Update: March 19, 2020
Based on recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, Andersen Group Realty has decided they will NOT be holding open houses until further notice, in an effort to keep our clients and potential buyers safe and healthy.
March 16, 2020
With the status of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts continuing to evolve daily, and as an organization that exists to serve our clients and community, Andersen Group Realty is implementing new systems and procedures in order to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Below are protocols Andersen Group Realty has put in place and will be strictly adhering to until further notice:
- Remote working. Our team of nine will be working remotely until further notice. Business will be conducted virtually via video calls and conference lines. The Andersen Group Realty office will remain loosely “open,” should clients need a location to prepare and sign documents. Our agents continue to be available to their clients and will accommodate their requirements and limitations, as needed. Our clients continue to be our first priority and we will do everything in our power to work hard for them during this time.
- Leverage technology and virtual capabilities. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for home sellers and buyers to lean into technology over the course of the next few weeks. All meetings will stay as planned, including a variety of virtual options. Platforms such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom will allow us to stay in regular communication with all of our clients.
- Social distancing. To adhere to the strict CDC guidelines of social distancing, Andersen Group Realty is taking the following precautions at open houses, showings, and any other events that we hold, including, but not limited to:
- Increased availability of hand sanitizer and tissues on premises.
- Increased cleaning and disinfection of space.
- Encouraging a ‘no-handshake’ policy.
- If you are sick or exhibiting symptoms, or have recently traveled to a CDC designated Level 3 country, please do not attend any showings or open houses. We are happy to provide a virtual walkthrough of the tour for our clients.
- Message to our Sellers: Homes are still selling. Our Federal Reserve just dropped their interest rate to near zero to keep the money moving for people buying homes. It’s quite unprecedented. We’d be happy to offer you a virtual consultation, if you prefer, instead of an in-home selling consultation.
- Message to our Buyers: We would be happy to show any properties on which you are strongly contemplating placing an offer, but if you aren’t seriously considering that property or aren’t ready to go under contract, we suggest holding off on attending showings to keep germ exposure to a minimum. Now is the time to look at properties you love online! If you don’t feel comfortable going to in-person showings and wish to put your search on hold, we certainly understand. Our buyer agents will continue to show homes to their clients with the following measures in place:
- Agents/Clients will drive in separate cars to the home.
- Agents/Clients will wash their hands before entering, upon entering, and after departing the property.
- Agents will wear gloves to open doors, cabinet handles, turn on light switches, etc. If Clients would like to touch or open something, they will be instructed to ask their Buyer Agent to do so for them.
- Agents/Clients will not shake hands with anyone.
- Agents/Clients will stay 6 feet apart from each other and others throughout the showing process.
- Agents will carry disposable disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to properly follow the above procedures.
- If you are feeling sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, we kindly ask that you reschedule your showings with us so we can keep ourselves and our families healthy, as well as the seller’s family healthy.
What buyers and sellers can expect from the market
Lawrence Yu, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, had anticipated about 5.5 million sales of previously owned homes this year (an increase from 2019 and 2018). That’s because borrowing costs have plunged to lows never before seen (e.g., an average interest rate of 3.29% on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage) and the job market is strong. Obviously, though, no one could have foreseen a virus disrupting market conditions at the start of 2020.
Though there has been the occasional seller canceling an open house or removing a listing entirely, the fact remains that properties are still moving; buyers and sellers understand this market has something to offer for everyone.
Yes, experts are tampering their expectations for the spring market slightly. The most significant impact is the fact that sellers may be less likely to list their homes right now, which could dampen hopes that significantly more inventory would hit the market come spring and alleviate the supply stress. Conditions that make for a fantastic market for both buyers and sellers still exist— low rates and rising home values.
Ultimately, you have to determine what’s right for you as a homebuyer or home seller. Our job isn’t to push you into a decision you’re not comfortable with, but rather to provide hyperlocal context that may be lost in the national media coverage. Our market is still thriving.
Resources and Support
In addition to the above, Andersen Group Realty has made it a priority to support local organizations helping those in need during this time. We will be supporting Winchester Got Lunch to help provide meals to students who rely on subsidized school lunches or who are nutritionally challenged due to unforeseen circumstances such as COVID-19. We will also be supporting the Woburn Food Pantry through the Council of Social Concern to provide food to those community members who may not have the resources to fully support their family’s nutritional needs. If you would like to donate to the two organizations listed above, please click the following links:
For those wondering how to talk to children about COVID-19, here is a helpful article from Harvard Medical School.
We continue to monitor the situation, turning to reliable sources of information. These sources include the Governor’s office, MA Department of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). For now, thank you for continuing to engage with us during these unprecedented times. Please reach out to us or any member of Andersen Group Realty with any questions or concerns.