Impact on the real estate industry from the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 5:53 PM CDT
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Real estate agents say they've been using social media to take potential homebuyers on virtual tours of houses on the market. TV9's Jay Greene talked with one realtor about other ways COVID-19 is impacting the industry.

Jay: We are now joined by Brian Hoel, a realtor with Skogman in Cedar Rapids, thank you for being with us. How has the coronavirus changed your industry?

Brian: The biggest thing we're seeing now if we've had to learn so much on how to protect our clients and ourselves going in and out of houses. So you know, trying to make sure all of our sellers have enough Germ-X on hand, kinda coaching them through how to sanitize doorknobs and light switches before and after showings and then also working with our buyers, making sure they are comfortable doing the showings, making sure that they're disinfecting them, their hands in and out of the houses, really just trying to minimize the impact on everybody involved.

Jay: What is some advice you have for people who are trying to buy and sell a home?

Brian: I took a look back over the last few weeks. If you compare the first two weeks of March to the first two weeks of April, the number of new listings we have is down. And you know, it's significant, 23%, the number of pendings that we have is down by almost 43%, but that's still 159 pendings in those two weeks, so what's crazy is buyers are still out there, that's 159 homes that got accepted offers and those 159 actually had lower days on market at a higher price per square foot then what we would normally expect for this time of year. So, the buyers are still out there and very active and they're paying more in a shorter window for the homes that are going sale pending. So, it's still really competitive even though just the way you interact with a home might be different.

Jay: Are there any other tips you have?

Brian: You need to have your pre-approval done. We are seeing quite a few requests for showings or virtual walkthroughs for people that are just kinda curious on the couch and really with our agents, we want to make sure hey if they're out in a house we need to make sure those are ready, willing and able buyers. So, have your pre-approval ready to go and then you have to be aggressive. So, if a house hits the markets at 8 a.m. Tuesday and you think it looks good and you got your pre-approval, you need to call your realtor and see if you can't get either video walkthrough or [get] them to walk through within 24 to 48 hours. You have to be on top of the market.