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In the Pandemic, Online Home-Buying Picks Up Speed

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A computer used for home real estate research and transactions.

First-time home buyers have the tech-smarts, and now the tools, to do all or part of their purchase online, sometimes even before seeing their new houses in person.

Credit: Jens Kristian Balle

When Kassi Horton's husband, Army Staff Sgt. Shaun Horton, received a cross-country change in assignment in the midst of a pandemic, she knew their home-buying process would be atypical.

Ms. Horton, 27, and Sergeant Horton, 28, had been living in a rental in upstate New York and felt it was time to finally purchase their first home in their new location, Colorado Springs. But they didn't want to deal with the health risks and quarantine rules involved with flying back and forth to look at properties. And they didn't have the luxury of travel time, anyway: the housing market in Colorado Springs, like many cities across America, is currently white-hot, with homes selling hours after hitting the market, often at 20 percent above the asking price.

So they jumped on an increasingly popular bandwagon for first-time buyers and made an offer on a home they had never seen in person. Eight more offers followed. For the Hortons, the ninth time was the charm, and in late January they moved into a new three-bedroom, two-bath home that they purchased entirely online.


From The New York Times

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