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COVID-19 changing real estate practices

COVID changing real estate practices
COVID-19 is causing some changes to traditional real estate practices in Pocatello.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Coronavirus-related safety precautions may make real estate traditions, like open houses and agents driving potential buyers from house to house, things of the past.

Currently, there are significantly fewer than usual homes on the market, according to Greg Johnston, a REALTOR for Keller Williams Realty East Idaho.

"On a typical day, we’ll see 10 to 15 homes hit the market. Right now, I think we’re seeing five to six," Johnston said.

The low inventory has been beneficial for sellers, who are seeing homes sell faster than usual.

"We have more homes pending - meaning they have an offer on it - than we actually have as an active for sale listing," Johnston said. "So homes are selling really quickly."

Interestingly, a majority of the homes currently on the market are vacant. Somewhat of an anomaly, according to Johnston.

"People who are living in their home may not want others coming through and they’ve not put their home on the market."

"So, when most of the homes are vacant right now, I think it’s because someone owns the house, they’ve moved out and they don’t feel that there’d be any health or safety risks," he explained.

Of course not every home is vacant. And for those who are currently living in a home they are trying to sell, precautions are paramount.

Johnston said that in-person tours are now conducted in masks and gloves, with sanitizer always at the ready.

Still, some people prefer not to have anyone enter their home. As a result, video home tours have been on the rise. Johnston says some sellers will only let serious buyers into their homes.

"We’ve always tried to be cautious in people’s homes and be respectful, but what we’re doing now, I’ve never seen that in my 20 years of real estate," he said.

Despite what you might think, Johnston says now is a great time to be in the market.

"I haven’t seen any indication of values coming down, I still think they’ll go up this year because of our low housing inventory and with a lot of people still moving to Pocatello to take jobs," he said.

"It is a good time to buy a home, we just ask that you use your safety precautions. If you’re not feeling well, don’t go look at houses. But if you’re feeling healthy, let's go house shopping."

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