DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — After eight weeks of fighting to be considered essential and life-sustaining, real estate is back in business.
Governor Tom Wolf issued his own order of guidance after vetoing a bill from the state general assembly. After two months of virtual work, many brokers, owner and agents are ready to hit the ground running as the real estate market opens across the commonwealth.
“Going forward, let’s just say we’re cautiously optimistic.” Pennsylvania Association of Realtors president Bill Festa said.
After a promising start to the spring market, real estate was deemed non-essential. Two months later the industry was cleared for sales and not a moment too soon.
“You need to have a house, you need to have a roof over your head. With jobs changing and people moving, people can’t live in hotels,” Carey Smith with Covered Bridges Realty said.
Many realtors are fielding concerns about tough breaks and dire situations.
“We had a lot of sadness and stories of people that couldn’t take that next step,” Jackie Ruddy of Jack Ruddy Real Estate said.
Owners were left strapped with two mortgages and sellers were stuck between properties as work ground to a halt in the face of a pandemic. Now, those issues may begin to be sorted out but with a different set of rules.
“We are in business but we need to do it cautiously and we have all the provisions to do so,” Festa said.
Masks and extra sanitary steps are now a must. Another major change is the loss of the traditional open house but showings are allowed to continue.
“Again, if we can do virtuaL, we’ll do virtual but if it has to be in person then we can do that,” Smith said. “We just need to work safely, first.”
Meanwhile, things like advertising is taking a more permanent turn, but not necessarily in a new way.
“A lot of social media,” Ruddy said. “Our properties are going to be showcased on social media and we’re going to be doing things digitally from now on.”
At this point, there is no red, yellow or green counties in real estate. Instead, the industry must focus on virtual sales as much as possible and the priority is to keep realtors, buyers and sellers within CDC guidelines.
Many realtors have spent the last eight weeks working from home with virtual education on being prepared to get back into the business of selling properties post COVID-19.