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Tulsa area realtors adapt to new guidelines amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 2:30 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 21:27:16-04

TULSA, Okla. — Springtime is usual prime time for folks looking to buy or sell a home, but this spring COVID-19 restrictions appear to be impact buying and selling.

Greater Tulsa Area Realtors data shows closed listings down 9 percent, and 30 percent fewer properties are available for sale when compared to the same time last year. However, sales prices are up 12 percent.

Mary Catherine Sacra put her south Tulsa home on the market just as the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“It was the Wednesday before Spring Break,” Sacra said. “We put the sign in the yard, and I'm a teacher, and went to school that day and it was that day that Holland Hall closed."

She plans to keep it on the market until it sells, but COVID-19 is changing how homes are shown.

“Whenever we have a showing, we have to leave doors open so they can see like all of the closet doors are open, so they don't have to touch anything,” Sacra said. “All of the lights are already on so they don't have to touch anything.”

Elizabeth Beaubien, a realtor with Chinowth and Cohen, said in-person showings must maintain social distancing with six to 10 feet between realtor and client.

“We wear masks,” Beaubien said. “We wear gloves if we have them."

Brandon Neth buys homes in Tulsa for his rental business.

“Two months ago, you saw a property, called your realtor, and you go take a look at it,” he said. “There was really nothing to it.”

Right now, some sellers and buyers are uncomfortable with in-person showings and prefer to do things virtually instead.

“We’ve done completely remote showings though facetime, or videos,” Beaubien said. “I've done some through Facebook video.”

Beaubien said she’s done one sale where she and her buyer never met once in person.

“We’ve done everything through videos, photos, signed documents electronically, the closing documents have been FedEx’ed,” she said.

The National Association of Realtors recommends that all potential buyers be required to either wash hands or use alcohol-based sanitizers when entering a house. Clients should also remove shoes or cover them with disposable booties.

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