote college classes and public schooling at home make this a very complicated, challenging part of interior design – and a must have as we face an ongoing battle over the next 18-24 months.

Award winning interior designer Christina Henck, owner of Henck Design offers Home Office Design Tips LIVE that can help even the most awkward home office convert to a functional, pleasant space. Check out Christina’s Portfolio of amazing transformations in Center City and the Main Line and click below to view our LIVE broadcast.

Complications of multi-generation home schooling and working remotely can overwhelm and challenge even the best planned home office.

I don’t feel so bad about my home office “studio” in the man cave when I see national late night hosts like Seth Meyers broadcast from his attic! 🙂

Having a well designed home office is no longer just a luxury amenity. Working with luxury buyers relocating from New York recently, we needed to find space for both parents and the kids to be able to work/school from home, along with space for music and art.

Luxury amenities like a home office and home gym don’t have to come at luxury prices!

Two examples for you – both under $300K!

Gorgeous move-in ready Germantown rehab offered for only $219K and includes finished basement perfect for home gym, plus 3rd floor loft that can function as a 4th bedroom or large home office.

For an urban, hip lifestyle – cherish the exposed brick and luxury details in this Fishtown rehab at 2360 E Harold St. Make the 2nd bedroom your home office, gym or art studio and walk to the best food, parks, bars and community activities that make Fishtown a #1 choice.

Be sure to follow Facebook LIVE and subscribe to YouTube for future LIVE Broadcasts. And check out my Luxury LIVE interviews every Wednesday.

Did you interview your buyers agent?

Are you out looking at properties, but haven’t had a business conversation yet with your agent? If so, I have one word for you – STOP!

Top tip for home buyers – who represents you is very important for one of the biggest purchases of your life. This is what they don’t cover on HGTV or on Google. In this video, learn from my first time home buying mistakes back in the 90’s:

Before we start opening doors, I sit down with my clients in our office, a cafe or their home to go over their home buying goals for lifestyle and financials, what’s their style of negotiations, review the highlights of the contract process and share with them tips for success. In essence, we interview each other and then make a decision to work together proactively to accomplish their goals.

Let’s set up a plan for your home buying success!

Your privacy and negotiation power is only protected by hiring a buyer agent with a Buyer Agency Agreement. I’ll go over this in more detail and explain how this significantly impacts your bottom line when we meet.

To start, enjoy my Home Buyers Guide with tips on what to expect and how to interview your agent.

Check out what my clients have to say about working with me – AskMeAboutSusanna.com then let’s talk!

Craftsman style homes create value in Philly and Main Line

A recent Philly.com article featured three Philadelphia Craftsman Style homes and indicated these features generate a premium value – equal to 34% increase!

What exactly is a Craftsman Style home? According to Wikipedia:

The American Craftsman style, or the American Arts and Crafts movement, is an American domestic architecturalinterior designlandscape designapplied arts, and decorative arts style and lifestyle philosophy that began in the last years of the 19th century. As a comprehensive design and art movement it remained popular into the 1930s. However, in decorative arts and architectural design it has continued with numerous revivals and restoration projects through present times.

Click on photo for link to HGTV blog article about Craftsman Homes

With our abundance of row homes in Philadelphia, Craftsman features can be hard to find.  What are the best areas to search? Germantown, Girard Estates in South Philly, Manayunk, Roxborough and on the Main Line some of my top picks are in Ambler and Media.

What are your ideal features in a home? Let’s talk and I’ll help you find the right match!