Local real estate business adjusting to social distancing

12 on 12: Vaccine 101

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Imagine buying a home without physically touring it first? That’s the new reality for many who want to, or need to, purchase a house right now.

Local realtors say the way homes are being bought and sold is evolving in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic — and it’s working.

“I’m sitting in my car at my first closing with ReMax Collection while my clients are right next door to me, signing their paperwork.”

Realtor Dean Benjamin posted a video of himself showing that real estate transactions are still happening, but with social distancing rules in place.

“Most of our showings are actually happening virtually.”

Shannon Buss is the president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. She says all in-person open houses in Rhode Island were suspended as of last Saturday.

“Through 3D tours, virtual tours, FaceTime, we’re really trying to either at least minimize but even eliminate folks from having to go into occupied homes.”

And there are new listings going up daily.

“There are plenty of closings happening. We had a tremendous amount of transactions pending when all this started, so those still need to close.”

The Secretary of State’s Office is keeping the process moving safely by allowing remote notarization of transactions, which is especially important for closings.

“Don’t be discouraged about potentially listing your property now versus after all this is over,” Benjamin said, after all potential buyers have a lot of time on their hands to be searching websites for their perfect home.

Looking ahead, Buss says she thinks these new virtual tools will benefit realtors long after the pandemic is over.

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