Earlier this year, the housing industry had its eyes on the Silver Tsunami, a wave of Baby Boomers who would age out of their homes and trigger a rapid influx of for-sale properties. But little did we know that a much more immediate wave would hit the housing market: a digital wave. In just over a month, the coronavirus pandemic forced realtors to find innovative ways to sell homes, including drive-by appraisals, 3D home tours, and agent-led video tours. The industry was already dipping its toes into the digital landscape, but now it must jump in head first—sink or swim. And so far, realtors and home builders are working hard to keep their head above water as the situation changes by the day.
Boston-area realtor Melony Swasey was in the process of closing on a home when the spread of COVID-19 forced state courts to close without notice. Court buildings hold many registries and deeds needed to record the sale of a house.
“We weren’t sure as of first thing in the morning whether we were going to be able to complete the closing,” she said. “We were able to record the closing electronically because our attorney has that technology. The state was allowing limited electronic recordings yesterday so ours got through.”
Situations like this are playing out all over the country. With much of the United States under shelter-in-place orders, real estate professionals are having to find innovative ways to finish transactions that were already underway and create a path forward for future sales.