real estate

How to Move, Buy or Sell a Home During the Coronavirus

Movers are deemed "essential" and realtors have started to embrace virtual tours, so changing your address isn't off the table during the pandemic

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Moving during the coronavirus outbreak has slowed a bit, but it has not come to a halt, and those in the real estate business are adjusting the way homes and apartments are being rented and sold.

When it comes to buying or selling, Scott Farrell, a realtor with Keller Williams in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, said he doesn't believe it is ethical to actively seek out new clients at a time like this. But he said there are people who were already in the middle of the closing process.

"In terms of actually being able to do it, we can get the sale completed," said Farrell, whose slogan is "the Realty That Keeps It Real." "I have a buyer who is moving from Manayunk in Philadelphia to Cherry Hill, and the house is under contract. They are scheduled to close as planned without any delays. Other buyers and sellers who are looking to start the process can still do most of those activities without putting themselves or others at risk. A listing appointment, market analysis, or preparing the home can all be done safely with sellers while buyers consultations, preapprovals, and online home searches can also be done remotely."

A renter moving from one apartment to another in the midst of the pandemic also doesn't have to feel like they are left out to dry. Moving companies have been deemed essential in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which is in line with many other states across the country.

"Even when clear guidelines are not provided, moving is generally considered essential," according to an industry expert, Bryan Bloom. "Moving Companies fall under the “logistics” and “transportation” categories in almost every state."

Here are some tips from experts on the changing, but still open, business of moving:

Get a Virtual Tour

Apartment listing agents and realtors on both sides of the Delaware River are encouraging those who need to move during the coronavirus outbreak to check out properties and units through an online tour initially. Many agents may then be willing to show a property based on newly evolving guidelines that adhere to social distancing standards.

Moving Companies Remain Open

Movers have also developed new protocols for safely moving people from one residence to another, according to Bloom of Mover Search Marketing, who wrote in a recent blog post that "if you’re facing the daunting challenge of moving during the coronavirus crisis, rest easy: moving companies are still able to help you as an essential business and they are taking a range of precautions to ensure your move is easy, safe, and virus-free." It's still prudent to do your research on moving companies before picking one, with COVID-19 questions now in the mix along with pricing and timing.

A house on Beechwood Avenue in Cherry Hill currently on the market has had recent one-on-one showings, with social distancing standards being practiced by the realtor. The house was under contract briefly, but is now on the market again.
Courtesy of Scott Farrell

House Closings Are Not Cancelled

Farrell, of Keller Williams in South Jersey, says title companies and loan officers with banking institutions are instituting safe methods for selling houses without having all parties bunched together in an office conference room. Still, he said, don't go out of your way to try to buy or sell a house if you don't have to for the time being. "Before this coronavirus, demand was high and inventory was low," Farrell said of the real estate market. "That's not going to suddenly change. So this will end and it'll again be a great time for the market."

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