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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


Once upon a time, local buyers flocked to open houses in New York City, while personalized video tours tended to be reserved for out-of-state and international buyers working with long-trusted brokers who wanted to buy high-end properties (a criterion was once $1.5 million and above) in New York, but not sight unseen. However, with traditional real estate showings suspended until New York City enters Phase Two of the four-part reopening - and even then, required to take place with new health and safety precautions - brokers and agents have gotten creative to allow local buyers to tour potential apartments of all sizes and price points without leaving their home. This can include anything from slickly produced videos to high-tech virtual tours to FaceTime and Zoom tours.
Real estate was deemed an essential business early in the shutdown, which allowed brokers to visit properties...with phones in hand to conduct FaceTime or Zoom tours with clients. It is true that this type of tour can be less polished than other virtual counterparts, but this lends an air of authenticity that some buyers find refreshing in an age of glossy virtually staged photos.
Don't let this happen to you - ask to look at the views on your FaceTime tour!
Moreover, FaceTime and Zoom tours differ from video tours in that they are not "directed" by the selling agent. Often buyers feel that video tours show the apartments in their best light versus a FaceTime tour where they can explore all the nooks and crannies and, sometimes, things a seller would prefer to not show.

Esther Patten of Compass says, “I often find that virtual tours can be distorted and make it difficult to truly see the space. FaceTime is interactive, it’s live, talking and discussing what do you think? Clients will say, ‘Wait step back, let me see the kitchen again. I want to see the view to the south.’ My buyer and renter both had specific requests while on FaceTime.”

“My client wanted to see inside of the closet, she wanted to see the bathroom and she wanted to see the view outside of the window. I could zoom in on any detail she wanted.” - Esther Patten

For example, years before the pandemic, Douglas Elliman broker Donna Renna worked with a buyer from Italy who requested FaceTime tours. “I send my buyer the listings and he reads the floorplans and details. I make appointments with him and the broker. I walk in the building and he’s with me. I show him hallway, I take him into the elevator (some have WiFi). It gives him the whole experience. I bring him into the apartment step by step, the hallway, the landing, the foyer, the kitchen. I show him all the details.”
More recently, Page Six reported that a producer of “The Real Housewives of NYC” bought a waterfront home in Connecticut after going on Zoom tours and doing the final walk-through via FaceTime. In New York City, Kathy Murray of Douglas Elliman noticed that this medium allowed her to “meet” only the most serious buyers, telling The New York Times that “open-house tourists” rarely bothered with virtual showings. She adds, “Once they want a FaceTime tour, they tend to be more serious about making a deal.”
A residential street in Astoria, Queens A residential street in Astoria, Queens

Listings with FaceTime Tours
501-West-123rd-Street-01 501 West 123rd Street via Bond NY
From the listing:Sun-drenched, oversized apartment boasts wood floors, a well-designed enclosed terrace, and wonderful views from floor-to-ceiling windows facing west over Morningside Gardens and to Riverside Church. Individual FaceTime tours are available for this unit. See floor plan and full details here.

184-Kent-Avenue-01 Austin Nichols House via Rise Media/The Corcoran Group
From the listing: Beautifully combined custom condo features an immense open and top-of-the-line modern kitchen, over-12' ceilings, smoke oak herringbone floors throughout, luxurious fixtures and finishes, custom built-ins, multiple walk-in closets and an open living and dining space. Personalized FaceTime tours are available upon request. See floor plan and full details here.

400-East-85th-Street-01 400 East 85th Street via Digs Realty Group
From the listing: As you walk into this oversized and newly renovated Upper East Side home, you are greeted by light and views from every room, and beautiful sunsets just before dusk. Video walk-throughs and FaceTime tours are available upon request. See floor plan and full details here.

552-West-43rd-Street-01 West 43 via Compass
From the listing:Reached via key-locked elevator, this industrial-chic condo boasts high ceilings, oversized windows, abundant natural light, open concept layout, and open chef's kitchen. FaceTime tours are available by appointment. See floor plan and full details here.

50-East-89th-Street-01 Park Regis via Sotheby's
From the listing:This sun-flooded Upper East Side home with a private balcony has been fully gut renovated with the finest finishes and attention to detail, including an open chef's kitchen with a custom Caesarstone island with a built-in Wolf microwave. FaceTime and Zoom tours are available for this unit. See floor plan and full details here.

125-West-96th-Street-01 125 West 96th Street via Douglas Elliman
From the listing:Oversized apartment in a beautifully maintained building features an enormous sunken living room with wrought-iron railings, a separate dining foyer, abundant closets, and 9' ceilings. FaceTime and Zoom tours are available for this unit. See floor plan and full details here.

Additional Info About the Building

Contributing Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman Michelle writes children's books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle's first children's book, "Urban Babies Wear Black." Michelle has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics.
Luxury Homes in Midtown | Newly Renovated Studio-2BR Homes View Property
Spacious 1 Bedrooms with outdoor space and in-residence w/d View Property
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