Real Estate is Open for Business

Together, we are facing unprecedented times as the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic changes the way we interact, the way we do business and our daily lives.  Real estate was required to take a short pause but now WE’RE BACK! Just like many of you, this has impacted the way we do business.  Our 300 members interact with people on a daily basis – from showing homes, to conducting appraisals and home inspections to signing documents at the closing table.  In light of the recommendation put forth by our government and the CDC, we are adapting the way we do business. Home buyers and sellers are still in need of real estate services.  We are still listing and selling property and land. We are still working with clients to put their homes on the market and helping buyers find the homes of their dreams. 

Brokerages are encouraging agents to modify their interactions and prepare clients in ways that we’ve never had to do in the past. Our members are small business owners so each of them operates their business in the best way they see fit.  The Michigan REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® has published a guide for REALTORS® to help minimize the impact of Coronavirus.

  • REALTORS® may ask you questions about recent travel or if you’ve been in contact with anyone that has been sick recently with a fever, cough or breathing difficulties.
  • REALTORS® may ask you to drive separately, rather than driving with them to appointments.
  • REALTORS® may not shake your hand as they practice social distancing by keeping a six-foot distance as recommended by health officials.
  • REALTORS® will likely wear a face mask and will likely ask you to wear a mask as well.
  • REALTORS will likely ask you to sign showing addendums and releases to protect you (whether you’re a buyer or a seller).
  • If you’re listing a house, your REALTOR® may recommend a virtual tour to showcase your house to potential buyers. Our members have numerous technology tools available to create virtual tours that make you feel as if you are walking through the house. 
  • At this time, no open houses are allowed. A virtual tour can also be used in place of an open house. Contact your REALTOR® for ideas on how to best position your house in the market.
  • When you get ready to list your house or make an offer on your dream home, our REALTORS® have access to electronic forms that you can sign from the comfort of your smart phone or computer. No need to download software.  You’ll receive an email with all the information you need to sign.  Plus, your REALTOR® is available to assist you if you run into any issues.  

Our home/pest inspectors, appraisers, insurance agents, lenders, title agencies, well and septic experts, home stagers, photographers, builders, contractors, etc. are working with our REALTORS® and home buyers/sellers to continue providing these valuable and necessary services so that the disruption to the real estate industry is seamless and minimal.

Spring is typically a peak time for house hunting and selling. Although we can’t predict the future, our members stand ready to help buyers and sellers handle their real estate transactions. We still face challenges. Our REALTORS® have buyers and not enough houses on the market. There could be some delays in the closing process. But we also have opportunities. Mortgage rates are near all-time lows. With lower interest rates, home buyers can afford a higher priced home than in previous months.

There are several resources available to alleviate the hardships this pandemic has posed – from business relief, to payment assistance to extending deadlines.  Homeowners who are facing financial hardship due to the effects of Coronavirus should contact their lenders about forbearance options. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration have announced mortgage payment assistance to those impacted by the virus. Governor Whitmer recently issued an Executive Order to extend the property tax foreclosure deadline. The State of Michigan has also taken actions to expand unemployment benefits.

With almost 300 members, the Battle Creek Area Association of REALTORS® is “the voice for real estate in the Greater Calhoun County region.”  You can find a list of our members at www.bcaar.com and clicking on the yellow button, “Find a Member.”  Our website also includes resources for buyers/sellers, membership information, community resources and much more!  For more information about this article or BCAAR, please visit our website, email us at staff@bcaar.com or call 269.962.5193. 

And lastly, as our world manages this unimaginable situation, please take a moment to enjoy the company of the immediate family that surround you. Thank those individuals that are working in our hospitals, our first responders (police, fire, EMTs), our grocery store employees, delivery/semi-drivers, utility workers and more. Check on your neighbor.  Help the elderly get the supplies they need. Be kind. Now is the time for love, compassion and solidarity.

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