Pandemic Innovations/Changes – Loss of Day One Buyers – First in a Series

I’m going to take notes as we make our way through this COVID-19 crisis. When we come out of this, there are going to be a lot of changes. I’m going to focus on real estate (for now). This is the first post in what’s likely to be a series. This one is focused on buyers in Charlottesville. Next is focused on sellers in Charlottesville.

Recently seen/heard instructions on new listings in Charlottesville

  • “Serious buyers only please”
  • “Must have pre-qualification for at least the purchase price.”
  • “Limited showings; must watch video first.”
  • “All offers contingent on financing should provide as much information as they are comfortable
  • regarding employment of the buyer etc.”

The Loss of Day one Buyers?


I commonly tell listing agents when showing property that “it’s day one; my folks don’t yet know what they want.” I commonly hear a variation of that when representing sellers.

That is part of the pre-Quarantine process.

Now? Sellers are rightfully being much more resistant to strangers walking through their homes, touching things, opening doors, occasionally using bathrooms without permission (yes, it happens).

Showings are harder, if not impossible right now. That will change, but now matters.

  • Video tours have rapidly become common (sadly, and shortsightedly, a lot of these are on facebook).
  • Matterport tours are much more common.
  • “Video” tours – which are essentially photos stitched together with bad music, are more obviously useless now than they were 3 months ago
  • Floorplan are thankfully becoming more common; I’m working on vetting a couple services to add to my seller representation repertoire.

So What’s a Buyer to Do?

I think this new environment could lead to an even greater reliance on great buyer representation. An agent who actually listens, not in the marketing “I’m a great listener” sense, but even more of the psychologist/coach role. Listen, interpret, ask clarifying questions, listen, ask again, prompt discussion amongst the buyer couple/family, listen again. Guide. Let them choose.

Day one may be a more detailed buyer survey, or a part 2 buyer survey. (I’m working on which of these I’m going to choose. Anyone have thoughts?), rather than my typical practice of choosing 3-5 vacant houses that seem to be within the realm of possibility rather than three that might be buying opportunities.

Why not start with the three possible best? Because neither I as the buyer agent nor the buyer know what they actually want.

Countless: the number of times a buyer starts the buying process thinking they want 2 acres 17 minutes from town and end up buying a house on .3 acres in a suburban area. Buying a home is a learning experience, both the process of, and the discovery of what’s important.

Day One is going to be different, and frankly, I don’t yet know what that’s going to be (yet)

Hire well.

Yes, it’s a self serving statement, and yes, I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you about whether we could be a good fit to work together. Here. Call or email me here. But seriously, hiring a family member might not be the right choice. Please, hire well. The right agent makes all the difference in a transaction. Or, as a friend and colleague said to me years ago,

We’re only as good as the agent on the other side of the transaction, and that scares the sht out of me

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