Real estate businesses shift their practices during COVID-19

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 12:41 AM EDT
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Like many local businesses, real estate companies are having to adapt the way they do business. But what exactly does that mean for potential buyers?

Finding a home sweet home may be a little bit trickier than it used to be.

"You know, our offices are closed, our ability to really show a new property or with new buyers is pretty much limited at this point," said Peter Tucker with the Vermont Association of Realtors.

With Gov. Phil Scott's restrictions on Vermont businesses due to coronavirus, real estate services were deemed nonessential. A tough move when essential personnel moving to the area need housing.

"I have talked to several people who have said we're getting inquiries from out of state, people that would either move here or have a second home here, so that buyer activity is good I think," Tucker said.

While the market for homes hasn't dropped off, it is changing. Realtors are adapting to the governor's restrictions and taking their services online.

"Much of the business that we conduct is electronic right now," Tucker said.

Area realtors are working together to get homes sold.

"We're asking that videos are sent, so in some cases what we're finding out in this day and age, a lot of us have already taken videos of the home so a walkthrough might already be available that was taken prior to the order," said Susannah Kelley, a Burlington area realtor.

Home tours are being done online, both through pre-existing video, and video taken by sellers. Closings have moved online, too.

"Doing it virtually, so whether it's watching the clients' sign paperwork via video, attorneys are handling it differently, but it's still happening which is great they're coming up with ways to make it work," Kelley said.