Edward Smith" />

Photo via De Young Properties.

published on April 13, 2020 - 2:20 PM
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With home viewings limited to virtual-only tours due to coronavirus, one bright note came out of the world of residential real estate when one home builder launched and sold its new homes in near-record amounts and completely online.

De Young Properties launched the final phase of its newest community last month. In a 24-hour period on March 25, 68% of the De Young RidgeView Community’s 16 homes were purchased using entirely virtual methods.

De Young Properties’ RidgeView community at Locan and Teague avenues in Clovis now totals 58 homes. All of its original phases have already sold.

“To us, it was unprecedented, it was the first time we’ve ever completely sold and launched a community in a virtual setting,” said Ryan De Young, president of De Young Properties.

In the past, homebuyers would begin the home-buying process with a virtual tour, but then still see the physical layout. But with shelter-in-place orders, showing homes became near impossible.

Customers took virtual tours of model homes, looking at elevation plans and room-by-room pictures and videos. They personalized kitchen finishes and met with brokers. Drones offered homebuyers views of the neighborhood.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, selling 68% of a community on an opening day was a near record. Normally, they’ll sell anywhere from 33% to 75% — which was their record.

“I also chalk it up to our ability to adapt and quickly take the resources we have curated already and set that up in a way that is easily experienced by customers in a virtual setting,” said De Young.

In the past, homes may have been sold with an initial virtual viewing, but this past Saturday, “every aspect of the purchase process was done virtually.” A lot of the resources to sell online already existed, but when the coronavirus broke out, they worked to streamline those processes. De Young credits a lot of the interest garnered in their home to their followers on social media. “When we launch, people are following us,” he said.

De Young says that this may become a norm going into the future. People still value being able to go and see a new model home in-person, he says, but out of this crisis may come innovation.

“What this showed was that businesses in our community can adapt and we can continue to move forward,” De Young said. “What we saw this last Saturday is people continuing to make plans for their life, just in a virtual setting.”

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