Too early to tell real estate impacts during coronavirus pandemic

Updated: Apr. 14, 2020 at 10:27 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - These days buying and selling homes is a little different. Like much of how we do business these days happens on the internet.

Real estate sales have slowed down with everything else, but there’s still a market in the local economy. The real estate industry is centered around building relationships and personal contacts.

However, open house visits and tours aren’t happening anymore. Instead the home buying process is switching to the digital world.

Instead of meeting potential buyers at a home, realtors now take them on virtual tours around the house. They can show each room live with the help of a camera and a phone and try to give the most accurate description of a home as possible.

When it comes to closings, well, those are starting to get creative. Some attorneys set up tables and wait for new owners to come by and sign the papers. Other times, papers are just passed from car to car to minimize the contact.

Kathryn Bruner has closed on a few homes since the coronavirus came around. She said, the way business is done now has always available, but now it’s the only way to get things done.

“It’s not something every agent has utilized before because it’s not been a necessity in the past, but at this point, especially the agents that are trying to do a diligent job for their clients they are putting virtual opportunities on every single one of their listings," said Bruner. "The technology isn’t exactly new but it’s being used more than it was in the past.”

While the home buying market is still holding up for now, the same can’t be said for commercial real estate.

Avery Washington says, it’s too early to tell any major impacts, but in time, people might be able to tell who bit off more property than they can chew.

“It’s having an immediate effect on retail but the biggest difference Is in some spaces it has minimal difference or has helped,"said Washington. "In other places it’s crushed the volume and commerce that would typically go through those commerce centers. The difference is whether you have grocery stores or pharmacies as the anchor tenants, that’s what’s been helping or hurting different commercial properties in that retail space.”

As for those interest rates, Washington said they’re always changing, but nothing he’s seen so far has been telling of a bad market in the future.

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