We’ve been talking about this for the past couple months on The Cyr Team Blog. We’ve been trying to speculate and plan ahead for what we expected to happen once our local real estate market opened back up. Well, certain restrictions were lifted on May 20 that will greatly improve our ability to conduct business again. However, it’s no surprise that COVID-19 regulations are being put into place to provide additional safety precautions—and a lot of things are still being figured out as we go from theory into practice.
This is a learning process for the entire real estate industry, just as it is for all businesses who have to adapt to our current situation. It’s unfortunate to have to operate with limitations, but it is what it is and we will do everything we can to make the most of our opportunities while remaining COVID-19 Compliant™.
Thankfully, The Cyr Team is well-prepared for these unusual days ahead of us. We expect it to be a fast-moving summer market to make up for lost time. Buyers have reevaluated their housing needs and are ready to move. Sellers have been patiently waiting to list or relist their properties. Hopefully, both buyers and sellers have been using this market pause to get better prepared.
Let’s take a look at a few challenges facing us with COVID-19 regulations, as well as some unique opportunities we see coming from a changing real estate process:
COVID-19 Regulations and Limitations
We fully expected there to be plenty of new regulations enacted once the Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware residential real estate markets reopened. We are taking it one step further with our COVID-19 Compliant™ pledge to conduct our real estate transactions as safely and smoothly as possible under the current COVID-19 regulations.
Before anyone can set foot in an owner-occupied property, there will be waivers to sign, health and exposure questions to answer and safety precautions to be taken such as face coverings being required at all times. And by “anyone” we mean anyone including Realtors®, home inspectors, photographers/videographers, potential buyers and contractors.
It may be awkward and uncomfortable to go through this process, but these precautions are being taken to mitigate risk. We have to do everything we can to protect everyone involved in the transaction by minimizing the potential transmission of coronavirus.
Currently, home inspections will be limited to three people—the inspector, the buying agent, and one buyer—being allowed in the house throughout the duration of the inspection. Inspection reports will need to be very detailed and they will be asked to provide more photos and videos. This way, the buyers, sellers and agents can be fully informed of all their findings.
We also expect there to be more pre-listing inspections taking place rather than home inspections that happen later in the buying process. This allows more information to be disclosed upfront and decreases the risk of major issues being found at a point where it severely hinders the ability to close on time.
Make the Most of Your Time
The new regulations and limited availability to see homes in person will put a lot more pressure on buyers to do their own research and gather as much information as possible BEFORE they are able to set foot in a property for an in-person home tour. Buyers will need to be very prepared and narrow down their searches.
Traditional open houses will not be happening and buyers will not be able to walk through a bunch of different homes to determine what they do and don’t like. They may be limited to one—maybe two—showings of any properties in which they are interested. They must utilize technology, do a neighborhood drive-by, look at satellite views and find ways to get information that will help them refine their search. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan is another big step most buyers will want to take because it proves they are a qualified buying candidate when ultimately lining up home tours and making offers. A pre-approval may also be required just to schedule a showing. Be prepared!
It’s important to remember as a buyer in this market, you are NOT operating with less information. You just have to gather your information in new ways. A bit more responsibility will be put on your shoulders (and on the shoulders of the buyer’s agent) to do the necessary research and prep work.
The Seller Experience
In many ways, this new process will be a blessing for home sellers. There will be less random people traipsing through the house and you won’t have to be bothered by as many scheduled home tours. Also, any buyers who are getting a home tour are ones with a serious interest in your property. Of course, the downside is there are less people seeing the property in person and thus less opportunity to draw purchase offers. It will be up to your listing agent to properly market the home and utilize the technological resources available to generate maximum “virtual” exposure.
As we talked about in our last blog article (“How Real Estate Technology Will Streamline the Real Estate Process”), technology is going to play a huge role in the 2020 real estate market and beyond. We are being forced to make some changes now, but we think several of these changes will be for the better. The more we explore new technological resources, the more we see the potential with these digital tools.
Home tours and open houses will be conducted virtually through advanced 3D software, videoconferencing and live social media platforms. They will be highly interactive and allow potential buyers to see just about everything in a house without having to be there in person.
Scheduling virtual home tours will be much easier, as well, because they can be done just about any time of day that’s convenient for the buyer. These will allow the buyers to do more research, gather more information and better narrow down their home searches before they start attending any in-person home tours.
In addition, more consultations and interactions will be done digitally to cut down on personal contact between agents, clients, home inspectors, home stagers and photographers/videographers. The Cyr Team has already been making the most of video chats and virtual consultations during the market pause and we will continue to utilize these tools to help enhance the communication process.
Be sure and check out the latest Cyr Team Minute:
There is going to be a learning curve for everyone and we all must make the necessary adjustments to do what we need to do as long as COVID-19 remains a threat. Nobody is happy to operate under these new regulations. Every business in every industry throughout the world is affected by this virus, and real estate is no exception. We must make the most of a bad situation by finding ways to embrace the change and operate within whatever COVID-19 regulations are in place. As we said, some of these changes may ultimately be for the better as the real estate industry definitely needs a push into the future.
If you have any questions about the changing real estate process or The Cyr Team’s COVID-19 Compliant™ pledge and procedures, please contact us today. If you are ready to buy or sell a home, we’re here to help whenever you need us!