Technology

Video chat lets agents’ smartphones do the walking for clients

More buyers getting first peek at homes through streaming video

John Goetz, a real estate agent in Bloomington, Indiana, recently showed about 10 homes to a couple who were planning to relocate to the area from another city.The couple, who had taken time off from their busy schedules to visit town for a day, didn’t like any of the listings Goetz showed them.That put the agent in a tough position. His clients were picky, had a short timetable and couldn’t easily see homes in person.Thank goodness for Google Hangouts.Goetz used the app’s video chat capabilities to show the couple properties in real time using his Samsung Galaxy smartphone.He transmitted video of around a dozen homes, sharing them through the app or through YouTube.Goetz’s clients ultimately made a successful offer on a listing they’d never seen in person, the day after “touring” the home through Goetz’s smartphone.“They actually ended up buying a house they’d never set foot in,” said Geotz, a manager at Indianapolis-based Carpente...

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