Covid-19 is redefining the real estate playing field – both for real estate agents and buyers. We spoke with expert realtors Nellie and John Lazar of Century 21 M&M Associates in Turlock to hear their perspectives on the “new normal” of home selling.
The Lazars have ridden many ups and down in the industry. Nellie, licensed while still a college student, entered the field in 1991. She has since earned the additional certifications of Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES). John was licensed in 1988 and became a broker in 1993; they partnered in 1994 after marrying. They have consistently achieved high award rankings within their local real estate board, as well as with the brokerages for which they have worked. They are Central Valley Association of Realtors (CVAR) Master Club recipients, as well as Masters and Centurion Team winners with Century 21. John has been awarded CVAR Realtor of the Year on multiple occasions.
“We’ve worked exclusively in real estate and dedicated a lot of time to nurturing our business and furthering our education and skills,” Nellie shares. “We have a team approach to working with sellers that our clients appreciate, and have a largely referral-based business, which indicates how much our clients trust us. We like to say what makes us stand apart is experience, dedication, innovation, knowledge, perseverance, and always providing service with integrity. ”
Q. As you look ahead to the “new normal” future, what do you anticipate the real estate market will be like?
A.“Almost immediately upon the Governor’s mandate to shelter in place, the Department of Real Estate ordered specific protocols for showing and selling property,” Nellie explains. “Our industry is generally very reactive, and we’re conditioned to move and breathe with the ever-constant changes. Open Houses ceased almost immediately. Now, when we show homes, we wear masks and gloves, and ask that our buyers wear masks as well. Sellers have the right to limit the number of people that come into the home, so sometimes that means only one person can go in at a time, and some are asking that feet coverings be worn as well.”
“Online viewing and video were already popular, but now both have become essential. Fortunately, we already have the digital tools at our disposal to do what’s now expected. Some sellers are also asking that buyers view the online virtual tour first before viewing the home in person. Additionally, in most cases, sellers are being much more strict about asking for a buyer’s loan pre-approval before allowing any showings.”
John adds that, “Realtors will need to guide their clients in following simple precautions to make the experience safe and enjoyable. Preparing a home with fresh paint and tidying up will not seem enough. Making a home Internet show-ready is our goal. Now more than ever, home staging is so important. We have an increased role to make sure the buying and selling process is a proper and safe experience for all parties.”
Q. What advice do you have for people considering selling their homes, and why?
A.“Although, we’re in new territory with Covid-19, the market has not stalled,” Nellie says. “We’ve had a healthy spring market despite the pandemic.How it shifts in the coming months really depends on how many people are impacted by job losses.”
Q. How do you feel this compares to what happened to home sales during the Great Recession?
A.John explains that, “This is much different than the Great Recession. Much of the economy built then was artificial, created and sustained by false lending practices to individuals who shouldn’t have qualified to buy homes. This is different. Until this started, we were in a strong sellers’ market with a good economy, and as Nellie noted, even now sales continue. Inasmuch, as the other sectors of the economy get back to normal, so will real estate sales.”
Q. Do you feel home buying still remains an important consideration for people?
A. “My belief is that home ownership should be the aspiration of every individual,” John advises. “It encourages good financial planning. It builds character and a good community. It encourages family and philanthropy. And it creates a vibrant economy, something we all appreciate.”
For more information on working with the Lazars, visit www.lazarrealestateservices.com.