Realtors prepare to return to work this week

Posted at 8:27 PM, May 03, 2020

The countdown is on for West Michigan realtors who will be going back to business this week after Governor Whitmer signed an executive order this past Friday allowing real estate, construction, and other outdoor businesses to reopen.

“I’ve been kind of gearing up, preparing for this moment, so to have it happen sooner rather than later is even more exciting,” said Rachel Major, a licensed agent at Keller Williams Rivertown in Grandville.

Major says opens houses, showings, and in-person meetings stopped at the end of March.

“COVID19 obviously put a huge restriction on what we can and cannot do,” said Major. “Showings right now during COVID looked like a Zoom call, so the seller would be walking through the property, agent would be on the call, and the client so that was obviously different.”

“It’s all been done online… through DocuSign,” said Andrea Crossman, a realtor at Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt in Holland. “I think everybody is excited.”

Crossman and Major say moving forward, most offices will require people to wear masks and gloves and maintain proper social distancing.

In addition, the Governor’s order requires any showings, inspections, or other business to be done by appointment only with no more than four people at a time. It bans any in-person open houses.

“Just to make sure that we have all these items so clients feel safe and the sellers selling their home feel safe,” said Major.

Both women believe this is the right move to get Michigan’s economy going again.

“You’ve got lenders, appraisers, inspectors, survey companies, title companies, so a lot of people have a job when a real estate transaction happens,” said Major. “Without real estate moving forward, it can really affect the economy as a whole.”

Majors and Crossman admit the market slowed during the pandemic. Majors says her association’s pending transactions have dropped 43 percent since the stay at home order while Crossman says her association lost 25 percent. They believe the West Michigan housing market will make up for the losses after doors open up Thursday.

According to Majors, sellers do not need to do anything different as long as they have an agent they trust. However, she says buyers should check with their loan officers if they plan to start looking again because many lenders have changed their requirements during the pandemic.

“Inventory was low before COVID19 and now it’s still very low,” said Majors. “There’s going to be a flood of homes hitting the market this weekend. I’ve already got buyers ready to tour properties.”

“Grand Rapids is one of the few economies that’s still doing really well, so I’m predicting that we’re going to see pretty strong spring and summer times,” said Crossman.