Updated: May 2, 2020
COVID 19 has changed our lives. There is no question about that.
For better, or worse, I think it may change the way many of us do business going forward. While many people seem to be ‘stuck at home with nothing to do,’ I am busier than ever.
A few months ago, I got my Real Estate License (DRE02100796 – RealEstateWithRaini.com). I have been playing with the idea for years, and it is a happy marriage with Styling, Staging, and Design, so I made the jump. Just in time to be hit by this international crisis. We have all been through at least one significant economic downturn, so for many, fear has hit and the most common question being asked is "Are houses selling right now?"
Here in Ventura County, and around the country, the housing market is active. The Federal Reserve just dropped their interest rate to near zero, mortgage rates have hit a 30 year low (disclaimer: please verify rates with your broker or mortgage professional – let me know if you need a referral), and much of this was happening before the virus took hold here in the US.
We did experience a couple of weeks that Real Estate was not considered essential here in Ventura County. I don’t know if it had anything to do with our petition, but they did figure out that continuing Real Estate transactions is, indeed, essential to our community.
Real Estate - a Want or a Need?
I have heard stories of people who were laid off and feel that selling their home to live on the equity is their only option to get through the crisis. In addition to regular folks like you and me needing to sell our home, Ventura County is home to two military bases. Those who serve our country are often required to move. The truth is, people do need to buy, and they need to sell, for any number of reasons.
Fortunately, with technology available to all of us, it is possible to successfully list your home, or find a home to purchase, complete the transactions and maintain required social distancing standards.
At Raini & Associates, we have offered e-Design for quite a while. Now it is no longer
reserved for long distance clients, it is the primary request for clients near and far. Real Estate Sales, Design, and Staging Consultations are now being performed via Zoom, Facetime and other video services.
Homes are being bought and sold every day. We are doing online consultations and presentations with great success.
We are now Cybersonal (All the best of Cyber and Personal)
If you are considering selling your home, rest assured, everything can be done virtually. I do recommend you find a local agent that you like and feel comfortable working with. They should have a solid grasp of the online process, as well as be familiar with your neighborhood.
To prepare your home for market, it is more important than ever that the photos represent the best features, but also reflect the home from every perspective – the good and, maybe, not so good. We can help show your home in the best light, but this is not the time to hide anything from potential buyers.
Instead of an in-home sales or staging consultation, we can review photos (we provide full instructions) and walk through your home via live video. With that, we usually have enough to walk you through exactly what you can do to get your home ready and make each room shine in the online photos or 3D home tour.
Since staging a home for photos is different than staging for a viewing or Open House, we can even guide you on how to set up for the photo shoot. Or, if you prefer to keep photographers out of your home, we can walk you through the process. You may be surprised what can be done with the camera in your phone these days.
If you find yourself in a position to buy a home, depending on local ordinances, you may be able to tour select homes in person. Or if you really like what you see in the online photos and virtual tours, your agent should be able to secure an offer that allows the contingency of a physical walk-through of the property before you close.
It may seem challenging, but most people find the process easier than expected, and we have deals closing every day.
I know that when this is over and we can once again shake hands, sit across from one another, and complete a traditional transaction, most of us will be relieved to have the human contact. There is no doubt it feels more personal, and when you are in the service business like I am, you love people. Connecting with clients and colleagues is natural and one of the things I enjoy most about my work.
There is no crystal ball, but I really think our (season of?) “Social Distancing” will change our perspective on how we connect with each other going forward. Personal, one-on-one interaction will not go away, but this process has made all of us more comfortable with doing business virtually and will likely change the way we work forever.
Only time will tell how the COVID crisis will affect the housing market in the months to come, but there will definitely be more ways to connect buyers and sellers going forward. As difficult as this has been, the convenience of seamless virtual transactions will be one of the silver linings we will have when this is over.