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  • Writer's pictureMichael Baird

Social Distancing in a Real Estate Transaction

Due to the severity of Covid-19/Coronavirus, all citizens of the Commonwealth are being asked to minimize personal contact. The term “social distancing” has certainly been thrust into our collective lexicon. The practice of social distancing could potentially impact how we serve our clients. Here are some thoughts to keep yourself and others safer during this time.

Consider making listings strictly appointment viewing. Governor Baker’s limitation of a gathering to 25 people does NOT bode well with recent crowds at open houses. There really is minimal control over who comes to an open house. Have a serious conversation with your sellers about limiting marketing to appointment viewing and realtor caravan tours.

Consider a lender’s workforce when laying out dates. If office workforces are to be limited, then timely loan processing WILL be impacted. Have a serious conversation with your loan officer about the lender’s workforce and realistic time frames. If you don’t have contact with your loan officer to ask these questions, then read the blog post here about How to Hire a Mortgage Professional.

Limit crowds at the closing table. This is tough. Real estate transactions and closings in particular are a happy, social time, and the culmination of A LOT of work for A LOT of people. While the standard transaction has about 10 people in the room; only the buyers and the settlement agent are truly essential. Seller’s documents can be delivered via overnight. Consider following up with your clients after the closing with a gift; and connecting with co-broke at a different time of the day or via mail.

DO NOT close at the Registry of Deeds. The registries are pushing this practice. Registries are encouraging folks to close in attorney’s offices and file paperwork electronically. Most recordings can be done electronically and an experienced real estate law firm is set up for this process. So, as a rule of thumb, close at the closing attorney’s office.

We’re in real estate because we like people. It’s counterintuitive to limit our direct contact with each other during this transaction, but it’s important for everyone. Please be mindful, be safe, and if ever there were a time to say; it’s okay, call me.

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