Horse Island is a 157-acre private island off the southwest coast of Ireland, and it recently sold for 5.5 million euros (about $6.3 million USD) after the successful buyer watched the real estate video promoting the island, but never actually visited the location. Negotiations mostly took place using WhatsApp.
Here's the promotional video for Horse Island in West Cork, Ireland, and I think you'll see why the buyer was so keen to purchase as the video is impeccably produced and makes the location look amazing:
The real estate agency that sold Horse Island, Montague Real Estate, were engaged to find an island for the European buyer in December 2019, and they had to work hard to get the sale over the line. Horse Island had been on the market since 2018, and had been priced significantly higher.
Alex Robinson of Knight Frank, one of the agents involved in the sale, said "The sale of Horse Island is a great example of some significant deals that have taken place during lockdown and we are thrilled to have been part of it."
This is not the only situation where video and online media is selling homes. In New York buyers are spending $2 million to $6 million on 130 William, an unfinished development in the financial district, and they are doing so based on online material that is customized for each apartment, including the view residents will get from the windows.
While this shows the power of a great real estate video as a tool for accurately and compellingly showcasing a very unique property, not everyone thinks that buying a home just from seeing a video is a good idea.
Bill Nimmo from Wells Fargo Private Bank told The New York Times that “While various video technologies are changing how we travel and what we need to see live, I would not advise nor endorse buying any real estate sight unseen. It can make sense to put a property under contract before visually seeing it, but not to close on it without seeing it live.”
Survey shows buyers and sellers more comfortable with online-only sales
However, the risks associated with the coronaviruspandemic has led to more buyers feeling comfortable about online-only purchases.
According to a recent survey from Zillow, 36% of Americans say they are more likely to try to buy a home entirely online during the coronavirus pandemic, and 30% say that even after the current outbreak ends, they would do the same.
As one buyer said, "We didn't feel safe getting on a plane so having these digital tools on Zillow allowed us to narrow down our search and find the right home for us and our 8-year-old son. After our real estate agent provided a video tour, we had the confidence to make an offer."
When it comes to selling a home during the pandemic, 43% say they are more likely to try an online-only approach, and when the current pandemic ends 33% say they would be more likely to try and sell a home entirely online.
Real estate agent Erin Krueger has sold 10 homes sight-unseen during the 3-month lockdown so far, and that's twice as many as they sold that way throughout the whole of 2019.
According to Krueger, "People are realizing they can make some very big purchases from afar. Now we're equipped with the systems and processes to serve our clients virtually when they can't be there in person, and that's absolutely been accelerated by the pandemic. Our clients are very happy with their new homes."
Whether you're a real estate agent, or a homeowner thinking of selling, consider including a video tour to maximize the effectiveness and reach of your next real estate marketing campaign.