Florida Stay-At-Home Order – Will The Real Estate Market Be Affected?

So will the housing market be affected by the new stay-at-home order issued by the Florida governor? Let's talk about that right now!

So, today we just got word that the governor of Florida has issued a brand-new stay-at-home order. And that basically means that if you are not doing something that is essential then you're being ordered to basically stay in your house unless you absolutely have to leave for necessary things like doctor's appointments or for prescription pick ups or for grocery runs. So all other activities outside of

the home have now been mandated that it needs to cease-and-desist right now in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

And I think for a lot of people that it it feels like it's getting to a scary level, which it

is. It really is and there's a lot of factors to be considered and one of the things that I think a lot of people are concerned about right now is how this COVID-19 virus could, first of all, affect

the public health of the entire nation, much less just the state of Florida. But also, you know, how put putting the brakes on the entire economy can really affect a lot of individuals, a lot of business and commerce, and it can really, really hurt the economy in a major, major way.

One of the things that came up already is real estate? Is the real estate market actually being affected by COVID-19 right now? And of course it is in a myriad of ways. We're not immune to

the effects of this virus that seems to be spreading exponentially. And what we're all trying to do is flatten the curve, right? So that people get it at a slower pace so we don't overload our healthcare system.

And of course I think that there are many, many people out there that are doing everything they can, including us as realtors. In fact, you know our business has not stopped! People still

have to buy and sell real estate, people still have to move, people still have to transfer from one place to another even though there's a crazy pandemic going on right now. So things can't really stop completely and the world is not stopping completely and the economy is not really gonna stop especially if we have things like real estate still being done.

And of course we are! I already put a house under contract this past weekend, I've got two brand-new clients – one buyer, one seller. Real estate still has to continue and it is going to continue. The only thing that's really being affected is how we're doing our business. And that's actually not a terrible, terrible thing.

Because I think it's forcing a lot of people in our industry to embrace new technology and embrace all the cool things that we are able to do now. Which we've had the ability to do, obviously, but a lot of people have been resistant in learning how to use those those tools.

And you know it's... they're being all thrust into the 21st century whether they like it or not at this point.

So the new executive order that came down from the governor, literally just a few hours ago,

is basically an executive order calling for all Floridians to stay home, except to obtain essential services which is what I was talking about before, the order is effective tomorrow night at

midnight. So it's Wednesday, so tomorrow at midnight is when it goes into effect.

So people still have the ability to go out right now get any additional supplies that they may need. Because we don't know how long this is really gonna last. I mean, it's for 30 days actually right now, so it will last into May, but who knows if that's going to be extended or not. So you know and of course you can still get out and pick up other supplies if you need to.

But the idea is to just keep people from hanging out together. I don't know if you guys have seen it but I've driven around and seen people congregating at our parks and I've seen them at the beach and that’s kind of like not in the spirit of the whole "flattening the curve" and, you know, staying away from groups of ten or more. Right? So I think it came down to the fact that the governor had to take action, and he had to take a big action or the entire state and just make everyone follow the rules. Because some people just weren't.

There are a lot of people who are, but apparently, unfortunately, some people, you know, don't feel like it applies to them, I guess. I don't know. But he finally came down today and put this executive order into place and it's gonna start tomorrow evening at midnight and it will go for 30 days. So we're gonna be into May by the time this is lifted.

And of course it does say in the order specifically that, per the order, residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, are considered essential. Although members may continue to operate, they are not required to do so. However I don't really know that many Realtors who don't want to keep working and don’t want to keep helping people find homes

and helping people sell their homes so that they can move on to the next stage

of their lives.

So most of the people that I've worked with are still working. They're still showing homes, they're still doing everything they can that facilitate real estate transactions. And this is what's gonna really help keep the economy moving forward, which is awesome.

Some of the changes, though, I think are awesome. They are different ways for us to do our business and I think that that's fantastic! One of the questions that sellers often ask is, "Can

Realtors still hold open houses?" and the answer to that is actually YES! Now if

your individual broker says we as a brokerage are not going to be doing that,

well then that's a decision that your individual broker can make.

However, for the most part, I don't see any brokers saying that you can't do it. They're

giving their Realtors the option to host an actual open house as long as not more than 10 people are in the house at one time, or doing a virtual open house, which I think is even better and a lot more fun. And it uses technology that we should have been using already. And I loved this since it came out. It just came out a few weeks ago and I said, "YES!" because I think that this is what we should have been doing all along. And if you are already doing

this, then you are already ahead of the curve and that's awesome.

Obviously we we don't have a shelter-in-place order, but it is a stay-at-home order, so it's like one little notch above the shelter-in-place order. Of course, we all want to be compliant so we're making sure to stay true to the actual orders and regulations that are coming down from the top. We don't want to go against thePresident's orders or the CDC or the WHO or the governor now of the state of Florida. We want to make sure that we're compliant with everything so if they do come out and say that we can't do certain things, well of course, we're going to comply.

But at this stage of the game we can still do in-person showings, we just need to take precautions. We can still do open houses as long as we make sure that there's not more than 10 people in the open house at any given time. Which honestly, most of the time, if you have 10 people, that’s through the entire open house. And I only do 2 hour open houses when I do. And I never have 10 people in there all at one time. I might have 10 people trickle through during the two hours. But they come in, they spend about 10 to15 minutes and then they leave. And then someone else comes in. So it's usually not an issue unless you're hosting one of those fancy events, which obviously, none of us are doing that right now.

And again, the virtual open house is kind of a cool concept. You can actually interact with people live in person while you're hosting a virtual open house. And it's very simple, very easy to do. We have the tools available to us to do this and we had it for a while. So it's very cool and easy to do that. But the other cool part about that is you can actually record it so that you can post it up with your listing and put it on your website and people can go there and watch the open house and the interaction with other other potential buyers and the questions that were asked and how they were answered by the agent. So it makes it even better because you can put it out there and now people can go and check it out any time and you can direct people there. So it's like you're getting an open house like 10 times when you only had to do it once! So that's a really cool feature.

One of the other things that is kind of a concern is if you have people contact you that want to see houses that have been sick. Now that's a touchy subject. But at this stage of the game, if

somebody is ill, we have the right to ask them if they are ill, if they've been exposed or have any symptoms. We have the right to say I'm sorry but I don't feel it's in anyone's best interests to expose more people if you have something that is contagious. And we can offer to do virtual tours, virtual showings, and not allow people inside the home so as not to spread anymore of the virus.

And I think the best part about this whole entire thing is the alternative ways to market properties. Now one of the things that I enjoy, and I brought this with me when I came into

real estate, is digital marketing. I have been all about digital marketing for years now. And I came from that background and brought that with me to my real estate business. And it's been so much fun to implement some of the cool strategies that I had learned along the way and use them to market my listings. So I have been enjoying, you know, using some of my cool tools like using Zoom and Google Hangouts and fun cameras to take pictures on my own, while still hiring a professional photographer for all the really good pictures for my listings.

A really cool new tool that I just got is a 360 degree camera. And it is super fun and it allows me to do something that almost no other agents aren't doing right now on their own. I can go into my listing, I can take 360 degree videos of each room and stitch them together to create a virtual reality tour. So what you do is, once you start watching the video, and I can upload this thing right to YouTube, and you can be playing the video and then you pause it. And I'm gonna put an example in this video to kind of give you an idea of what it looks like. It's super, super cool! So you can be watching this and when you get to it, get to the room, pause the video and then use either your mouse or your finger, depending on what device you're on, just scroll around the room and you can see it all the way around. You can see the ceilings, you can see the floors, you can see every little nook and cranny in the room because I’ve taken a 360-degree picture with my camera. And that's one of the coolest new services I'm able to offer all of my seller clients at this point. And I’m super, super excited to be able to do this. I have a couple of videos that I just shot that I'm about to post on my website and in my YouTube channel that you can go check out and see what they look like. It's gonna be so much fun to do this.

But this is the kind of thing that something like COVID-19 has kind of pushed everybody into. And I think that the world was really ready for some really advanced marketing strategies from the real estate industry. And this is our golden opportunity to actually embrace all of that and just jump in and see which things you like to use and utilize in your business. And I think it's gonna be really great for a lot of people to learn some new skills. I think overall the entire industry is just going to flourish from having to implement these types of strategies during a crazy once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Right? It's it's the like the rising tide lifts all ships. Right? So it's gonna be interesting to see how the real estate industry continues to move forward through the coming months.

Right now we are not seeing a slowdown, at all, in this market. We still have a lot of buyers looking. They may be postponing the actual physical wanting to come and look at homes in person, but they’re online, right now, looking. And the more we can give them and let them experience from the comfort of their own homes behind a computer screen, the better it’s gonna be for all of our seller clients as well. Because that way we can cut down on how many actual bodies come through their house when they don't want them to. And we can limit how many people actually are allowed to come and look at the house. Because we can say, "Go look at this, and when you're ready to make an offer, then you can come and take a look at the house in person, at that point."

But this is a great tool because we're not really short-changing any of the buyer clients.

They can still look at the house. They can look at the neighborhood. We can look at the street and everything that’s around it so you can see what your neighbors are doing, what their yards look like, what the house across the street looks like, what the whole neighborhood looks like. We can also, like, make it easier on the sellers where they're not having to be available, you know, 24/7 to let buyers come and look at their house inside. Especially if you're trying to still live in the house while you're trying to sell it. That’s always been a point of pain for a lot of sellers. It's difficult, at times, especially if you have a family and you've got to like pack up the kids or the dog and the cat and take everybody and everything out of the house for a few moments while potential buyers come and check out your house. Nobody likes that. It's not that much fun, but it's a necessity. Right? It's a means to an end.

But not anymore maybe! I mean this is gonna be a really interesting time to see how things evolve from here and I think that the technology is there. I think the industry is ready for this

kind of a change and it's strange that it took a pandemic to force people to embrace some of the cool things that we have. And I'm excited to to use some of these tools during this time. It's been really fun using the ones I was already using but now implementing some new tools and even new strategies because, you know, things are different. And people are stuck in their house and right now. We're trying to get as much out to people as we possibly can while they are stuck in front of their computers or their TV screens and get their attention and see if we can reach them while we have a captive audience, so to speak.

Yes, we do now have a stay-at-home order in the state of Florida because of COVID-19,

the coronavirus coming through the state pretty heavily. We are also taking all the precautions that the CDC and the WHO have put out there – washing our hands constantly, offering sanitizer and booties and limiting how much we actually enter into someone's home, making sure that we have sanitary wipes to wipe down knobs, and trying not to touch things that we can avoid touching. We ask our sellers now, at this point, to make sure that you go through and turn on all the lights, open the closet doors, and the only thing then the agent has to touch is the front door. And then we can just clean that on our way out. And that way nobody has to touch anything.

And, of course we, advise the buyers, "please don't touch anything in the house while we're here, just try to look with your eyes and not with your hands," that’s the way I was brought up, anyway. So things like that we can do to kind of minimize the exposure.

But then, in the long run, it's gonna be gone, and then we're gonna have a huge rush of people trying to buy and sell real estate once this is over.

We are going to try to take care of ourselves and stay as healthy as possible. And we want you to do the same. And all of our clients, sellers and buyers, to take care of themselves and avoid doing the things that the CDC advises against doing. Like make sure you're washing your hands several times a day and don't touch your face without washing your hands first. Don't touch surfaces if you don't have to. You do not have to wear a mask unless you are sick so we are avoiding wearing the masks because we want to make sure our health care workers have all the

protections that they need. I also am not wearing gloves, and none of us are wearing gloves because again, our health care workers need those way more than we do. We're doing all the things that we need to do to take the precautions necessary – avoiding groups of 10 or more

and obviously when we don't have to leave we are staying at home and taking care of ourselves at home. And doing as much as we possibly can from our homes virtually to minimize exposure and minimize the risk and minimize the amount of cases that we end up here with in Florida. So virtual showings, virtual open houses, virtual tours... all of those cool things are now at our disposal and we are welcome to use them starting now.

So this is a great time still to either buy or sell real estate! There's some fluctuation in the interest rates right now, but it's still a good time to start looking. Start your search, reach out to

a real estate agent and a lender, and get yourself pre-approved, and start looking for your needs and wants, and making a list!

And I would love to help you if you are moving to the Crestview area. I'm here at Eglin Air

Force Base, Duke Field, and a Hurlburt Field, so if your pcsing in the next 60 days to any of those bases, I'm here to assist you as best I can.

Again, you guys take care of yourselves. Follow the protocols from the CDC and

the WHO. Stay safe and stay healthy and stay inside if you possibly can.

And again, I'm Jodie Cordell the Savvy Agent here with Spence Properties in Crestview,

Florida. And just remember, it's my mission to help you live or you love, and love where you live.

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