Close Encounters of the Real Estate KindApr 30, 2020 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
Are you wondering how the real estate industry is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Throughout the quarantine, our brick-and-mortar shops may be closed, but real estate sales are still happening. People are listing, showing, and viewing homes. Offers are coming in. But the way we do business has changed. Technology has proved to be indispensable. Virtual showings, Zoom meetings, electronic contract signatures and filings are now very normal.
A ton of traffic goes in and out of a home during a transaction. One thinks buyers and sellers of course, but there are also agents, photographers, home stagers, inspectors, appraisers, fire department personnel, public works professionals, cleaners, mechanical pros, and movers who might enter a house at some point.
With that in mind, we have been doing our best to adjust to everyone’s comfort level. Feelings of safety and comfort are not the same for every person. Being forward thinking, having an open mindset and being creative are paramount to being considerate of each individual as we go through this time.
As we adhere to CDC guidelines by wearing face masks, gloves and booties when entering a home, we ask that anyone else entering a home do the same. To give everyone a level of comfort, our company requests that sellers and visitors sign a simple disclosure that no one has been out of the country, is sick with respiratory illness, or has knowingly been in contact with anyone positive for COVID-19.
Technology allows us to offer virtual showings with a FaceTime walk-through. It’s hard to imagine someone’s purchasing a home just by visiting virtually so think of it as a great possible ‘first’ showing to a personal follow-up visit if there is interest.
When at all possible, just one person, usually the agent, is opening doors and cabinetry etc. for a buyer to view. We do our best to disinfect areas that have been touched. One of the more radical changes you will notice is that the traditional open house has become a thing of the past—well, at least for now. Agents are opting for virtual open homes, or open properties during a time frame, sequencing showings by timing and by limiting the number of people who are in a home at the same time.
Paperwork and signatures are being done electronically to minimize personal contact. Traditional closings have changed too. For now, buyers and sellers are not sitting at the same table “passing papers” back and forth. Regardless, separated by time and space, we are getting things done.
Real estate has always been social. A home sale is emotional. For me the biggest change now is that you can’t see someone’s smile behind a mask or shake their hand in congratulations. We are figuring that out, but it’s the hardest part. Regardless, along with America and the rest of the world, the real estate industry, as they teach in the Marine Corps, will improvise, adapt and overcome.
We wish you and your families good health, pray for those that are not well, and send out a public thanks to the many on the front lines who enable us to get through this as normally as possible.
Submitted by Carol Ann Palmieri (left) of Al and Cal Realty Group, RE/MAX Executive Realty. Palmieri may be reached at 508-494-9061 or [email protected].