Trying to transact real estate during COVID-19?  Here are the do’s and don’ts of what can be done in real estate in New Jersey.

For starters, Governor Murphy specifically defined real estate as an essential business and stated that one on one showings are permitted, but open houses are not.  Clarifying for many what was a bit grey as obviously housing is an essential need, but the need to transact imminently may or may not be.

In Union County, 39 Residential properties have gone into contract since this order was issued on 3/30/20.  Compared to a year ago for the 4 days the number of properties that went under contract and ultimately closed was 78.  While 50% of the business may sound surprisingly good all things considered, the activity is likely to continue to decline over the next 4 weeks as urgent needs are met and clients wait on the sideline.

However, a few of the positives are:

-If you need to buy, sell or rent it is possible and legal to do so,

-The players working in the industry including agents, title insurance processors, lawyers and loan officers are generally eagerly available to assist any business that come their way.

-Certain processes may actually be slightly easier.  For example many lenders are accepting drive – by appraisals instead of requiring the appraiser to enter the property.  Computer algorithms and photographs can be used to enhance the drive by information.

There are however, significant hurdles to overcome.  Showing properties in person involves some element of risk of contagion.  Town and county office closures may result in delays of required municipal inspections.  We may encounter inability to complete title searches that are not online.

What to do now?  Realtors are still hard at work and your top performing agents are focused on the following:

Technology – no time like the present to ensure you have access to the right tools for team management, automated marketing, website enhancements and national partnerships with brokerages and agents.

Training – what better time to learn a new tool, implement features of your contract management software, and learn new skills in fields such as commercial sales and leasing.

Servicing existing clients – that need to transact including vacant properties, sellers that are financially committed to selling, or buyers needing new housing.  With proper social distancing most needs can be addressed.

Consulting – By attaining knowledge from National Leadership and understanding local processes your agent can advise you on what steps you can do now.  For example, maybe you had not reached out to discuss a sale later in the year.  It’s a great time to call your agent, walk through the property on a facetime call and discuss if a painting touch ups or new shrubbery will be worthwhile to enhance your property for sale.

I think we all hope that the pandemic will have a minimal impact on the health and well being of our communities.  Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can assist you!