Like other areas of the economy, real estate has taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic and fewer people are buying properties, said Joanne Sweeney, the president of the Cortland County Board of Realtors.
While considered an essential business under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, restrictions on how to conduct business have caused problems for real estate agents in attracting buyers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our hands are tied to do our best job to be able to show properties,” Sweeney said.
One of the most important parts of buying a property showing it to prospective buyers — has now gone virtual as the real estate agent, buyer and seller cannot all be in the same place together at once.
Instead, if a seller allows it, the agent may show the buyer the property virtually through apps like Zoom or FaceTime while no one else is in the property.
“It certainly is an option, but I don’t think it’s advisable,” Sweeney said, noting the buyer or the agent might miss something critical in a property that may put off the buyer.
Additionally, home inspectors must notify the seller first to make sure the property is empty before arriving, she said.
While she wasn’t able to provide numbers, Sweeney said that the purchasing or renting of properties since the virus began has been down as people are trying to limit contact with each other and remain safe.
“It’s just one of those things that’s a matter of patience and holding off,” she said.
While the vast majority of buyers are waiting out the virus, Jamie Yaman, the principal broker of Yaman Real Estate, said that he still has some clients who are interested in taking virtual tours and learning more about properties.
Like Sweeney, Yaman has had to change how he conducts business, mostly through email, calls and texts, but he said that since the industry has been going more digital in the last few decades, the change hasn’t been large.
He said he has worked to remain realistic about the virus’s effect on the industry and “to not see it worse than it is and not see it better than it is,” he said.
Additionally, he has been working to stay up to date on property information so that when he can conduct business in person again, it will be a smooth transition.
Yaman did say he thinks the greater Cortland area real estate market might rebound this year once the virus passes, noting that 90% to 95% of his buyers are looking to move forward.
“I really feel that we are going to see a quick rebound in the real estate market, he said.