Real Estate is an Essential Business

Governor Abbott declared real estate an essential service yesterday. Here are my thoughts on the matter.  The video transcript can be found below if you'd prefer to read the update.

Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. Yesterday, Tuesday, March 31, Governor Abbott signed an executive order that clearly defines essential services and activities here in the great state of Texas. Included on that list is residential real estate services. This order supercedes local orders such as those that the city of Austin and various local counties have previously issued. So what does it mean? First of all, it doesn’t mean that everything goes back to normal, though I am sure some people in my industry think it does. What it means is that, following all other guidelines that are in place, real estate activities can occur. We can do many things relating to a real estate transaction from home offices, doing electronic signatures and things like that. But the main issue is in-person showings of houses. Yes, a buyer can watch a video and I’ve been providing video of my listings for 15 years, but few buyers are willing to purchase a house without physically touring it. This now makes it legal for a home buyer in Texas to physically look at a home. Personally, I will still be screening the agents who want to show my listings so that we only are showing the houses to buyers who have looked at the photos and the videos, are serious buyers, preapproved, and ready to make offers – this isn’t the time to just be out and about looking at homes because you think you might want to move next year. And I won’t be working with buyers who aren’t urgently in need of a move for one reason or another. I can tell you, even with Coronavirus, we still have divorces taking place, we still have people moving to Austin for jobs that are starting (in fact, I just had a client who moved here and started a job this past Monday), and, unfortunately, people getting laid off. So there are several reasons that someone would have an urgent, time-sensitive reason for needing to buy and sell real estate. So, yes, real estate can resume with a little bit more normalcy. I can’t speak for what other agents are going to do, but I am working with clients who situations require action right now, but I will be doing it with adherence to all safety protocols – no open houses, buyers driving in separate cars, fresh gloves for each house we enter, social distancing while in the houses, etc. All of these things we put in place a few weeks ago before the local orders came down, we are still going to do them. And I’ve talked to my vendors who are on the selling side, photographer, videographer, staging, and we’ve come up with plans that will work if we need those services to occur. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. So if real estate is on your mind right now, give me a call, send an email or comment below and let’s find out what the needs are, and if it’s appropriate to take action now or if it’s better to wait a little bit.

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