“Our online traffic is way up, more people are at home and have more time to look at properties,” says Mark Pietig, an agent with RE/MAX Lakes Area Realty in Nisswa, Minnesota. “We have not seen a slowdown in sales at all.”
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. real estate market showed every indication of heading into another strong spring market. Many buyers who had spent the previous months or even years preparing to buy a home this spring probably share the same question: What now?
According to Pietig, there’s still opportunity to buy a home this spring or summer, but working with an experienced agent has never been more important.
“We are fully capable of adapting to a new environment,” Pietig says. “Accommodating a new style or approach is something experienced agents, like RE/MAX agents, are great at.”
Preparing for Every Situation
A real estate transaction has always been complex – and even more so today. Many buyers are wondering how they can possibly plan for anything in 30 days, let alone closing on a home, when even the world’s top health experts are unable to predict when a sense of normalcy will return. The key for agents and other professionals is to adjust their business accordingly.
Agents are taking this into account, and while Pietig says he currently hasn’t seen a change in buyer timelines, steps are being taken to prepare for longer contingencies.
“As long as you’re working with quality agents, you’re not going to see any delays,” Pietig says. “If anything, there’s more collaboration between buyers, sellers and their agents than ever. Everybody truly has to work together to get a transaction done.”
John Manning, Owner and Managing Broker of RE/MAX on Market in Seattle, says the local MLS (the primary listing service of homes) has taken it a step further to help protect clients from the unexpected.
“They took an extraordinary step – they put together a ‘force majeure’ addendum to include in contracts.”
A ’force majeure’ is a legal term often referred to as, quite frankly, “an act of God.”
“It essentially allows our contracts to stretch as a result of unforeseen circumstances,” Manning says. “Let’s say we have a closing next Tuesday and we find the county recording office is closed because of staffing. This addendum allows for an extension of the closing, so we don’t have people refusing to leave their homes or ending up homeless because they can’t move into their new property.”
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