GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – People like convenience and flexibility – it’s evident in a lot of things we do, from getting a degree, to buying a home. Studies show more new homebuyers want even more flexibility. In addition to being able to tour when they want, one study finds 70% of people want to “unlock” properties alone. And it’s not a trend, some developers say it’s the new way to sell.

Mason and Katie Galloway are ready to leave their townhome in downtown Greenville, for something more spacious and family friendly.

“We’ve got a small backyard, but we need bigger space and then we’re eventually going to build a family so we wanted even more space for that as well,” said Mason. “We just want to get in. It’s time consuming.”

They started the search in August, but price and location weren’t the only determining factor.

“I don’t want to have somebody holding my hand through the process,” Katie said.

“You do it with the people you trust – you can express how much you like or dislike a home without having any repercussions of the salesperson there,” Mason added.

And recently that’s exactly what they did. Cothran Homes, an Upstate developer offers “self-tour instant home access” for buyers who can tour on their own time without an agent. The on demand self-serve option is growing in the new-home market.

“There is pressure. There’s pressure on both sides,” said Anthony Kent, Cothran Homes president and broker-in-charge. “Some people just want to look at a home and see if it even fits what their idea is. A salesperson may have a different agenda where they feel like they’ve got to tell them everything, but maybe (the buyer) isn’t ready to hear everything. And for some of us, we just kind to want to be left in quiet.”

Kent also says technology keeps the homebuying landscape moving forward. First with virtual tours which increased 500% at the start of COVID according to sources like Redfin, but recent reports show new homebuyers want even more options.

“When a person comes to our community they know more about our homes, our pricing, and layout than we know about them,” Kent said. “And the roles have reversed in the last couple of years because of the information that’s out there on homes.”

A report from Zillow finds 70% of new homebuyers want to unlock properties on their own, and Cothran joins other developers now offering the option.

“In the Greenville Upstate (market) we have a 4% to 5% growth rate, and when (new buyers) do come they seem to be coming on Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday,” Kent said. “They’re looking to see as many homes as they can and through the self-tour technology that we use they’re able to slot ours in earlier or later in the day on their own time.”

With developers like Cothran, using your phone you can schedule a self-tour on the spot, or find a home you want to tour, make an appointment and when you arrive enter the code you’ve obtained and the door will unlock.

“We can work with more people and give them more time and sort of have the buyers over here, and just the lookers over there,” Kent said.

A search that’s now over for Mason and Katie.

“This is our first home,” Katie said. “We’re just ready to move in and start our life.”

The Galloways say it took them 30 seconds to determine they found their dream home. Kent says it typically takes buyers roughly 90 seconds and the self-tours gives buyers more listings to view, on their own.

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