Realtors say take advantage of the market if you need to buy or sell home

Real estate agents trying to adjust to 'new norm' as coronavirus pandemic continues

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - So you’re selling your home during a pandemic.

“We had no idea that our house would be on the market throughout all this,” Ashley Smith said.

It’s not exactly the way Ashley and Justin Smith of Denham Springs imagined it would be.

“We’re sticking it out, “Ashley said. “We’re not discouraged.”

The Smiths have to sell their home. They're moving to another state as soon as they can.

“When it first went on the market, we had traction,” she said. “There was like a showing every other day.”

That was about a week before the outbreak swept across Louisiana. Their realtor, Joanna Arnold, already had a heavy social media presence, but with safety concerns at an all-time high, she ramped it up.

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“I’m taking advantage of this time where more people are in front of their phones, in front of their computers,” Arnold said.

The Smiths say they understand buyers might be apprehensive about purchasing a new home given the climate of the economy. Their realtor says buyers are afraid to go inside a house due to the virus threat, but virtual tours are the first step in finding a home for serious buyers before they take an in-person real walk-through.

Scott Saporito, president-elect of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, says they have been talking to realtors about increasing their brand engagement through videos and social media.

“Everybody likes to watch a video and houses are no exception. People like to look at videos of houses. We’re trying to keep those short, about two minutes or less. That’s a showing right there.”

The Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors says now is the time to jump in the market.

“I’m recommending clients just go ahead and list your house now because I think when the activity comes back, it’s going to come back pretty heavy,” Saporito said.

On the flip side of that, sellers still in their house are just as wary of opening their doors.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” Justin said.

He takes disinfectant to just about every surface before his newborn baby, wife, and two kids come back home after a showing.

“Every light fixture, every door, counter tops, everything that we can think of because we just can’t take any chances," he said.

The selling process is the same, Arnold says; it just includes a layer of disinfectant in the walk-through.

“We have to come up with precautions to keep them safe and get their home sold," she said.

Arnold adds that they pre-screen clients to make sure no one is ill before entering a home. Saporito says in some cases, to avoid spreading germs, sellers ask potential buyers to avoid touching doorknobs, cabinets, or light switches. He adds that sellers understand the housing market is quite different from just a month ago, with buyers on a slight decline.

“So we are asking for a little bit of extra patience," he said.

The housing experts say inventory is low, so homes don’t stay on the market too long, however, if your house isn’t selling quickly, if you can, think twice before making a big price cut and hold out until the market bounces back.

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