Can you still see homes during the coronavirus outbreak? That is exactly what we’re going to be talking about right now.

Hi, my name is Johanna Dueren. I’m with Circa Properties here in beautiful St. Louis, Missouri and as we all know we are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak here in St. Louis and across the entire country. I have been contacted by several buyers, current buyers and new people that are thinking about looking at properties, especially considering that rates are so low. And the first question that everybody is asking me is are we still able to look at houses during the coronavirus outbreak? I would like to start by saying that if you do not have to move right now, I would recommend just putting your move on hold. I think that rates are going to stay low for a while. It is not worth your health or the health of other people to get out in the world and take a look at things.

Currently here in St. Louis, today is Saturday the 28th and last Monday the 23rd we went under the official sheltering in place advisory from St. Louis city and St. Louis County. So we are under a state of emergency. If moving is one of those things that you can put off for a couple of months, I highly would recommend that you do that. Stay home, play more Scrabble, watch more Netflix, cook, do all the things that you need to do to just stay at home. That being said, not everybody has that option. There are several people out there right now that actually really have to move and don’t have an option. So if that is the case, here are some of the ways that we are protecting ourselves, protecting you and that we are able to still get you into a house while we are dealing with the pandemic. So to start with at Circa Properties where I work, all of our listings are done on a virtual tour on something called Matterport.

So I’m going to put a link below to my listing at 1411 South 10th Street so that you can get an idea of what the Matterport process looks like. It’s a virtual tour so you don’t have to leave your house. You can get in the house, you can pivot around, you can virtual tour the entire home without actually stepping foot in it. This is going to give you a huge opportunity to take a look at all kinds of property before you get serious about going out and taking a look at something and deciding if something is a good fit for you or not. And I would say in this environment it’s probably best to be super discriminating.

If you think that once you get somewhere and a certain floor plan or something about it is not going to work for you, then let’s go ahead and cross it off your list now. There’s no reason to risk your health to get you into the property if you have questions about it. As you’re looking at some of the Matterport tours and the other companies virtual home tours, I would really be super discriminating in only making appointments to see the things that you think are absolutely a plus 100% fits for you.

I will start by saying, if you are feeling sick, if you are having any symptoms at all, please do not even contact an agent. Just stay home and we will wait until after you’re feeling better to go and take a look, but you’re feeling well and you’ve done your virtual tour and now you’d like to make an appointment to go and take a look at something. Here are the precautions that we are taking. If a seller has decided that they are okay with allowing showings, we are asking them to leave all of the lights on, leave all of the doors open, leave all the cabinet doors open, the linen closets, the pantry so that it minimizes the amount of things that the agent and the buyer need to touch to open when they go to the property. If you are a buyer client of mine, I’m asking you to drive separately.

I will meet you there at the property. Bring plenty of hand sanitizer. If you don’t have hand sanitizer just let me know. I’ve got plenty and I can bring some and you know spray you down before we go inside while we are in the property, just be super respectful of the person that lives there. If it’s an occupied property, we’re going to try to touch as little as possible. Like I said, if it’s one of our properties we’ll have the sellers kind of open everything up. If it’s somebody else’s listing, we don’t really have control over what they are leaving open or leaving on, but we’ll try to touch as little as possible. Then we are trying to keep respectful distance from each other. Obviously we don’t want to be right on top of each other. We’ll try to be at least six feet apart from each other so we can limit the exposure that we have to each other.

After you are leaving a property, it’s best… and this is probably actually just a good idea in general, it’s best to have your conversations about the property separately so we’re not going to stay in the house and talk about it. We probably won’t even stay outside and talk about it. Go ahead and get in your car. We’ll get on the phone, we’ll have all of our conversations about what you think about it, what you think your next steps are and that way we are limiting our exposure to each other in that way as well. If you decide to move forward with the property, please keep in mind as well that timeframes right now are a little bit bajiggity with everything, inspections, appraisals, city occupancy inspections, all those might take a little bit longer. So work with your agent to make sure that your timeframes make sense. Make sure that everybody on both sides of the deal understand that we’re all going to be super patient with each other and we are going to work together to get to the closing table given all of the circumstances.

And in general, I’d like to say that that sentiment can transfer really to everything right now. Just taking a moment to just slow down and not be in such a rush to do things will, I think, pay off for all of us in the end. We all just need to be a little bit more patient with each other right now, and as with all things including real estate, we can get to the finish line together.

I would like to add personally a thank you to everybody out there that is a first responder. I have several clients currently that are working at the hospitals that are doctors and nurses, and I am worried about them every day. I especially want to thank all the people that are working in the grocery stores that are working at the gas stations, putting themselves at risk so that life can go on for everybody else in some capacity. A huge thank you for all of that. We could not be doing all of this without all of the people that are helping, so hopefully that was helpful. Let’s hope all of this is over soon. Please take care of yourselves and take care of each other.

Can I see houses during COVID-19? Even with the right precautions it can be dangerous and we suggest putting your home search on hold if you can. Here are the ways that we are protecting our clients and ourselves. This video was shot on March 28th so things may change between when this was shot and when this is viewed but we will continue to do our best to keep you updated on what we can and can not do.

EXAMPLE OF MATTERPORT VIRTUAL TOUR: Page down to the middle of the page to get an idea of how a Mattereport virtual tour works:

And CDC guidelines: