To say the Chinese Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected our nation would be the understatement of the year, a year some wish would be over already. Unless you recently came out of a coma, you know the effects of this pandemic. Lately, Americans have grappled with a loss of certain freedoms caused from a seemingly invisible pathogen. It has impacted the way we work, how we travel (in some cases), how our households function and it certainly has affected our relationships in one way or another.
As a small business real estate firm, who supports the efforts of our clients and our REALTORS®, we understand firsthand how work, travel, household dynamics and relationships have been impacted since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic only ten days ago. Real estate, like so many industries, has been making changes in recent days through a paradigm shift in modes of communication and how they get business done. Since the World Health Organization has declared this disease a pandemic, we’ve taken more precautions, like so many businesses throughout our nation, including Pennsylvania, who have also done the same.
Honestly, real estate appears more trivial since we’ve been asked to hunker down. There are nurses, doctors, emergency personnel, volunteers and scientists, just to name a few on the frontlines. Their health is at risk as well as their loved ones. They certainly didn’t ask for this, but they’re compassion and sacrifice lead the way through this period of uncertainty. Having said that, real estate professionals are an essential link between homebuyers and sellers in their quest for finding a place they’ll call home. At Realty Network Group, connecting buyers and sellers, is our mission in four words. Yet we know through these challenging times, we need to safely operate within the confines of this contagion and administer the highest level of care and service we can reasonably provide to our clients and customers alike.
Guided by the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR), we’re proceeding with caution for the sake of our clients, their families in addition to our agents. For deals already under way, we’re also seeking the advice of counsel – time is of the essence. And that’s why PAR created the COVID-19 Addendum to the Agreement of Sale. Some situations may require a timeout in order to proceed safely through the transaction. This addendum permits these steps to be taken.
Many concerns have risen within our industry in less than two weeks. As of Wednesday (3/25) evening we have more concise guidelines from PAR: REALTORS® should “cease doing [all] in-person business” until Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, informs otherwise. We know many sellers are left wondering how they might possibly assist their agents in selling their homes remotely. Prospective homeowners are skeptical about placing their property on the market right now. Buyers are looking at record-low mortgage rates, and depending on their situation, some are realizing there might never be a better time to buy – yes, even in a seller’s market. Though real estate sales have been robust amidst this outbreak, there has been increased caution as to how consumers should be proceeding through these unchartered waters. Our firm hopes to clarify some of these matters over the next few weeks as more information becomes available to us.
Above all, we would like to sincerely wish everyone in our community and in our world good health and safety as we move ahead in these unprecedented times. If you carry one thing with you, let it be hope. Should you need to contact any of our professionals, please do so here. We look forward to addressing more of your concerns as time goes by. Stay healthy!