Believe it or not, in spite of the Shelter-in-Place order effective 3/17/2020, there is some activity in the local real estate market.
The chart below shows activity by community:
The Governor’s order to Shelter-in-Place did not consider the transacting of residential real estate to be an essential business practice, consequently, private showings, public open houses, and broker preview events were canceled. However, over the weekend, the California Association of Realtors informed us that we have been reclassified as “essential”. We understand that the Bay Area Boards of Realtors will be working with the various counties’ Health Departments to develop safe practices for conducting business. We suspect that activity may be limited to unoccupied homes and may likely prohibit public events such as broker preview events and public open houses.
Title companies remain open for business, but County Recorder’s offices have restricted hours. Some counties have the ability to record documents electronically, however, they still need a person present to support the process. In Alameda County, they do not have electronic filing and documents are delivered to a mailbox for subsequent recording.
Other issues have related to banking practices. While banks are considered essential, some have not been able to get homes appraised to establish their “collateral/loan value”. Some appraisers have been willing to go into vacant houses for doing their valuations, while others have not. Some institutions have adjusted their requirements to allow drive-by valuations.
In spite of these challenges, business is still transacting.
We have spent our time in virtual appointments with clients and colleagues, thanks to Zoom and Google Hangouts. The old adage about necessity being the mother of invention has never been truer! We are learning how to serve our clients in new ways and we are looking forward to the day when we are able to see everyone live!