COBB COUNTY, Ga - Looking to buy a home? These days most of your home tours will be online to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
The real estate industry has changed a lot due to the pandemic. Gone are the days you'd hop in a car with an agent and drive around looking at homes. Now almost everything is done virtually.
"Buyers can kind of eliminate homes without even stepping foot in them," said real estate agent Callie Ruffus with Callie & Company Real Estate.
Ruffus says so much has changed in a very short time when it comes to buying and selling houses.
"Now we can do a listing presentation through Zoom or Facetime, where we can just connect virtually. The owner can walk us through their home, we see what we can see and move forward from there," said Ruffus.
Buyers are doing a lot of shopping online before they even think about touring a house in person.
"The virtual tours really are tremendously helpful, especially the ones where you can walk yourself through the home, those are pretty amazing," said Ruffus.
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Potential buyers can also use Google maps to check out the neighborhood.
Spring is typically a very busy time for real estate agents. While sales are down slightly in Cobb County since the pandemic hit, homes are still moving.
Real estate agent Tracey Viars just sold a home earlier this month, and it went quickly.
"We put the sign-up and within 72 hours we had 4 shoppers and 2 offers," said Viars.
Viars says only serious buyers toured the home in person. She and the homeowner made sure they took precautions to keep everyone safe.
"We had Clorox wipes at the door, we left all the doors open, all the lights on so there was as little touching of surfaces as possible," said Viars.
"One person wanted me to wipe down all the doorknobs and handles so I did that, I made sure to wipe down all the surfaces," said homeowner Toni McGarey.
Agent Callie Ruffus says in some ways this new way of doing things makes her job easier, but she admits she misses the personal contact.
"I'm a people person. I love showing homes and seeing their eyes light up when they find that perfect home so that part I hope doesn't go away, but I think everything leading up to that, eliminating homes with virtual tours and things of that nature will definitely be a big change in our industry," said Ruffus.
Best prevention measures:
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
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