Covid-19 and the Current Residential Real Estate Market, April 1, 2020

Covid-19 and Residential Real Estate

by Deb Staley

Associate Broker

RE/MAX, Realty Suburban, Inc., Lenexa, KS

A charming home in the Springtime

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I’m a full-time Realtor working in Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. What can I say about Covid-19 that you have not already heard a “jillion” times?

Actually, I can share some ideas regarding residential real estate.

First, we are considered to be “essential.” After all, there are people who have transferred, sold their home, or had a lease expire and we cannot leave people homeless.

Second, buying or selling a home is not a large group activity. There may be valid and important reasons why you need or want to sell a home right now and it can happen, safely. On the whole, though, we should not be selling homes now; we need to do our parts by self quarantining to protect others as well as ourselves. 

If you are a potential home buyer, please don’t bring extra people along when we view homes. We are only allowed to show homes to buyers who are prequalified (or cash buyers) and who are genuinely interested in that home. When you enter a home, you know within minutes if that home is for you. If it isn’t what you are looking for, let’s just turn around and leave. If the home has possibilities for you, do look around as long as you need to, but try not to touch anything. Our local board of Realtors has asked agents to wear gloves, so we can open closets or cabinets for you.

If you are a home seller, we can remind buyers’ agents to leave children at home and not to touch things unnecessarily. We must suspend all open houses until this crisis is over.  Shoe covers should always be worn. Sellers can help with this by providing a chair near the door. Sellers can also turn all lights on and open closet doors. Agents are wearing gloves while showing.

Home sellers: nearly all home buyers start their home search online. Make sure that the agent you choose to list your home has professional photos taken and a true, walkthrough video done.  By “true video,” I mean one shot by a videographer and not a so-called “virtual tour” that is nothing more than still photos strung together. Your listing agent needs to be a master at internet marketing. Agents are encouraging buyers to thoroughly review a home online before requesting a showing.

If you have an e-mail account, all contract documents can be signed online, thereby eliminating the need to touch pens or paper. At closing time though, real signatures are required, but we are carefully sanitizing tables and pens.

About the inspection process: my best inspector has thought this through and planned for it well. At this time, it is best that you do not attend the inspection. At the conclusion of the inspection, the inspector will do your verbal report via video chat and you’ll receive your inspection report through e-mail.

That’s my 2 cents worth and I wish you all safety and good health. --Deb Staley