It’s no surprise that the Coronavirus has made its impact on the real estate industry. The virus has forced the real estate industry to adjust their business and services. How has the industry adapted to this new normal?
Real Estate Agents
The Covid-19 pandemic is really teaching us how we need to adjust and learn new ways to transact in this business. Transitioning into the digital and virtual world is more important now than ever. Currently, because of the state of the market, agents need to be more creative than they’ve ever been to have their listings stay relevant. Many are scrambling to have more of a virtual presence, from doing 3D tours, virtual presentations, virtual showings of a property, and having video previews of their listings.
FaceTime or other video chats are being used to help buyers walk through a property. Virtual open houses that are broadcast on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms are another new tool to expose a listing to everyone without a potential buyer even needing to be in the area.
Agents have been forced to be even more agile, while simultaneously ensuring the safety of their clients and their families. Here are some examples of how procedures have changed with how agents conduct showings of a property:
In-Person Showing Preparations
- Property showings by appointment, in lieu of open houses, to reduce the number of persons in a property at any given time.
- For owner or tenant-occupied properties, request that the seller or tenant open all cabinets, closets, window coverings, and to turn on lights before leaving the property.
During In-Person Showing
- Adhere to social distancing recommendations, and maintain a minimum of six feet of space between persons at all times.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Limit the number of persons who may attend a showing, such as only four people total.
- Require all persons entering a property to immediately wash their hands or to use hand sanitizer, remove footwear or wear booties, and wear a face mask or covering, and gloves.
- Instruct buyers and others touring the home to avoid touching any surfaces in the home, such as light switches, cabinet and door handles.
- Instruct buyers and guests not to use bathroom facilities at the property.
After In-Person Showings
- Wipe down any surfaces touched during the showing with a sanitizing wipe or disinfecting cleaner, as requested by the seller, and suggest the seller also disinfect the property.
- Wipe down the key and lockbox with a sanitizing wipe or disinfecting cleaner after use.
- Speak with buyers outside of the property or in a ventilated area while maintaining a distance of 6 feet, or arrange to speak by phone or email.
- Do not provide any paper documents, and instead follow up with any information electronically after you leave the property.
- Maintain a detailed log of interactions to enable contact tracing, to include names, dates, and locations of interactions, as well as a party’s contact information.
Banks and Lenders
Some banks are doing drive-by appraisals with properties that are already under contract and relying on virtual tours and images that already exist for the property to get values.
Escrow companies have made adjustments to signing procedures at their offices. Dividers have been installed in their conference rooms and undergo sanitation after each signing. Some are also offering mobile or drive-by signings where the escrow officer will go to the client to administer the signing.