Solutions for Buyers and Sellers with CoronaVirus Concerns

As a team of real estate agents in Baltimore, we recently have had clients wanting to sell their homes, but have legitimate concerns with the Coronavirus, and the homeowners really want to sell the property to move on with their family's personal goals.  They are asking us what the solution is to this problem and how to do this safely.

It's clear that there are a lot of buyers in the market right now and sellers are not excited to put their home on the market  Therefore only serious sellers will put their home on the market. The still dropping low-interest mortgage rates is a major incentive for buyers and is fueling those that have a strong desire to buy.

A unique problem is how we sell a house when everyone is being appropriately cautious about potential exposure to the coronavirus. Traditionally an open house with lots of people and multiple private showings is how we do it (along with some targeted marketing on the side). But, right now, the traditional way is not the safest way. 

The biggest question we as real estate agents are facing: What can we do to help solve this problem and protect everyone involved?

I’ve been staying abreast with the Maryland Department of Health for accurate and update-to-date information, reading multiple articles from CNN, CNBC, ARLNow, Baltimore Sun and other news sources, and engaging with the Greater Board of Baltimore Realtors to learn what they recommend. 

Last week, John A Harrison, president of Maryland Realtors, said “We anticipate the COVID-19 epidemic to have a significant impact on the spring buying market, but it's difficult to predict its scale.”

He goes on to say, however, “people still need a place to live. It’s [housing market] is not going to come to a screeching halt.”

My personal opinion, yes, people do still need a place to live. They also need to move due to family, work or personal reasons. However, necessary actions need to be taken in order to protect the health and well-being of the clients, agents and community. 

Buying a Home:

Buyers and Buyers Agents need to spend more time doing research during the buyer consultation. These are the key things that need to be discovered:

  • Exactly what they would be willing to buy
  • Lifestyle desires and priorities
  • Their criteria for features
  • The deal-breakers
  • Purchasing power and remodel budget
  • Property types, models, lot sizes, and all other options
  • Pros and cons of different cities, neighborhoods, and communities.

When this research is not thoroughly completed, Buyer Agent’s and their client end up touring multiple homes. 

Solution: Buyers and Buyers Agents need to have a thorough buying consultation and go as deep as humanly possible in a safe office environment, at home with a laptop, or a safe environment in which you can really explore every nuance of what you want in the house and new community. Doing the research up front saves everyone time and helps both parties involved reduce the need to drive and walk through multiple homes.

Professional buyers agents can:

  1. Do virtual consultations 
  2. Go safely preview the property for the buyer
  3. Record/do live virtual showings and house tours
  4. Set up safe private showings coordinated with the listing agents
  5. Electronic document signing 
  6. Negotiate and write offers online through electronic documents 
  7. Have deep discussions with the listing agents about the pros and cons of the property to determine whether or not that property is something that the buyer should see saving everybody a lot of time.

Ultimately keeping people safe from lots of unnecessary exposure is the protocol for buyers and sellers who have to do something now.

For home buyers, this is truly when the value of a great professional real estate agent can make the difference in not only saving time, gas - drive time, provide unique hyper-local expertise and simply protect their clients. 

Selling a Home

You want to sell your home but don't want a big open house, lots of showings, you just want only the most serious buyers to come over.  As top listing agents, we can:

  1. Ask the buyer or the buyer's agent to really think clearly about the pros and cons, the deal-breakers and everything about the property in advance of going physically. 
  2. Tell every buyer and buyers agent that the sellers have strong concerns about the CoronaVirus so please use your best judgement on who comes to the property.
  3. Reserve the right to refuse access to the property with anyone that is suspicious of showing signs of illness. 
  4. Recommend that instead of sending the whole family, maybe just send their Realtor or one family member.  
  5. Electronic document signing 
  6. Negotiate and write offers online through electronic documents 
  7. Create a customized online marketing presence to get your house in front of the right buyers 

In today's market, we actually have way more buyers than we do homes to sell therefore the workload falls really on the listing agent's ability to communicate effectively with buyers and buyers agents, but we need buyers agents to get way more specific about what their buyers want and qualifications so that we can eliminate all of that excess showing and looking at a property that isn't really what they want.

Above all Else, STAY SAFE

Again, we strongly value the safety of clients, community and team. Please remember to take precautions to keep yourself and your family healthy. Wash your hands, wash surfaces in your home, wash your smartphone and keyboards, avoid shaking hands, and don’t enter into crowds unless you have to. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, and in severe cases, pneumonia), please seek testing at John Hopkins University, the state lab in East Baltimore, or other private labs. 

For more information about COVID-19 in Maryland, visit Maryland.Gov or John Hopkins

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