By Princess Pitts Pierre
With no end date in sight for the coronavirus pandemic, various industries have been affected, and real estate is no exception.
With over 1,600 positive cases of Covid-19 in Tamarac, statistics show the Tamarac housing market is still thriving — although the buying process has dramatically changed.
“Our office has received multiple contracts, five deals within a week in the all-ages groups,” said Elvin Villalobos, Realtor, and owner for RE/MAX InterAction Realty.
However, he said, due to the resurgence of Covid-19, new property listings have slowed, and showings are limited in the 55+ communities.
As a precautionary measure, some of the age-restricted facilities are requiring seniors to test negative for Covid-19 twice before allowing a buyer to move in. Villalobos said the virus is the underlying problem but adds challenges with lenders requiring higher credit scores, and income is a contributor as well.
Currently, there are 400 homes on the market: 126 single-family and 274 condos/townhouses/villas. There are 375 pending contracts on Tamarac listings: 166 are single-family homes, and 209 are condos/townhouses/villas.
According to the Multiple Listing Service — or MLS, between April 1 and July 31, 222 single-family homes and 271 condos/townhouses/villas were sold. That same period last year, 304 single-family homes and 435 condos/townhouses/villas were sold.
“Due to Covid-19 restrictions and mandate of quarantines imposed in March, some real estate agents saw a complete shutdown from April to July,” said Silvia Aizprua, a broker associate with Agents Realty Group, LLC. “But the reality and the good news is that it did not stop completely.”
The challenges of showing homes now require real estate agents to take necessary precautions as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, including limited face-to-face interactions, social distancing, and wearing masks and gloves to prevent the spread of the virus.
This has resulted in agents coming up with new creative ways to ensure that the process goes smoothly, like showcasing video tours on YouTube.
“Tamarac is largely a senior community,” said Aizprua. “Those clients are at higher risk, and so we do everything for safety, including meeting at the property, hand sanitizers, washing hands frequently, and wearing disposable booties in the homes.”
For Villalobos, along with pre-screening buyers, he says their team shares images, detailed listings, and 3D scans of the home.
“If the buyer likes all three, then we set up a showing as the fourth step. The showings are no touch, with [doors] open already, and we sanitize the home with spray afterward.”
Advice for interested buyers and sellers? Villalobos says to be ready and have a plan before getting into the market, especially during a pandemic.
“Be prepared for income loss, job loss, and new lender requirements.”
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