COLUMBIA – Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, real estate is considered an essential business.
“What are the three basic needs for survival?” Associate Broker Lisa Meyer asked. “Food, water and shelter.”
Just like most, the real estate industry is trying to adjust to the changes caused by COVID-19.
“There are currently 10,000 families who have signed a contract to either buy or sell,” John Sebree, Missouri REALTORS CEO, said. “They’re in a delicate window of when things need to happen.”
That means, for some people, they still need to buy or sell their home soon despite the pandemic.
“That person might choose to purchase without viewing the home in person, although they typically wouldn’t,” Managing Broker Jim Meyer said.
Missouri REALTORS posted a guide for realtors and realtor associations, including guidance on open houses and flyers for showings.
“Sellers are being encouraged to, when they set the house up for a showing, to open all the doors, turn lights on,” Jim said. “That way, the agents and the buyers can avoid touching things in the house.”
Ultimately, Jim said it’s up to the sellers whether to allow in-person showings.
“The main thing is, we don’t want a whole bunch of family members, preferably not a bunch of children, to keep track of what they might have touched,” Jim said.
The Meyers and many other brokers are (or are planning on) offering virtual tours for potential buyers. Sebree said the virtual tours allow people to see the house from different angles, which is what makes it different from initial photos posted with the listing.
“Some of the photos can represent the house in a little different way than it actually is,” Jim said. “People prefer to actually go through a house.”
Meanwhile, other sellers are taking their homes off the market until the virus passes.
“We actually have had two of our own clients who did not want to do showings,” Lisa said.
She said those showings will now have to wait until May.