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Scott Nagel, left, Redfin president of real estate operations, and Anthony Kappus, Redfin general counsel, during a livestream on YouTube. (YouTube screen grab)

More people may be turning to virtual experiences when it comes to buying and selling homes during the coronavirus outbreak, and on Thursday, Seattle-based real estate company Redfin hosted a livestream presentation to share insights and tips for getting by during the crisis.

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“Real estate is stressful for clients and customers even without the coronavirus” said Scott Nagel, Redfin’s president of real estate operations, during a chat with general counsel Anthony Kappus on YouTube called “Selling Homes in a Virtual World.”

The company hoped to address some of the added concerns agents and clients and others across the real estate industry are having as they try to sell homes or close deals during the escalating crisis across the U.S.

Redfin has already canceled open houses and limited home tours to actual buying customers. Other steps and technology that the company recommends leaning — to “make listings shine online” — include:

  • Use 3D scans to create an open house experience. With a whole floor plan, uses can go through a home and get good idea of the layout.
  • Host a virtual broker’s open house with self-shot video tour. Use a chat platform such as Facetime with the seller agent and buyer agent doing a virtual walk through a home.
  • Use virtual staging to fill an empty house so you don’t have to rely on a real stager putting real furniture in, or getting it out.
  • Check in and review offers virtually in Zoom or Google Hangouts, where documents can be shared and gone over together in real time.
  • Use e-signing, e-closing and mobile notary services.

In a time of social distancing and uncertainty around just about everything, it is possible to remain close to clients, Nagel said, by staying in contact with them and letting them know where the process stands.

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Nagel and Kappus also discussed the use of COVID-19 addendums, such as one that would allow a deal to be put on pause. The world is changing quickly and people may need flexibility.

“Add them when you don’t think you need them, because it’s way easier to put them in place now,” Nagel said. “I would include this pretty much across the board in every contract.”

Agents should also be tracking county courthouse closures to get ahead of disruptions or shelter-in-place orders that would hinder the ability to file documents.

Watch the full video below:

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