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Has the Pandemic Changed the Consumer Mindset?

posted on Thursday, September 17, 2020 in Realtor News

image of couple looking at boxes from move

The coronavirus has changed a lot for us this year, but has it changed what our customers want? Do people feel differently about homeownership than they did before, and what are they looking for from professionals like you and me? To find out, Ellie Mae surveyed over 400 consumers to understand their opinions about buying, selling, and owning a home in the age of COVID-19. Below are some of the key takeaways to help you better understand the consumer mindset and ensure you’re delivering the type of experience they’re looking for.

Buying, Selling or Staying Put? 

77% of survey respondents were current homeowners. Of that group, 24% were planning to sell their home in the next 6 to 12 months.

  • Do you own your home? 
    • No: 23% 
    • Yes: 77% 
  • Are you considering selling your home in the next 6 - 12 months? 
    • No: 76% 
    • Yes: 24% 

In the non-homeowners group,  50% of respondents were planning to buy  within the next year.

  • Top reasons for wanting to move: 
    • Ready for a Change: 11.8% 
    • Upsizing: 9.6% 
    • Downsizing: 7.8% 
  • Other reasons they cited: 
    • "House needed work/remodeling I didn't want to do." 
    • "Want more of a country life." 
    • "Be closer to family." 

90% of respondents still think owning a home is a "good" or "somewhat good" investment. When asked whether the coronavirus has changed their outlook about buying and selling a home, 59% said they felt optimistic about the market at this time. 

Communication & the Sales Process 

Email is still the No. 1 choice when it comes to getting information from a lender or agent.

Preferred communication methods: 

  1. Email
  2. Phone
  3. In Person
  4. Text
  5. Online Portal or Chat
  6. Social Media 

82% of buyers are comfortable using e-sign to close the transaction,  but that doesn’t mean they want everything to be digital. The majority of respondents prefer to view a home in person, over any other method.

Preferred methods for viewing properties 

  • In Person: 76.9% 
  • Online Databases (e.g. Zillow, 41.4% 
  • 3D Tours: 36.8% 
  • Virtual Tours: 36.0% 
  • Video Conferencing: 27.7%
  • Social Media: 12.9% 
  • Local Social Networks (e.g. Patch, Nextdoor): 6.5% 
  • Other: 2.7% 


  • "The timing of my house purchase was beyond good. It was perfect." 
  • "Interest rates are excellent. Owning a home is always the right choice if you can afford it and live in a reasonable market." 
  • "I don't think that [the] coronavirus will have a big negative impact on the real estate marketing in the long run." 

Read the full survey report and methodology here

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