Buying & Selling Real Estate During The Coronavirus Pandemic
COVID-19 has had an undeniable impact on the U.S. and its citizens. For workers, small business owners, and independent contractors the pandemic has not only been disruptive, but could stand to have devastating financial implications. While some real estate agents are purporting to be adopting a business as usual mindset, it is undeniable that it is certainly not business as usual for the real estate industry. As of March 23, 2020, real estate offices in Maryland must close, but agents are still allowed to meet with clients, show properties, and attend closings as long as we adhere to state and CDC guidelines. Do we still have clients in the middle of transactions? Yes. Do we still have sellers getting ready to list? Yes. Do we still have buyers who have to relocate for work or because their lease is ending? You bet. Do we still have a responsibility to protect members of our community who are most susceptible to Coronavirus? Absolutely.
For those who have asked me what I think is going to happen to the market in the coming weeks, the truth is I really can’t say. I’m not an economist nor am I an immunologist. Agents who claim to know how this is going to play out are doing their clients and their communities a disservice. What I do know is that there will always be people who want to or need to move. I know that there are ways I can serve my clients while also adhering to CDC guidelines. This is 2020 and we have the technology.
For clients in the middle of transactions, video is playing a huge role. There are deadlines that have to be met for different elements in the contract and while a lot of that work can be done remotely, something like a home inspection requires someone to venture out to the home. If an extension is not possible, then rather than bringing buyers to home inspections, we are relying on video and detailed inspection reports to keep them in the loop. Closings are being held separately and remotely.
The world does feel like it’s come to a halt over the last few days and it seems likely to stay that way for at least another few weeks. However, there are a number of things that sellers and buyers who had planned on making moves this year can work on in the meantime. Sellers who getting ready to list and are stuck at home can still work on projects like decluttering or staging. They can also prepare for renovations and repairs by picking out materials, paint colors, or contractors. As agents, we can still process photos, prepare print materials, and get the listing website ready to go so we are able to go live when the time comes. Buyers can still choose a lender and start the conversation about loan options and pre-approval. Getting ahead on these items will not only allow you to move forward quickly when things normalize, but it may also ease your anxieties about the process later on. Take the time to research, prepare, and ask questions.
As much as I know we’d all love to get back to our regularly scheduled program, now is the time to buckle down and support vulnerable members of our community by making a real attempt to flatten the curve. Remember to reach out to members of your community who may most at risk and make sure they have what they need.
Above all, stay healthy and stay kind.