Real estate agents turn to technology to sell homes

MADISON, Wis.– The coronavirus is changing how a lot of things in our lives are normally done, including moving.

“We have had to become completely virtual to the extent that we can, and still sell houses,” Lynn Holley, a real estate agent, said.

Real estate agents are taking buyers on video tours through houses, sometimes while the buyer is sitting out front in their car.

“The buyer might say I want to see what the view is out of the north side bedroom, and the buyer’s agent would Facetime them through that process of having that view,” Holley said.

Holley said in-person showings are down 34% from this time last year, but there’s still a lot of buyers and sellers in the market.

“Interest rates are still low, and buyers are still out there buying,” Holley said. “We may not have as many buyers, but we have plenty of buyers who are still writing offers.”

Michelle Sims, a real estate agent, is reserving in-person showings for people who are ready to buy.

“It would have to be someone who is serious,” Sims said. “I’m not just taking people on showings who are casually looking. I am encouraging them to do the virtual tours.”

Despite the changes, both Holley and Sims said they have seen new activity in the past week and the coronavirus isn’t stopping people from selling homes or writing offers.

“People are still moving forward, probably a little more cautiously, but I think once the stay at home order is gone, it will step back up,” Sims said.

Real estate agents are considered essential by the government, but they are required to reduce as much person-to-person contact as possible. Home inspections will still take place with added safety measures and closings are limited to a smaller group of people, but agents said moving is still possible right now.

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