Real Estate

Is the COVID-19 Crisis Affecting Real Estate Sales?

A Sarasota realtor weighs in.

By Ilene Denton March 25, 2020

Image: Shutterstock

Is the COVID-19 crisis affecting real estate sales? Yes and no, says Joel Schemmel of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Schemmel spoke to us Wednesday shortly after getting a direct call from a buyer who is making an offer on one of the realtor’s $4 million listings.

“It’s been more positive than I expected,” he told us. “I even had a couple of out-of-market buyers who asked me, ‘This is the time to buy, isn’t it, because some sellers are much more motivated?'”

Schemmel wears gloves when he shows properties and won’t let visitors touch anything; instead, he opens all the doors and cabinets himself. Even so, he says a few sellers are declining to show their properties right now.

“Of course, it’s an evolving situation; last week we felt everything grind to a quick stop while people were figuring things out," he says. "People are settling in and deciding that life has to go on. This week, we’ve been busy.”

He has not gotten many new calls from sellers about listings, but for those who have been sitting on the fence, he suggests they go ahead and go live with their listings. “We’re not rushing,” he says, “but the next 30, 60 days is a good time to stay home and look at properties on your computer. If they’re not active in the system, nobody’s going to look at them.”

Schemmel has experience selling under high-pressure circumstances—he went under contract with a Siesta Key listing right in the middle of Hurricane Irma.

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