Realty
617- 984-8388
info@MagicRealtyInvestment.com
Magic Realty Investment Services  617-984 8388
680 Hancock Street, 1st FL, Quincy, MA 02111
Webpage is under construction, new website is coming soon.

As new restrictions on American life, including extensive closures of schools, restaurants, and
bars in cities across the country, exacerbate the efforts surrounding the prevention of the spread
of the coronavirus, real estate brokerages are adapting their businesses and preparing their
clients for what could be a chaotic few weeks or months ahead in the housing market.

Some companies are instituting policies against holding open houses for the time being while
others are sticking to business as usual but with extra precautions, such as adding sanitation
stations to listed properties. The federal government has taken recent action to shore up the
economy against the threat of the virus, with the Federal Reserve cutting its benchmark interest
rate to zero. Such moves have helped push mortgage rates to record lows, but while that seems
enticing for more prospective home buyers to enter the market, escalating efforts to encourage
Americans to self-quarantine could stop those would-be buyers in their tracks.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has climbed above 6,519, and as of
Wednesday morning, there have been at least 115 deaths domestically. Last week, the World
Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The U.S. has declared a national
emergency. America has “not reached our peak” of coronavirus cases, says Anthony Fauci,
director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In an interview with CNN,
Fauci warned that life in the U.S. likely would change dramatically while the country fights the
virus.

How Much Has Business Been Affected?

Potential buyers thus far have appeared resilient in the face of panic. ShowingTime, which
collects data on the nearly 1 million showings scheduled through its system nationwide each
week, has begun tracking the potential impact of coronavirus on home tours. “Looking at the
data so far this year, we have not yet seen a significant drop in national buyer activity,”
ShowingTime reports. “There may be future effects of COVID-19, so the situation will be
monitored closely. At this time, it seems most buyers and sellers do not regard seeing a few
individual homes with their agent as a significant risk.”


Impact on Commercial Market
• The hospitality sector has been hit hard as cities place limits on gatherings of 50 or more
people, which has led to canceled conferences. (NAR has announced it will decide by April 1
whether to hold its REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., in May.)
• Americans are canceling vacations as the U.S. limits international travel and shuts down its
borders to try to stop the rapid spread of the virus.
• Aside from grocery stores and pharmacies, the retail sector likely also will see a decrease in
shoppers in the short term, which could limit profits and delay expansion plans, according to a
report from Marcus & Millichap.

Indeed, only 16% of REALTORS® nationwide report reduced buyer interest in their markets
since the coronavirus scare began in the U.S. in January, according to a National Association of
REALTORS® survey released last week. However, the effects of the virus can vary from market
to market, and some real estate professionals report a more pronounced impact on their
business. Matt Dolan, a sales associate with Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in
Marblehead, Mass., told REALTOR® Magazine that he’s seen a scourge of sales contract
cancellations in the last week. “People had to go back to step one and think about their basic
living needs like, ‘I have to get some toilet paper’ or ‘My kids are out of school; what am I going to
do with them?’” Dolan says. “They don’t have time to think about a move.”

Such threats are looming as the real estate industry readies for the traditionally busy spring
selling season. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has predicted that seasonal home sales
could tumble about 10% due to coronavirus fears.

NAR has an updated coronavirus guide for REALTORS® that offers advice to real estate pros for
safeguarding their business and themselves while interacting with clients. Among the suggestions
are to consider alternative marketing strategies for sellers, such as online virtual tours, and
reminders to obey the Fair Housing Act when addressing coronavirus concerns and working with
clients. For example, it’s fine to ask a client about his or her recent travel, but be sure to ask all
clients the same question to avoid the appearance of discrimination.

Dolan is going a step further, mulling measures to shore up finances for his business. Seeing
inquiries on their website drop significantly recently, Dolan and his team are considering cutting
back on marketing expenditures to remain solvent in case of a larger economic downturn. As
layoffs begin at companies nationwide due to coronavirus complications, further impacts on his
business appear inevitable. “Unfortunately, as brokers, we don’t fall in that ‘unemployed’
category,” he says. “I don’t have the ability to say, ‘Hey, I feel sick and can’t show up to work. But
still pay me.’”

Brokerages Respond

“No one’s shaking hands these days,” David Kong, director of relocation and partner with the
LevinKong Team at Keller Williams NYC, told Forbes.com. “They’re doing the elbow bump.” Kong
says he canceled one of his open houses at the seller’s request because the seller has two
children with health issues and was concerned about too many people entering the home. Kong
is ordering a 3D walkthrough to give prospective buyers an opportunity to check out the unit from
a smartphone or computer instead.

In a blog post last week, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman announced that the brokerage’s pushbutton
tool on its website would be turned from a private in-person tour request to a request for an
agent to conduct a tour virtually via video chat. “Our customers can also complete every part of a
contract virtually,” Kelman said. “In the states where the law allows it, customers who use our
mortgage and title service can close electronically. If you’d rather not meet others except where
necessary, we can let you see a home, bid on it, and close on it—all virtually.”

About a quarter of REALTORS® surveyed by NAR say their sellers are taking extra precautions,
including canceling open houses, requiring buyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, or
asking buyers to remove shoes and wear footies during showings. A CRE survey of corporate
real estate professionals, who manage property assets for large corporations, shows pros are
taking extra precautions, including:
• Increased access to hand sanitizers (92%).
• Implementing travel restrictions (88%).
• Enhancing building cleaning, janitorial, and sanitation efforts (85%).
• Expanding use of virtual meetings versus face-to-face meetings (76%)
• Postponing or canceling business meetings (69%).

Real estate pros also are trying to develop a business continuity plan in case the coronavirus
outbreak worsens in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Business
Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist offers tips on specific activities that businesses can do to
prepare for an outbreak.

Some brokerages are distributing resources for clients as well. For example, homeowners who
are facing financial hardship due to the effects of coronavirus should contact lenders about
forbearance options. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration have
announced mortgage payment assistance to those impacted by the virus. “Do not panic, stay
informed, and use your best judgment,” NAR’s guidance reads. “The situation is rapidly
changing, so focus on putting policies and procedures in place to avoid business disruption in
the event the situation worsens.”

—REALTOR® Magazine editorial intern Alexandra Stegman contributed to this report.
Updated News  
Realty Investment Services
Coronavirus Forces Culture Change In Realty Estate
   --From "National Association of Realtors"
    Magazine
        
Properties on Market->