UPDATE 5/20 – Per the governor’s order, real estate activities can resume as of today…with some caveats.
- We can now do in-person showings of properties with a limit of three people in a property at a time, an agent and up to two buyers. Open houses and group showings (>3) are not permitted.
- All parties must wear masks at all times, touch as few surfaces as possible, and follow general CDC guidelines for hand-washing and sanitizing; agent and buyer may not travel to showings together.
- Agent and buyer must complete a health certification form and a verbal health screening (details forthcoming).
OK, we have to laugh a little to keep our sanity, but in all seriousness, COVID-19 is not a joke. This is a major disruption to the lives and livelihoods of many people, and that is in no way lost on us. We know you are sifting through an overwhelming flurry of news updates, so here is a brief check-in to let you know how we are changing course to stay safe and serve you all.
First, we’ve been classified as non-essential by the governor, and while that stings a little, we totally get it. We know that some agents and brokerages are choosing to defy the stay-at-home order, but we think that is reckless and irresponsible. This doesn’t mean we can do nothing, though; we can still accomplish a lot by exchanging face-to-face interactions for technology:
- In normal times, when a new buyer reaches out to us, the first thing we do is buy them coffee or beer and have a conversation about the process–that way they’re fully prepared when it’s time to make an offer and there’s a lot less rushing around and confusion. This can easily be done via video or phone chat.
- We can also talk to you about Philly’s various neighborhoods and help you narrow down where you want to search.
- If you’re already looking at homes online (I mean, you have to fill your day somehow, right?), we can take a look at the listings with you and point any potential red flags, etc.
- If you’re thinking of selling, we can help you talk through timing and process, and if the need to sell is urgent, we can even get your house on the market now by utilizing photos you take yourself and marketing the property to our extensive network of friends and colleagues in the business who may already know the perfect buyer.
Second, the House Crawls™ are going virtual for a while in the form of Google Meet video chats. We plan to look back on some of the greatest hits from House Crawls past, and also hold Q&As about topics relevant to Philadelphia and real estate in general. To see the upcoming schedule and register for those you’d like to attend (virtually), visit the House Crawl™ page. While you’re there, check out the full 2020 House Crawl™ schedule, though be aware that literally everything is subject to change right now.
And finally, we’re asking that all of you do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19, too:
- If you’re able, support as many of our fellow small businesses as you can. Order to-go meals and beer from the restaurants, bars, and breweries that have stayed open, and if possible, call them directly rather than using a service that charges them fees (but remember that many people make their income delivering for those services, so don’t cut them out entirely).
- If you can afford to pay service workers such as your stylist, dog walker, or cleaning person, continue to do so whether you take advantage of their services or not.
- If you can’t afford to do that, don’t feel bad about it for a second and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- FILL OUT THE CENSUS – an accurate count of the people in our area ensures we get the resources we need from the government, and it’s especially obvious right now why this is important. You should get a mailer about it soon, or you can do it online at 2020census.gov
Speaking of our small business, if you’re having any stress about your upcoming plans for buying or selling a house, reach out to us directly. We will give you our honest, no-BS opinion about the right thing to do in your particular situation; the answer will probably be different for each of you, so we’re not going to give a blanket answer right now.
Beyond all that, we just want to wish you all good health, happiness, and a speedy return to whatever “normal” is for you.
The LYB Crew