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Like most industries operating in the time of coronavirus, the real estate business is now being conducted in a “new normal” as agents and brokers deploy a range of new procedures and technologies in order to continue to service homebuyers and sellers. The good news is, deals are still happening despite stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions. In fact, REALTORS across the country are reporting homes being bought without buyers ever seeing them in person. 

According to a recent flash survey from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), 27 percent of REALTORS report being able to complete real estate transactions while following social distancing guidelines. Here are some of the new procedures you can expect if you’re buying or selling a home right now:

Virtual tours. Many buyers are relying on virtual tours as opposed to in-person visits to view homes they’re interested in. Real estate professionals and search portals have increased the number of virtual tours available in order to accommodate buyers and sellers. In many cases, you can still view a home in person, but it may require the use of masks, gloves and booties. Talk to your real estate agent to see what your options are.

Live video. In many cases, you’ll be able to arrange a “walk-through” of a property you’re interested in through a live video with your agent. Whether through Facetime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc., real estate professionals are using live video to take you through a property. This will allow you to focus in on areas, such as the backyard or kitchen, and details, such as moldings and fixtures, just as you would if you were walking through the home.

Online open houses. A staple for many agents and sellers, open houses may not be possible given various state restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather in one place. But you may still be able to attend an open house online. Popular search portal, realtor.com, is now offering virtual open houses on many of the homes listed for sale on its site.

Digital documents. Once you’re ready to move forward on a real estate deal, expect to handle most if not all aspects of the transaction digitally. Secure e-signature and transaction management programs have made digital document exchange both easy and reliable.

Staying connected through social. According to the NAR survey, 61 percent of REALTORS are using social media to keep consumers informed. So be sure to connect with your local firms and professionals via their social media sites. This will keep you up-to-date on information about the local market, new listings and valuable advice on buying, selling and owning a home.

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