When the pandemic hit, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey classified real estate as an essential service. Assisting home sellers and buyers continued unabated by many real estate professionals. There have been, however, some major changes in the real estate industry. With these changes, the industry is continuing to evolve and realtors are continuing to serve their clients with the highest of standards and safety in mind.
Technology is something that many realtors have been leveraging for years, but only now has it become an absolutely necessary means of conducting business. On the selling side, it is now expected to offer a virtual tour, video or interactive 3D-tour of the property. These virtual tours afford buyers a safe and comfortable means of viewing while quarantined or sheltering in place. According to a study, “… Forbes found that those who are delaying their search are largely still looking at available listings. 28% still report looking at listing photos and 25% reported taking video tours. In fact, 30% reported looking at available listings more often than before their search was impacted by coronavirus.”
If you have your home up for sale, merely having photos available will most likely not do the trick. Some agents have introduced virtual open houses using live platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and even booking appointments through ZOOM. People still need to sell, even in the midst of a pandemic (or maybe as a result of the pandemic). The professional you choose to handle your sale should be able to understand and explain how these new media will benefit and add value.
On the buying side, agents have been utilizing real-time apps such as FaceTime, WhatsApp and others to show homes when a buyer is quarantined, or unable to travel. If a buyer is unable to go in person, an agent can simply take a video of the home with a phone and send it to the client for viewing at a later time. We have seen many fully executed contracts without a buyer physically viewing a home.
You may have received electronic forms to sign in the past; however, lately this is the preferred method of signing real estate purchase contracts and listing agreements. There are many platforms that professionals use to provide the buyer and seller a simple click-and-done process. It is important to note: you should still have a licensed professional explain the details of what you are signing before you click through to the end. Some title companies have been doing parking lot or drive-up signings. You literally sit in the parking lot and they will bring you the documents to sign. Wow, our world is truly a changing landscape!
With the state beginning to open back up, we are seeing Open House signs and physical buyers returning to the market. With this comes the responsibility of added safety for all parties. The National Association of Realtors recommends only one buyer enter a home at a time, with six feet of “social distance” between each guest. NAR also recommends agents have potential buyers wash with soap and water or hand sanitizer when they come in the door. Visitors also should remove their shoes and wear a mask. Additionally, children should not be present at showings. Because these are unprecedented times in which we are living, it is critical that real estate agents get creative in advertising, virtual touring and implementing high levels of safety.
It will be interesting to see what the next few months, or even years, will hold for us. But, please know that we are still here to help, provide value, insight and market knowledge where needed. Be certain that, when selecting a real estate agent to assist you, you are enlisting a professional who is up-to-date and knowledgeable on current local, state and federal guidelines, and that they know how to utilize modern technologies to assist in maintaining a “clean” transaction (hand-washing pun intended).
Thank you to all our first responders and medical personnel. We are so grateful. #inthistogether FBN
By Blake Cain
Blake Cain is a REALTOR with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s Intl. Realty. He can be reached at 928-856-9071 or visit him online at blakecain.com.