I hope you and your family are doing as well as possible during this surreal, unprecedented time. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives is profound, and many of us are adjusting to the “new normal” of working from home, supporting our school-age kids as they navigate distance learning, and staying connected virtually with our friends and family. Like you, I’ve sometimes eye-rolled at the constant presence of technology in our modern lives, but now am grateful for the connection it is providing our families with co-workers, teachers, loved ones and online businesses that help us social distance by staying home.
Our hearts go out to those of you who have been financially impacted because of lay-offs, furloughs, pay-cuts and reduced cashflow in your businesses. Fortunately, there are many resources available for both workers and business owners to help them survive, both short- and long-term, and we’ve provided a list of local, regional and national programs that you might find helpful.
We are fortunate to be categorized an “essential business,” and have made many adaptions to adhere to current, “stay-at-home” guidelines. As a small real estate group, we’ve been able to pivot many of our business procedures to be more virtual using technology, and most of all, with the “in this together” cooperation of our real estate colleagues and clients.
Here are a few of the many accommodations we are making to protect the health of our team, colleagues and clients:
- Everyone on our team has been working remotely for the last four weeks.
- We are connecting with our clients virtually whenever possible to answer their questions about the real estate market.
- We are coordinating virtually with lenders, title companies, home inspectors and appraisers.
- Although we’re always trying to find ways to reduce our environmental footprint, we are especially focused on sharing documents digitally when at all possible to reduce the exchange of physical paperwork.
- Fortunately, we were early adopters of technology to market homes, and we’re used to presenting our listings online through various channels including our website, our social media channels, and our email newsletters.
As for showings, we are trying to limit in-person showings as much as possible, and are encouraging our buyers and sellers to embrace inventive ways to show and tour homes virtually:
- We are asking our sellers to have the homes they are still living in ready for an informal video walk-through, similar to the way they would have for an in-person showing.
- We are asking potential buyers and their agents to substitute a first-time, in-person showing with a video tour.
- When we do offer an in-person showing, we are asking our sellers to turn all lights on and leave all doors open to reduce physical contact with hard surfaces like light switches, door knobs and openers.
- Our team is wearing masks, gloves and booties during all showings, whether the home is occupied or not, and keeping a physical distance of at least six feet from others.
- We are asking agents and their potential buyers to wear masks, gloves and booties during a showing.
The real estate industry as a whole has moved quickly to help sellers and buyers pursue their real estate goals despite the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few headlines:
- Reputable inspectors and appraisers are taking extra precautions by asking homeowners, buyers and real estate agents to not be present while they perform their work.
- Inspectors and appraiser are wearing safety gear including gloves, masks and booties.
- Lenders have made accommodations for “drive by” appraisals and more efficient employment verification to help loan processing more forward.
- When possible, all entities important to a real estate transaction are providing digital documents and digital signing options.
We will continue to provide you with information on how the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidelines for social distancing are affecting the local real estate market. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for advice as you consider your real estate goals going forward. In the meantime, we wish you good health and peace.