GREENSBORO, N.C. — Even if you’re not in the market it’s kind of fun to look at homes for sale in your area. Check out the kitchen or the decor, the bathrooms and closets. It’s also nice to see how much the home is listed for when comparing to yours.
Earlier this year the real estate market in the Triad was hoping, “It was a great market especially for sellers,” said Kriston Ashley with 360 Realty. Realtors were also seeing more homes hit the market which was great for buyers.
Then about three weeks ago as fears of the Coronavirus started becoming more and more real, the market started to slow. Buyers and sellers were hitting the pause button, “It seemed to go from great to slow pretty fast,” said Ashley. “We are seeing buyers and sellers are a little timid to enter a home or have someone enter their home,” said Ashley.
Open houses that were common for a Saturday and Sunday basically stopped in a matter of one week. With new guidelines from the state, counties and cities realtors are trying to figure out if they are considered essential or non-essential, “It seems to be a bit of a grey area depending upon the county you live in,” said Ashley.
With many of the “shelter in place” orders taking effect today realtors scrambled to get video of homes on the market so potential buyers could at least see what the home looks like from the inside. Agents are also starting to go check out properties for clients that are looking to buy, “We go to the property and wear gloves, take hand sanitizer and go do a video tour for (the buyer) so that they’re not having to enter the home,” said Ashley.
Most real estate agents have been working remotely for a couple of weeks and while they are able to help clients sell or buy homes it is not that easy, “There are a lot of people involved and getting it all coordinated, without meeting it's tough,” said Ashley.
In almost every sale or purchase, agents must communicate with lenders, lawyers, inspectors, and government workers. Dozens and dozens of pages of documents also need to be signed, “If none of those people are open, we have a huge problem, our job stops,” said Ashley.
In just the past week Ashley says she knows of a handful of deals that have fallen out of escrow because the buyers are fearful, they may lose their jobs. The volatility of the market and more specifically how much will Covid-19 effect it is not yet known but the early indicators are not great.
Ashley doesn’t want to hit the panic button just yet, but in a business that relies often on handshakes and open houses and face to face interaction, how long this self-distancing is in place could have a major impact on the market.