Real estate in the age of COVID-19
A Letter To Our Community:
Life in America and around the world has undergone a dramatic shift this year. The impact on businesses varies widely, with some industries experiencing unprecedented demand (think toilet paper and medical supply manufacturers), while others shuttered for good (think restaurants that were struggling before and then forced to close.)
Real estate is showing to be quite resilient. The pandemic has changed a lot, but not the minds of those that decided to move. That means buyers and sellers are still interested in buying and selling, even though we're taking a few extra precautions along the way (more on that later).
When a restaurant is forced to close, people will instead eat at home. The restaurant can't recover that lost revenue because you're not going to wait to eat until the restaurant re-opens. In real estate, though, buying or selling a home may take a few weeks or even months longer than it did before, but those transactions are still taking place.
Adapting for Safety
Buyers and Renters are utilizing virtual tour technology to walk through listings and rental homes from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Every one of our listings is scanned in stunning 3D so clients can tour homes from anywhere, anytime. We're making changes to how we operate, too. When it comes time for an on-site tour, our agents are asking owners to turn on lights and open doors so that showings can proceed touch-free. Agents adhere to the 6' social distancing rule, and clients ride in separate vehicles. Our digital document signature platform allows negotiating contracts from afar, via email. Plus, our technology allows agents to work remotely so they can help clients while away from the office. We're doing our part to stop the spread by encouraging our team to work from home, holding meetings online, and limiting visitors to the office.
Industry partners are adapting as well. Lynn Langowski at Foundation Title and Trust says she is running title searches digitally, and even though the courts are closed, she can record mortgages and deeds electronically with the clerk of court, ensuring closings proceed seamlessly.
During the last recession, shady lending practices eroded the foundation of the real estate market until it came crashing down. Today, the fundamentals of the real estate market are as solid as they were before the coronavirus started to spread. The economic reaction to the virus has made historically-low interest rates even lower. Bart Rice at Rice Financial Group reports a dramatic surge in refinancing requests, and the ultra-low interest rates are too tempting for buyers to pass up.
Caring for our Community
Mr. Rogers said, "When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" We, too, are here to help. We're ordering take-out to support our favorite restaurants. We've made personal phone calls to each of our landlords, tenants, and clients to check-in and see how they're doing, answer questions, and offer support wherever we can. For those that are able, we're encouraging food donations to help those that are without. Whether a client or not, if you need help, please reach out. We'll do our best to find the resources you need.
Take comfort in knowing that this too, shall pass.
Craig R. Eaton, Broker