Local realtors opt for virtual tours amidst impacts from COVID-19

According property manager Nelda Hylton, realtors in the Richmond areas have been relying more...
According property manager Nelda Hylton, realtors in the Richmond areas have been relying more on virtual tours in order to buy rent or sell real estate in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreaks.(Hylton and Company)
Updated: Mar. 26, 2020 at 11:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - For property manager Nelda Hylton, thriving in a period of social distancing due to COVID-19 means relying on technology in order to buy rent or sell real estate in Richmond.

“Everything is practically done online so it wasn’t too much of a change for us,” said Hylton. “We’re not telling you not to go look, we’re not telling you not to rent your property, but we are telling you that things look a little different now.”

Different in the real estate business for Hylton and Company Realty means utilizing cameras, virtual tours, and drone video to show off a property rather than risk the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in an open house setting. Since the social distancing restrictions began Hlyton says she and her coworkers have been working from home to prevent the spread of the virus.

Our photographer is trained to do pictures so virtual tours can be done of the property and she uses a drone so she’s able to capture every ounce of the house so buyers are able to see everything.

Hylton says the local real estate community is making similar adjustments. According to open house guidelines set up by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), realtors are encouraged realtors to enforce existing executive orders and avoid open houses that could draw out crowds of more than 10 or more people, but realtors can still show off the property in person at their discretion.

“Clients stay in their car, we open the door and once they are in we’ll let them do a self-showing of the property, so we will let them in around the property and we’ll keep a six-foot distance,” said Hylton.

According to a “Survey conducted by the NAR in March, 40% of members nationally reported they suspended holding open houses an in areas experiencing a significant COVID-19 outbreak, that number increased to 45% of members.

The NAR says realtors are allowed to ask their clients whether they are currently sick or have recently traveled but must ask those questions to all potential buyers on an equal basis To avoid fair housing concerns, be sure to direct

Hylton says she has managed to avoid major impacts to her business since the outbreak, but she expects people on the hunt for homes to continue looking and people who are renting to stay put, but eventually, the area will see a slow down for people wanting to sell their property or cancel their leases.

People are still going to continue to buy people are going to continue to rent and I don’t foresee anybody trying to break a lease to get out to get into something else because it’s too risky right now," said Hylton. "If a tenant wants to get out of their lease or they’re not renewing their lease we can’t do any shows prior to them vacating and our cleaning and resetting the property just to protect each other.

In terms of keeping your home, Hylton says homeowners who have a mortgage payment coming up who may have trouble paying during this pandemic should contact their mortgage company immediately.

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