Real Estate In a Time of Pandemic

New York became the epicenter of a global pandemic, and real estate in New York came to a screaming halt. Briefly.

Realtors were told to stay home. To avoid in-person contact. Even forbidden to solicit new business.

Strictly speaking for only myself, it was okay. I felt safer that way.

And then the Empire State Development Corporation, the state’s “let’s grow” division, notified us that real estate was an “essential” business, and we should get back to work.

But, they amended, we should stay home. And we shouldn’t do any showings.

Excuse me? That’s got a lot of us banging our heads on our desks.

I don’t know how this will work out yet. None of us do. But there have been a lot of questions, a lot of angry emails (some of them came from me) and a lot of differences of opinion.

Here’s what I know: my sellers aren’t keen to show their homes if they live in them. In fact, they will not do it. Yes, we have virtual tours. It’s not the same and we all know it.

Yes, there are a few rare buyers willing to buy a property they haven’t seen. There are inspectors still willing to inspection, appraisers still appraising. Banks are apparently still approving mortgages and lawyers are working, but everything is on a virus-aware timeline.

There are new clients asking me to list their homes. If the house is empty, I can see a way to do it without compromising my health, their health, or the health of our families. If the house is occupied, I honestly can’t.

I’m disappointed that the state (yes, Andrew Cuomo, I mean you) somehow was too blind to understand that real estate simply cannot function in isolation.

I have no income from real estate and I don’t anticipate any anytime soon. That hurts. But I, personally, think being dead or making people I live with sick would be a lot worse.

We will get through this, most of us. Business will resume. But let’s do it safely. Let’s be smart.

Greed never makes wise decisions, nor does desperation.

My clients would rather wait and be safe. My clients are very, very smart.

 

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