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How The Real Estate Business Will Change Due to COVID-19

Many people despair over how technology in many ways separates them from friends and loved ones. For all of the speed and convenience afforded by the information age, there is the lost significance of physical proximity. Yet the advent of COVID-19 has eclipsed these concerns. 

Now, physical proximity spreads contagion and is advised against — even forbidden — by governments and health authorities. While some businesses are shuttered and others limited, the real estate industry can utilize virtual technology to its advantage. While adjustments are coming to the buying and selling of property, this commerce will continue with little interruption.

Consultations with Realtors, Lawyers and Lenders

A visit to the brokerage or an application review at the kitchen table are fast fading into history. Many transactions are now online and this trend is expedited by the “social distancing” necessitated by COVID-19. This goes far beyond services provided by legalzoom.com or nolo.com. 

Law firms in every major city — and in small towns — are forgoing in-the-flesh meetings and conferences in favor of Facetime, Google Hangouts and various webinar platforms. Realtors are working to make virtual home tours more accessible on their websites since many want to reduce the occasions they will meet clients at properties of interest.

Homebuilder Supplies and Materials

Although home builders tend to shop locally for lumber, plywood, housewrap and the like, they tend to allow sun-contractors to purchase the appliances and specialty items (counter tops, e.g.) from their own sources, both domestic and overseas. COVID-19 has caused many Americans to rethink the length and origin of supply chains. In fact, even before the breakout of Coronavirus, economists were predicting a “post-global” redesign of these mechanisms by which goods and raw materials move throughout the world. COVID-19 may be a catalyst to this contraction. 

Outsourcing to offshore points of origin can mean cheaper supplies but the pandemic highlights an economic dependence that is looking more and more like a vulnerability. As the supply chains come home, prices — ultimately home prices — may rise.

Closing Out the Old Way of Closing

Real estate settlements, or closings, are traditionally done around a conference table or — in the case of many refinances — at a kitchen table. Sellers, buyers, attorneys, notaries and title escrow officers are party to these events, each providing essential signatures on hard copy documents in order to make the conveyance or new loan official. 

Given the new realities imposed by COVID-19, such conferences are ill-advised and, in some instances, illegal. This makes the burgeoning occurrences of e-closings all the more timely.

E-closings involve four components.

  • E-Documents — or electronic documents are native digital docs, not scanned hard copies.
  • E-Signatures — are processes used to execute e-docs electronically, as opposed to “wet” ink signatures.
  • E-Notarizations — are computerized notary signatures and stamps,used after identity is verified.
  • E-Recording — is an online method to register legal docs with the county authorities.

States vary on allowing these technologies.

iBuyers and COVID-19

iBuyers can make instant offers to sellers after receiving basic information about a property online. While a follow-up inspection might be necessary, the process can be quick and painless if all the information checks out. It also means less exposure to possible carriers.  Contact us today about your property and hear about the offer from our iBuyer platform!