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The Virtual Normal in Real Estate

Posted by Kim Casey on Thursday, April 16th, 2020 at 8:58pm.

We all hope to get back to our “normal” lives sooner rather than later, but unfortunately, we have no way of really knowing how long this “new normal” will have to last. Most of us have had to pivot and adapt to COVID19 to figure out new ways to best service our clients during this time. Real estate may slow down for some, but for others it is a necessity to be an active participant in the real estate market. As a divorce real estate specialist, I’ve learned that some people have discovered they are no longer compatible or perhaps a separation had already begun when COVID19 entered the scene. When divorce happens, real estate transactions are commonly involved, and the divorcing couple needs to be able to work with a real estate professional who can help them during this vulnerable and difficult time. In other cases, there are people who simply have to sell due to a loss of employment and other times a property becomes an estate and the heirs have a need to sell. Not all people have the means or desire to take on additional real estate that includes added maintenance and taxes at the minimum. There will still be a need to buy and sell, and people deserve to have the best experience possible. So what experience are they now receiving? Let's take a look at the Virtual Normal that has quickly arrived on the real estate scene.

New Way of Listing

We are still listing properties, just in a different manner for the time being, and possibly even going forward. When taking listings, agents are now streamlining the process to one day.  All paperwork can be done remotely. The agent will come to your home to take the listing photographs, video tour, and any measurements they need. Agents have been working to up their photography game until their trusted professional photographers are able to come back to work. Thankfully, there are many great apps to help with this temporary change. Virtual staging can even be done to further enhance the property. Potential sellers can also send a video or current photographs for the Realtor to conduct their analysis. The numbers do not lie, and a visual is one piece of due diligence needed to begin tightening the numbers on the comparable sales. Vacant listings are even easier for an agent to pop in while following CDC’s safety guidelines, and get eyes on the property to provide the numbers needed to list the home. 

New Way of Showing

One thing many agents are doing to continue to keep everyone's personal safety in mind is to ask sellers to turn on lights in all rooms and open all doors, drapes, and any cabinets potential buyers may want to see to minimize the chance of anyone having to touch anything. The only people entering the home during showings are the people potentially making the purchase, and they should not touch any surfaces. The agents should be wearing gloves, using disinfectant on the lockbox, keys, and doorknobs. Sellers should sanitize after showings for extra safety.  Everyone at the appointment should follow the 6 foot apart rule. Agents are able to do private, virtual tours for their clients as well, hereby completely eliminating having the buyers in the home for the first viewing.   

New Way of Tours/Open Houses

There is a new, virtual way of hosting open houses and tours that remove in person meetings.  They can be done utilizing video, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, and Facetime. Open houses are not just done on Saturdays and Sundays anymore. They can be done any day of the week now that so many people are working from home, and you can host them for shorter time periods while still reaching a broad audience. This mixes it up a bit which is never a bad thing in my opinion.  Virtual tours are made available online and can be sent to clients and interested parties.

New Contract Processes

New forms have been created to protect buyers and sellers from unanticipated delays and changes in a transaction due to COVID. Inspections are being done completely different with the home inspector being the only one present while conducting the inspection. The clients may attend virtually. Appraisals have been temporarily waived for certain loan types. Documents can now be signed and notarized remotely which enables remote closings to take place. 

All pieces of the process have been structured in a new way to best protect the safety of all parties involved but still enable the necessary transactions to be completed in a thorough and diligent manner.

 

Kim Casey

Cell: 860.941.4842

Email: kim@seaportre.com 

Commercial Agent, Real Estate Consultant

Seaport Commercial | Seaport Real Estate Group

Offices in Mystic, Old Lyme and Essex

Group Qualifications To be Your Guide: B.S. Real Estate (UCONN),

MBA, Former Appraiser, Top 1% of Agents, Graphic Designer, Social Media Expert

1 Response to "The Virtual Normal in Real Estate"

Tim Bray wrote: Well written Kim Casey. It seems like policy and procedures are changing on a daily basis. I am looking forward to future insight and blogs.

Posted on Friday, April 17th, 2020 at 11:26am.

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