Today, our world is at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The real estate market was in a decent position before this crisis began. In Northwest Indiana, home sales were up in February 2020 above February 2019. A short supply of homes in many places limited the number of transactions possible. At the same time, low interest rates also made buying a home more affordable and kept the volume of sales elevated. In short, the market looked great, and then the coronavirus spread.
The big question now is, how much will this pandemic hurt the local real estate industry now and in the future? And what, as real estate agents and clients, can we do to help keep the industry going strong?
Here are some ways we can give you, our client, the best service we can, while allowing all of us to stay as safe and healthy as possible. We realize that with all this transition and economic chaos, there may be more people in need of moving or relocating due to job changes, or downsizing to make things a bit more simple in life. Circumstances like this, and the large financial impact of home/property ownership, are a couple reasons real estate is considered an “essential business” by Indiana’s governor.
Our location impacts our actions. If you’re reading this, and you’re not in Northwest Indiana, then these options may not be applicable. We are attempting to stay current to the changes as they happen, but as of today, March 31, 2020, the following is where we are at with local real estate.
During something like a pandemic, real estate can feel quite uncertain. You need to know there are some great options that we can take advantage of to keep buying and selling homes! Here are ways that we can help you with your real estate goals during times like this…
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU WITH REAL ESTATE DURING A PANDEMIC:
- INITIAL VIDEO CALL: If you aren’t a current client, we would be happy to have an initial call with you via video conferencing. We can discuss how we would help you sell your home, or how we can help you find the home you need. Many apps allow for this and it’s a great way for us to explain what we can do for you without any risk of exposure. Give us a call!
- VIDEO TOUR LISTINGS: If we are working with you as a seller, we will put together a great video tour of your home. We can then use that video in all our marketing. You can share it with your social networks too. We will go through each room and give home searchers a thorough and accurate video overview. These can be marketed online and we will be available to answer any questions potential buyers may have.
- VIRTUAL HOME SHOWINGS: For our buyer clients, if you are not comfortable with touring a home but really want to get a decent first look we would be happy to go through the home with a video camera. Whether recording the showing or doing it livestream with you on the other end, this could give you a good first look at the property without any risk of exposure. We will take proper precautions for ourselves.
- VIDEO CONFERENCING: While we would prefer to sit down with our clients and discuss things in person, the government-dictated social distancing here in Indiana simply does not make that easy. Alternatively, we can implement video conferencing with you using free apps like Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.
- IN-PERSON SOCIAL DISTANCING: If there is a reason we need to meet in person, we will accommodate your needs while always practicing the 6-ft social distancing guidelines. This will also be the protocol for in-person showings. We may not be able to walk through the home right by your side, but we can still make it happen if all parties agree!
- PHONE CALL UPDATES: As always, we will communicate via phone calls at every step of the process. Keeping you informed and up-to-date is important. We pride ourselves on great communication and will not allow this pandemic to change that.
- E-SIGNING: Many transactions today, even before the pandemic, use e-signing as a quick and easy way to read and sign documents involved. That has become even more important now and we will use e-signing for those documents that need your signature. They are sent via email to concerned parties in the transaction.
- DRIVE-THRU CLOSINGS: Many of our local title companies have started drive-thru closings where you stay in your vehicle and the closing agents bring the documents to you for signing. This is a great option for those that will be closing on properties during this time. In-person closings are still happening but only with strict precautions.
Real estate is considered an essential business. No one knows how long the social-distancing and non-essential business lockdowns will last at this point. We are confident that the steps above will allow us to best represent our clients and continue the business of real estate during this time. We are also willing to learn new techniques if needed.
Don’t be scared to list your house or consider houses to buy! While things are certainly different, they are not impossible. We are committed to helping you achieve your real estate goals!
Please call us with any questions or reach out to us on our CONTACT PAGE.
Kristen and Sheri
(We are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and are following their guidelines in our practices. If you’re a real estate agent or would like to know what information is being given to agents, here is a link to their website. NAR COVID-19 GUIDELINES.)