Monday, April 27, 2020

New Real Estate "Rules and or Guidelines" Under Social Distancing

In Arizona and all around the Nation-- heck the world- things are changing.  With Covid-19 looming around the corner on the door handle, on a light switch perhaps even in your car, you just can’t be too careful!  Arizona has been hit, but as bad as some states. In this new normal you will notice many more Virtual tours, open houses done through video, or Facebook, sanitizer wipes in each home asking the potential buyers to make sure they use them. Buying or selling a home can be stressful even under ordinary circumstances now add all of this-- it can be overwhelming! Unfortunately, the current state of the world is far from ordinary and no one knows how long this will be our new normal. The housing market is feeling the crunch- but in some ways is becoming more efficient. As fewer buyers want to get out and shop for a home, and fewer sellers want to take a risk with selling. Brokers and Agents are finding creative ways to make it all work for their clients. Now- This isn’t to say that nobody’s buying and selling, of course; the market is just going through some changes and some tweaks.
One of the biggest changes revolves around how buyers and sellers are handling social isolation and social distancing. If you’re thinking of selling, or are in the market to buy, here are a few new “rules” to keep in mind when entering the real estate fray in the era of self-isolation.

Increasing Online Presence
One of the big changes to the real estate process is an increased dependence on online resources instead of in-person shopping. This includes lots of pictures and videos of properties being posted online, but many sellers are taking things even further than this. Recorded virtual tours, online conferences to allow buyers to ask questions about the property, and even livestream walkthroughs with a seller or agent showing the property are all increasingly popular options to supplement or even replace in-person showings and conferences.

Fewer if Any Open Houses
Open houses are a popular way to show off a property to many potential buyers, but in the current crisis these events are a big no-no. In many locales, open houses aren’t even allowed under state and federal guidance. In states where they haven’t been specifically banned, many sellers are still hesitant to hold an event that would bring multiple people into close contact with each other. Online “virtual open house” conferences are popping up as one option to adapt to this, letting multiple potential buyers come together on Zoom or a similar video conference service at the same time to get a better feel for the property that’s being sold.

More One-on-One Time
As convenient as online access and virtual tours are during the current isolation period, few if any buyers would sign on the dotted line without getting a chance to see a property in person. To accommodate this, many sellers and agents are meeting with potential buyers by appointment only. This lets a potential buyer get a good look at the property in question while also restricting the size of the meeting as much as possible. Many of these appointments are made with the understanding that if any participant feels the least bit under the weather on the day of the meet-up, then it will need to be rescheduled for another time.

Respecting Social Distancing
Even when buyers and sellers do meet up, the process is usually a little different than it used to be. Social distancing rules are usually respected, meaning that everyone involved should stay at least six feet apart at all times to prevent potential infection. Discussions about the property and general Q&As are more likely to occur outdoors in the open air, and any greetings or introductions skip out on traditional handshakes. Masks, gloves, shoe covers and hand sanitizer are commonly available on site, and many sellers go through and open all of the doors and windows to both maximize airflow and to allow interested buyers access to the entire house without having to touch doorknobs or other surfaces in order to see inside.

Closing Remotely
Remote closing—In Arizona have been approved and should be implemented very soon. The negotiations are becoming much more common, taking advantage of video conferencing to bring everyone together without actually having to be in the same room.
Now, There may be some instances where people have to meet up to actually sign paperwork because it removes that point of contact, but digital signings of the actual closing documents are more common and notaries are starting to explore the ways they can use the technology and still be in compliance with the law. Even when people do come together for closing and signing, it’s much more likely that everyone will utilize social distancing and that both parties will use their own pens instead of sharing.

As the situation evolves, so do the added measures so keep in mind it is a moving target and I have stayed on top of all the details to make sure you are getting the best care and the best team around! 

We are all in this together, and if there is anything I can do to help you buy or sell a home- please call or text me and I would be happy to help in any way I can!