Each new week brings out new adjustments to how we all conduct our business and daily lives. Real estate is no exception. So what has changed….and what has not.
Note: As of this blog, March 30th, Real Estate is still considered an essential business.
Open Houses. These are not being conducted. Rather early on, these slowed to a halt. In fact, the MLS has made it so that agents cannot even enter these postings.
Showings. These have seen a big change. They are still happening but with an entirely new twist. In the past, sellers would make their homes “show ready” such as: turn on all the lights, clean, and put out a fresh bowl of lemons or fresh flowers. And then there were the cookies. Who can resist buying a home that smells of freshly baked cookies and a sweet note from the sellers saying “Help yourselves! We are so happy you are here!” Well, the times have certainly changed. Consider a recent showing we did. Instead of the sweet scent of “buy this house” we were greeted with a small table in the front foyer. On it was a note from the seller, a box of protective gloves, booties and sanitizer. The instructions were clear about how to use the protective gear and what not to touch in the house. Quite a different way to welcome in a buyer, but necessary in these new times!
Touring Homes. Typically we would show a buyer 3 or 4 homes at one time, giving them a feel for various layouts and areas. For many buyers, this is a great way to physically get inside the home and get a sense of what they are looking for in a home. Instead, we are working with our buyers (phone and video) to help them understand the layout and features of a home well before a showing is even arranged. Virtual tours are being tweaked and better utilized. This is not only effective for the buyers, but considerate of the sellers.
Closings. This has changed quite a bit. Many closings can include buyers, sellers, agents, lenders, closers, all around one table. This is no longer permitted. Getting title work takes more time and effort, how sellers get paid has been streamlined, and for the first time in 26 years, John was not present at a client’s closing!
You can see that things are not necessarily ‘business as usual’ but real estate continues to keep us quite busy. More phone calls, more videoconferencing, of course. Overall, John and I are in contact with our clients to walk them through this ‘new normal’ and make it work for them and their specific situation. For now, our buyers and sellers are optimistic.
In fact, despite the protective gear and lack of cookies at the last showing, our buyer still fell in love with the house! Perhaps that is an indication of a hopeful, even if delayed, Spring market!
By Kristin Beise March 30, 2020