Local realtors getting creative amid Washington’s stay home order
*This story has been updated. Following this interview, Washington realtors were informed they are no longer allowed to meet with clients in person, or show houses until Wednesday, April 8.*
SPOKANE, Wash. — You’ve been told to stay at home, but what if you’re in the process of buying or selling one?
Local realtors have been forced to get creative in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They’re now relying more than ever on virtual tours and meetings.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this before,” said broker Mark Anderson.
And he went through the housing crisis in 2007.
“Prices were going down, but at least we could go show a house and people weren’t scared to leave their house,” said Anderson.
Home values are still climbing in Spokane, and March typically marks the start of the busy home buying season. Anderson, the owner of Top Agent Team, says COVID-19 has caused a minor slowdown.
“We’ve also seen some deals fall out of contract because people might have gotten laid off, so they’re not sure they can close right now,” said Anderson.
Governor Inslee banned all gatherings for at least two weeks. Right now, an open house is out of the question.
“It’s kind of a grey area whether we can show houses or not, the Washington ReaLtor’s Association is working on that now,” said Anderson.
Thankfully, buyers can still take virtual tours. If sellers aren’t comfortable bringing a photographer in, they can record it themselves.
“They’re willing to walk around the house and do it live with us so that we can get a better view of the house,” said Anderson.
He says his agents can still do private showings. They give people gloves, hand sanitizer, masks, even booties.
“We’re also asking sellers to leave all the lights on, leave all the doors open so that nobody has to touch anything other than the front door and the realtor will open that up with gloves on,” said Anderson.
“If they’re going through your home, they’re serious, they’re ready, they’re pre-approved, they’re ready to buy,” he added.
Some homes are selling without any tours right now. Anderson says now is a good time for buyers to avoid a bidding war.
“I think when we can go back out again there’s going to be a pent up demand to buy houses,” he said.
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