Real Estate: Realtors still listing, showing, selling and closing
By Jess Barron, Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors
COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has affected everyone and everything at this point. The virus has significantly affected how we conduct real estate here in Coweta County.
Real estate brokers, lenders, and closing attorneys have been deemed “essential services” by Homeland Security as of 3/28/20. We are still listing, showing, selling and closing, but the practices have certainly changed.
Realtors are conducting more virtual showings. This involves using our phones, tablets, and other devices for videos, Facetime, etc. while we are walking through a house for a potential buyer who may not feel safe getting out to look at property in person. We are being as safe as possible while doing these video tours. We have masks at our office to wear, loads of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
On the listing side, having a strong marketing presence is more important than ever. Quality photos and especially video/virtual tours are essential at this point. More and more prospective buyers are looking online at property. Print is still important as prospective buyers may be browsing through publications, especially those that are delivered while at home.
I have seen a significant decrease in showing activity since about the beginning of April. Most people are putting off their home search or are choosing to tour properties virtually online or through their Realtor. Many sellers have pushed back their listing start date on their home until the shelter-at-home regulations have been lifted as the fear of lack of activity and being infected with the virus is of serious concern.
Closings are still occurring. In fact, virtual closings and “drive-through” closings are happening as closing attorneys are being more creative in the current climate. We had a virtual closing recently in our office, where one of our staff served as the notary. This could be become the new normal over time. Several attorneys have set up tents and outside tables for buyers and sellers to sign paperwork outside their office. I attended a closing last week and everyone there washed our hands upon arrival; and we all sat more than six feet apart during the closing.
Real estate transactions are still happening, the process is just altered. It is still a good time to buy. We are fortunate to have low interest rates for buyers, about 3.5% on average.
Coweta is fortunate to have a good school system and close proximity to both I-85 and Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Properties are still going under contract. Realtors are having to adapt and evolve.
Moving forward, the procedures for a real estate transaction may be forever altered after the effects of the virus. Time will tell.
Jess Barron is an Associate Broker with Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors and former President of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors.