Thursday, February 18, 2021 / by Flr Team
We have gained a lot more knowledge from 2020 but our biggest lesson was learning how to help others move during a Pandemic. Ensuring our clients' experience was seamless and safe was our biggest priority, as well as figuring out the best practices to put forth in order to do so.
Something that initially came up for everyone was the travel restrictions. Being unable to travel or not wanting to travel during the pandemic, we relied a lot on zoom sessions to "meet" and lots of emails, texts and phone conversations to get to know each other. When it came to viewing properties, video walkthroughs became much more common. We've always provided this service, but even more so now. Zoom sessions for walkthroughs or recorded videos gave the buyer a better sense of the property, neighborhoods and layout. We could also look closer at the details for them, i.e. the age of the A/C, the type of electrical panel, any stains in the ceiling, weird smells, etc. Some buyers also recruited family or friends to attend showings for them, relying on their perspective to put an offer on a property sight unseen. It can be scary, but a trusted professional can help so you don't lose out on the right place for you.
There were also sellers who weren't comfortable with strangers coming through their homes. The possibility of the coronavirus being brought into their home, certainly weighed on many who were still residing in the home that they were selling. Here are a few instances where we took extra precautions to make sure our sellers felt comfortable during the sale of their home:
1. We had a listing where the seller's older parents were staying in the condo. They didn't want to hinder the sale, but were also weary of strangers coming through and of what they would touch. They still wanted the property to be shown, so they would leave while I attended every showing with a mask and gloves, which anyone else entering the condo was also required to wear. The sellers would leave lights on, doors & cabinets open so there was as little surface touching as possible. After the showing, we would sanitize door handles, counter tops and anything else that may have been touched.
2. This seller has a medical condition that she must use a walker. She is very weak and needs to move closer to her family. She had waited the first 6 months of the pandemic but realized this may be a longer process and her health is deteriorating. She needed to make the move while she could. We had to find a way to have safe showings with her in the property, of course a mask was required, but also a no touch policy and do not come within 6 feet of the seller. The buyers were respectful and graciously understood. The seller is a wonderful lady with a kind heart and was more of a help to buyers than an obstacle. When showings were planned she turned on all the lights, opened the closet and cabinet doors, and left the front door ajar so they could just walk in. Once they were in she said hello and they began to look around. It went smoothly and her home is sold.
3. I met with an 80 year old seller in December who desperately wanted to move out of state asap. His wife had passed away in January and the pandemic hit in March. He said he felt like a prisoner in his own house, not able to go anywhere and being extremely vulnerable to Covid 19 with multiple health issues. In December it looked as though a vaccine was on the horizon so he decided to list his house so that he could be ready to move as soon as he was vaccinated. The difficulty was having the house safely viewed by buyers and because the owner couldn't leave the showings had to be very organized. The blessing was a sellers market and I knew it would sell fairly quickly so that the seller didn't have to wait for months with a large number of showings. Luckily, the house went under contract within a month and the close date was set for the end of January. The changes we had to accommodate were that all buyers had to wear a mask, and were told that the front door would be open to please come in. The seller was inside and had opened all doors and cabinets so that buyers were asked to not touch anything. Once the buyers were inside, the seller would go outside and wait for them to leave. The seller then wiped everything down again. This seller has a medical condition leaving his legs swollen and difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time, so we had to schedule showings in a way that would give him time to recuperate in between them.
In the midst of this pandemic, the Insurance requirements have changed drastically. The accepted age of roofs have decreased and rates have gone up.. This isn't necessarily something buyers thought of, but something we've had to bring to their attention to make them aware of and ensure the home is good for both the buyer and lender.
Florida Lifestyle Realty