Listings, Viewings & Covid 19
Monday Apr 13th, 2020
I thought it might be time to comment on Real Estate and Covid 19 regarding the reality of our new world. I have had a couple people ask why Real Estate has been deemed an essential service. Think about this for a minute. While you are reading this are you indoors? Are you at home? Is there a roof of some sort over your head? I hope the majority of you can answer yes to those questions. Anyone who did say yes just answered your own question. Real Estate will always be essential as long as people need buildings! When this state of pandemic began there were people in the middle of moving, people who just sold their present homes and need a new home, people who are finding it impossible to remain in their present home so are having to sell and find a new home, people who have changed jobs or lost their jobs and need to relocate...etc. etc. I understand not everyone NEEDS a REALTOR ® to do this (hats off to those who have been successful in buying or selling on your own) but a lot of people do not know the first thing about the process and not only NEED but APPRECIATE the expertese a REALTOR ® brings to one of the biggest investments people make during their lifetime.
With Covid 19 comes some very challenging times in peoples lives. Not only in Real Estate, of course, but so many things have changed in our world. For the first few weeks it just all felt so surreal. I am not sure it has even completely sunk in to everybody even yet. My biggest challenge is lonliness! I very much want to see my Grandsons and my children and it's been a terrible heartache to stay away. Thank goodness for the internet and technology that allows us to see our loved ones virtually or I would have been done!
This is proving a challenge for us who work in this industry as well. We have a lot of guidelines to follow in order that we keep our clients and their families safe. This goes for buyers and sellers alike. Not all sellers are willing to allow people in to their home including their REALTOR ®. (that is their perogative and "The Saskatchewan Realtor Association" has relaxed a couple rules to accomodate those people. They are still allowed to keep their listings up and not allow showings through this pandemic when the rule normally will not allow a listing to be on the MLS if there are no showings allowed). We are attempting to adapt our technology to accomodate virtual open houses which is fantastic! Also, we have had vitual tours for a long time and they are a wonderful tool to help buyers get a look at potential properties. I am not 100% comfortable with the idea of people writing offers on properties they have not seen in person but there are ways to keep clients safe.
I have not done a lot of showings since this all started but when I have there is a strict process that I follow and have my clients do prior to entering sellers properties. Prior to showings with buyers or sellers allowing showings at their properties, I have clients fill out a questionnaire about their possible exposure and habits to evaluate their risk factors. I am also asking REALTORS ® of the homes my buyers are interested in seeing to have their seller fill out and send me a copy of the questionnaire as well. I don't even leave my house without washing my hands first. When I get to a property, prior to getting out of my vehicle, I put my mask on, sanitize my hands, put rubber gloves on and open my handle with a fresh papertowel. I have my clients also put masks on, sanitize and wear rubber gloves throughout the entire showing. My gloves or mask do not come off until I am back to my vehicle where I sanitize again after taking them off. I never reuse rubber gloves. My clients get to keep the mask I give them and my mask gets washed and changed out often. There are a lot of extra steps to do our best to ensure no germ transfer takes place.
Also, I want to point out, if I have to go into public buildings for groceries or other errands I do this entire same process to minimize being exposed to the virus even when not conducting business. Not all the other REALTORS ® are coming to the office these days but even here we are all taking precautions sanitizing & or washing our hands upon entering. Nobody enters without a mask. We social distance and any time we step out of our offices into common areas we all have masks on. Then sanitize and/or wash our hands prior to leaving.
This has been and continues to be scary for people and it's easy to fall into moments of lonliness and depression. Many of us are worried about the economy with good reason. The market is in question as well and there have been some predictions of doom and gloom. I am doing my best to try and stay positive regardless of the gloom, I am keeping busy with listings, doing my research and also catching up on some filing and house keeping. What's going to happen after the pandemic conditions lift...there are no crystal balls. As I said in the beginning, the trade in Real Estate will always be "a thing" but these are unprecidented times in a lot of our lives. I am suprised at how many transactions have continued during the past few weeks. Some people are going to be hit pretty hard financially and we are definately going to see some effects from that. Possibly more listings, prices coming down further, I believe its going to continue to be a buyers market for some time. Some predictions are saying the market will crash in June and intrest rates will begin going up to help pay for the money that has gone out for relief. I am not sure about a complete crash but I can definately see intrest rates climbing. The money that has gone out will have to be replaced somehow....something has to give. It's going to be a tough time all around I think.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about how I/we could improve the steps we are taking I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or contact me directly