Dear Clients, Agents, Friends, and Neighbors.
We hope this letter finds you all safe and healthy.
At the time of writing this, over 290,000 Americans have Coronavirus, and over 7500 have died. A Stay At Home order is now in effect until April 30, 2020, but real estate services have been deemed essential by local officials. People have to have a place to live, and some sellers have to sell now.
Although first and foremost, we have a moral obligation to Stay Home and Flatten the Curve, we are still trying to figure out how we can also assist our clients. Since the Stay Home order was issued, showings have dropped over 45%, indicating that most agents and buyers are not viewing properties at this time, so in most cases, we are advising sellers to delay listing their homes until the order is lifted.
Energy Realty is attempting to return to a “new normal” by opening our offices with minimum hours Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so we can receive clients by appointment only when necessary. We are also fast tracking to virtual technology and video conferences to assist while maintaining a safe distance.
Qualified buyers are still able to get mortgages, title companies are still able to close transactions (in person, electronically, or via mobile notary), and movers are still moving. A recent Coronavirus Addendum was added to our Contracts to protect buyers in the event of coronavirus infection or job loss.
Not every agent feels comfortable showing homes, and I encourage every agent to only show a home that is vacant and with extreme safety precautions. TREC just created a form that requires all parties to permit showings or viewings and to disclose if they have or have been exposed to Coronavirus. Most importantly, we will continue to keep our clients informed with how we can help during this difficult time. We are currently operating under the following capacity
- Selling a Home – We are having online meetings with Sellers about the market and preparing your home to sell in this market, but we suggest waiting to list if the home is occupied. We are adding a Coming Soon to our website and can market your home at Energy-Realty.com and on our social media pages until the Stay Home order is lifted.
- Showings on Vacant Homes – When needed, we will attempt to show clients vacant properties or do Virtual Showings, as long as authorities allow. Agents and buyers should use extreme precaution with the use of gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer when viewing homes.
- Virtual Open Houses – Although HAR has deemed real estate as an essential business, they have blocked Open Houses online and are discouraging open houses during the Stay Home order. We will host Virtual Open Houses on vacant properties, but we respectfully request to limit or forego showings on homes that are occupied at this time.
- Homes Under Contract –We will permit appraisers and inspectors to do their jobs when necessary while taking extreme caution.
- Closing on Contracts- Closings are proceeding as normal, but we are seeing some delays due to a slow down with mortgage approval and the lack of appraisers in the field; however, the title companies are open and have also fast tracked to online closings and mobile notaries when necessary.
- Buying or Renting –We can continue to write offers and negotiate contracts.
- Meetings and Training- Our regularly scheduled Wednesday meetings/training have been moved to an online format, and our agents are loving it! We are seeing great participation and everyone in our office is working together to get through this difficult time.
We do not know what the real estate market will look like once the Stay Home order is lifted, but we do know that our housing market was strong when this started. Houston has been through lots of challenges and this may be the toughest one yet, but this is a great place to live with a vibrant community. Remember, we are in this together and will keep Houston Strong!
Please stay safe and well and we will stay in touch.
Sherry Campbell-Broker/Owner-Energy Realty