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Alex Carbajal is still selling houses, though some of the methods he uses have changed a bit in light of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines.
For now, the owner of a ReMax agency smack in the middle of downtown is still headed to the office every day — though he has a fully equipped home office from which he can do business.
And business is both good and bad.
“It is a seller’s market right now,” Carbajal told The Kansan. “... It is the same story, we have very low inventory.”
The low inventory led the city to create a home builder’s incentive program last year, but it persists.
And, because of COVID-19, agents in his office are not doing as much prospecting. They are not calling on homeowners to encourage them to sell.
“It is hard to help buyers find houses,” Carbajal said.
However, there are still buyers. That may change as the economy changes, or as the virus spreads.
“I think it will naturally happen,” Carbajal said.
They are, however, trying to take care of the buyers that are found.
“We are asking buyers to show up just by themselvers, maybe the husband and wife, but do not bring the kids along,” Carbajal said. “If we have to do things remotely, we can.”
Remotely means video tours online. The internet is not viewed as a disruptor of the business model, but what allows for the business to continue.
“We are now completely paperless, which allows us to do everything electronically,” Carbajal said. “... we have closed houses where buyers have never seen the house [in person], only seeing it on video. We do not do that a lot, but we have done it.”
Face-to-face meetings are more difficult.
“We have to ask them, and we have to trust that they are being honest,” Carbajal said. “If they are sick, we need to know that. If they are not honest, and we show up to an appointment and we can tell they are clearly sick. I personally will say, we will reschedule this.”
Agents can run much of their business by smartphone — but there are other businesses and governmental offices that need to remain available for agents to keep moving forward.
There is still a need for a title company, register of deeds and others to help finish the sale when it occurs.