In light of all the challenges facing us now with Covid-19 in Maine, here is the latest update on how the real estate industry is managing this.
On Tuesday, March 24th, Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order that requires all non-essential businesses to close until April 8, 2020. https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/news/governor-mills-orders-further-steps-protect-public-health-2020-03-24
While the real estate industry has not been specifically included in the list of essential services, our Maine Association of Realtors® has provided us with the following guidelines in moving forward with our business at this time.
All public-facing, physical real estate offices must close for the duration of the Order
Real estate agents and office staff may still work remotely and continue to conduct non face-to-face business
Real estate agents may still have remote, non face-to-face interactions with clients, customers, and members of the public (including by phone, email, videoconferencing, etc.)
Until further information states otherwise, all in-person public contact shall cease for the duration of this order to include showings, open houses, and other meetings with clients, customers and members of the public
Office staff and/or agents should limit going to physical office locations except for absolute necessities ("preserving the condition of the business's physical plant and equipment; ensuring security; and processing payroll, employee benefits and related functions.")
What does this mean for you?
If you have been shopping for a home, or want to list your home now, expect that showings may be greatly limited or stopped altogether. This is to protect both you and the homeowner, or buyers, and the brokers involved.
Open Houses as you have known them will stop or become "Virtual Open Houses", where a realtor can provide a tour of the inside and out, sometimes live and sometimes pre-recorded.
Your realtor may be limiting the face to face contact with you, and rely more on phone/texts/email communication.
What can you do to keep your home search or sale going now?
If you are a buyer, now is the time to hyper focus on your communities and your needs and wants. Take a drive through towns and neighborhoods you think are interesting, and get a feel for the areas so that when the market opens up again, you are able to pinpoint the area(s) you want to purchase in. This is a great time to do this. Think carefully about what you feel you need and want in a property so you are also able to identify the house when the right one comes available.
If you have a property to sell -- now is the time to do all the prep work that is needed to get it ready to go once the market is active again. Remember: Purge, Repair, Paint, Clean, Stage. In that order. The first thing to do is to tackle all the things in your house that will distract a buyer (too many personal items, too much furniture, too many things in the kitchen, etc.). Here are some sites to help you:
For both sellers and buyers; Mind your credit now!
This is definitely a tough time with so many unknowns in front of us. We are captive at home and amazon shopping might seem like a productive outlet -- but please reconsider. While things are in limbo, now is a great time to improve your credit score as best you can so that when that house comes up (buyers), you won't have to go through any credit repair before you can get a loan or get a better rate.
Check your credit reports now https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
and see what, if anything, needs to be cleaned up. https://www.credit.com/credit-repair/how-to-clean-credit-report/
Keep up your monthly payments.
Start with these things to get ready -- we will be back in business before too long, and we are also preparing for you on our end. Stay safe and do your homework!
Deb Hutson, Broker
Blue Lobster Real Estate www.debhutson.com