As stay-at-home restrictions stemming from the coronavirus are being lifted around the country, the real estate industry is picking up quickly throughout Colorado. Sellers who had withdrawn their homes from the market when showings were halted in March are now re-listing their homes, and buyers are out in full force, capitalizing on record-low interest rates.
While real estate is considered an essential industry, there have been many changes to how buying and selling happen in Colorado as real estate agents adjust to the ever-changing health guidelines. If you’re wondering just how, exactly, home buying and selling is happening in the midst of a pandemic, we’re here to answer those questions with this inside look at the creative ways brokers are adapting and making sales happen.
Virtual Open Houses
In the era of COVID-19, open houses are out and virtual tours are in. Virtual technology is a must, and some agents are now using the latest in 3D touring, which allows buyers to move through the home on their own. Agents are also doing personal, live virtual tours to walk buyers through their listings over a smartphone or tablet and doing Facebook Live showings for groups, so the buyers can ask questions in real-time. In a recent National Association of Realtors Legislative meeting, NAR’s chief economist predicted that the end of traditional open houses and increased virtual tours are among the changes that will continue even after the current pandemic.
Increased Vetting of Potential Buyers
While virtual tours are increasingly popular because they offer buyers instant gratification rather than scheduling an in-person visit, another added bonus is that they weed out non-serious buyers. Many agents are now requiring a more robust vetting system for buyers prior to in-person visits such as requiring them to view a 3D or virtual tour prior to a showing and even requiring proof of funds or a prequalifying letter for a mortgage to ensure they are serious.
Adapting to Social Distancing
In an occupation built on personal relationships, agents are no longer driving clients to showings or shaking hands, and instead, they are stocking up on extra sanitizer and making the process as touch-free as possible. When it comes to closing the sale, many buyers and sellers are being placed in different rooms and linked together through video-conferencing apps such as Zoom. Additionally, agents must ensure buyers aren’t touching things in the home and many are making arrangements prior to showings to ensure all doors are opened, light switches are already turned on, and of course, there are plenty of rubber gloves to go around.
If you are planning to buy or sell a home in the near future, keep these changes in mind so you’ll know what to expect. Whether the changes will stick around after the pandemic is the question on everyone’s minds, but for now, much of the buying and selling process is going to depend on official regulations and people’s comfort level. As always, our best advice is to be prepared, and have clear and frequent communication with your Realtor to ensure the transaction goes as smoothly and safely as possible.