CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The real estate market is being turned upside-down by the coronavirus pandemic, and the business is changing its practices on the fly. However, realtors themselves say they are still optimistic.
Open houses have not been cancelled as a whole. Instead, real estate agents are leaving that decision up to individual home sellers.
“Are you comfortable with people in the house for an open house or not,” Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR) President Tom Woolfolk said. "We obviously have to abide by their wishes in that respect. "
Realtors say that when open houses do happen, they’re taking extra steps to make sure homes stay clean.
“I like to have like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on a little table outside the front door and just asking the buyers and to prospective buyers that are coming in, just use those before opening the door handle," Roy Wheeler Realty Company Realtor Katelyn Mancini explained. She has been turning to the internet for a creative alternative.
“I have a lot of out-of-state buyers right now who are thinking more on looking on FaceTime or doing video conference calls," Mancini said. "Then, I do video tours for them instead of them being able to walk in properties.”
Realtors are pointing to how strong the housing market was before the outbreak as a reason to stay positive. CAAR says there is still a shortage of homes on the market, and less homes for sale than meets demand.
“Looking at the spring market, which is always kind of the hot, booming time to put your home on the market I think we may just see a little bit of a delay,” Mancini explained. “Instead of the March 1, or April 1, listing boom...maybe we see that a little bit delayed, and now the fall market is going to be our new spring market.”
Some of the longstanding in-person aspects of the real estate business are going remote as well. Some title agencies have recently begun accepting payments online. When courts reopen, closing paperwork may be handled electronically as well.