Local realtors move business online, selling houses through virtual tours

Local Coronavirus Coverage

TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – With ten million Americans filing for unemployment in a two-week span and stay-at-home orders in place, some experts say the real estate industry could take a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local realtors are getting creative to keep business alive, taking almost everything online.

“The market is still pretty hot,” says Kayla Janeway, a real estate agent for Century 21 Legacy.

Tri-Cities realtors are adapting their business model to meet people where they are: at home. This makes social media a crucial tool at this time.

“Real estate, it never dies. Everybody is going to need to sell a house, everybody is going to need to buy a house. Even during a crisis like this,” says Janeway.

Janeway took to Facebook for the new reality in the housing industry: virtual showings and Facebook live open houses.

One of her open houses online got nearly four thousand views. She says it is important that people who need to buy or sell a house right now have a way to do so from the safety of their own.

“We want to protect the safety and health of our clients, so if that’s social distancing, if that’s virtual open houses, virtual showings, we will do that,” says Janeway.

In an executive order, Tenn. Governor Bill Lee deemed real estate agents essential workers.

“People still need to buy and sell houses,” says Karissa Winstead, a real estate agent with RE/MAX checkmate. “We are just trying to take precautions, I’ve seen people wearing gloves, bringing in hand sanitizer, Lysol, just trying to stay healthy and keep others who come in after you, healthy as well.”

Out-of-office closings along with signatures via mail, email and phone are other ways realtors continue to maintain social distancing.

But, for the times when they have to conduct business in person, or take a client to a home, they make sure to take every step in a safe way.

“You don’t know if they’re sick and don’t know it, I don’t wanna bring anything in. Even though I’m not sick I just try to pretend like in my head everyone is,” says Winstead.

Even with the future of the housing market unknown, optism is key.

“We just try to stay positive. We don’t know what is gonna happen but it’s gonna be okay,” says Janeway.

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