COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, mask requirements are returning, and this stage of the pandemic is starting to feel like last year. Home buyers and sellers and their agents hope that none of this means another restriction will return.
At the onset of the pandemic, while Pennsylvania allowed other businesses to continue personal operations in a secure manner, the governor deemed the property immaterial and stopped many personal affairs.
This limitation helped stop the usually bustling spring real estate market and the momentum that has been building since winter. Therefore, agents are wary of the spread of the coronavirus and are wondering if another shutdown awaits the future.
“There is fear. This is really feared, ”said Christopher Sample, president of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Realty Council, the local branch of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. Agents and brokers are “very nervous.”
More and more buyers and sellers are concerned about the growing number of COVID-19 cases. Some agents report that current home seekers are “reluctant to look at occupied properties,” said Sample, a partner broker for Able Real Estate in Philadelphia. Many of his association members set aside open house time for potential buyers to control the flow of visitors.
Although the real estate market has cooled slightly, as it usually does in August and September, home buyers are still active and enjoy historically low mortgage rates. Homes continue to sell rapidly in a year that was a record high for many regional real estate brokers.
As more people were vaccinated against COVID-19, real estate agents began to allow vaccinated home buyers to attend exhibitions and open houses without masks, respecting business safety rules. Then, like everyone else, agents, buyers and sellers began to learn more about the delta variant of the coronavirus, and enhanced security protocols were brought back.
“I am always on the lookout for the pandemic,” said Jeff Block, Junior Broker and City Block Group Leader at Compass Real Estate.
In March 2020, he canceled his team’s open days a week before the region closed. This month, Block began demanding that everyone wear masks at open days the week before. Philadelphia Announces Vaccination Bans on Businesses… Block said he is generally optimistic about the future, even with the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“The one big difference right now is that we are in a much better place. Nothing turns off. Not that everyone was home, ”Blok said. “I hope we can solve this problem simply by using common sense, being careful and keeping an open mind.”
He and his team will be ready to return to virtual interaction with customers if they need to, he said, “but this is certainly not the plan.” Virtual shows have “barely” contributed to real estate deals in the spring of 2020, he said. Nothing beats personal involvement.
Last weekend, 25 stakeholders attended an open house in Germantown, all wearing masks, he said. Everyone who comes to the open house must register, a rule that Block and his team implemented last year and suspended vaccinations. Once again, QR codes on signs glued to front doors open up questions about symptoms, exposure, and positive tests for COVID-19.
According to Sample of Able Real Estate, buyers are following recovered security protocols during the pandemic.
“Especially if they are interested in property,” he said, “they will do what they have to do to get into that property.”
At the start of the pandemic, some vendors were reluctant to let people into their homes, but even with the increase in COVID-19 cases, they are now more comfortable letting people in, said Robert Acuff, a broker and owner of RE / MAX Services at Blue Bell, whose team operates in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. …
Real estate agents are waiting to see what’s in store for both the market and the pandemic.
“Whatever happens, the real estate community will be ready to adapt to help our clients buy and sell homes,” Akaff said. “There is demand. Consumers are interested in doing business. It is our responsibility to serve them in a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable. “