Coronavirus outbreak is changing the way homes are sold

The coronavirus has many industries adapting to new ways of doing business, and the real estate industry is no exception, a D.C.-area real estate expert said.

“This virus hit is happening at typically the best time of year for keeping the market going,” said Corey Burr, senior vice president at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

In responding to the situation, Burr said that many companies are doing away with open houses to prevent crowded situations.

In some cases, showings are being done with owner approval, and agents are bringing wipes and hand sanitizer to houses and making sure visitors do not share the same room in a home.

There is also a new guideline many realtors are adopting to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Putting into effect a no-touching-surfaces rule, where buyers essentially are walking through the house with their hands in their pockets,” Burr said.

Several measures are being done to make sure contact is limited during home inspections and the closing processes, as well. And, some sellers are also limiting the number of showings of their homes.

Homes are still being listed, with many selling quickly, Burr said. But things have now slowed down, due in part to the economy.

“They’re also concerned about the stock market sell-off, where you know that the money that they may have had for down payment and closing costs may have been reduced a great deal,” Burr said.

He said the market is experiencing something similar to what occurred after 9/11.

“Some of the best deals were made by buyers in a time of flux, and so I’m anticipating somewhat of a similar story in the next several weeks if we can get past the worst part of this outbreak,” Burr said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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