The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all industries—including real estate. Brokerages have had to adapt to new methods of communication, create contingency plans and institute safety measures. Traditional real estate practices have been re-evaluated, and agents have had to react quickly in servicing their clients in a safe and efficient manner.
Many brokerages in South Florida have closed their brick-and mortar locations temporarily and are encouraging agents to work from home. The use of technology allows agents and their clients to function in a virtual world. Technology has made it possible for agents to instantly communicate with their clients, and the use of video applications can provide virtual tours of properties.
Even with technology, real estate transactions will still require a certain amount of person-to-person contact between buyers, sellers and ancillary providers. Agents realize that buyers still want to physically visit a home before making a significant purchase. Sellers, especially if they are living in the home, are justifiably concerned about having strangers in their homes and possibly spreading the virus. Some sellers have requested no showings until the pandemic is over. Some sellers are allowing showings but requiring prospective buyers to sanitize their hands, remove their shoes and take other safety measures. FaceTime and Skype are being used to avoid in-person interaction as much as possible while still allowing for personal communication.
COVID-19 has affected many aspects of our lives and is changing how we handle everyday life. Limiting in-person contact by staying connected via technology and social media allows some relief during this trying time. With the resulting economic turmoil, it is more important than ever to carefully consider realistic pricing. This pandemic will eventually end and, hopefully, we will come out of this stronger and smarter than before. Stay safe and healthy.
Senior vice president, broker, One Sotheby’s International Realty