Coronavirus forcing real estate agents to get creative with virtual house tours

Sellers would rather not have unknown visitors while coronavirus is spreading, realtors say

If you’re in the market to buy a home, it’ll most likely be behind a screen.

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The real estate industry has been forced to transform how people tour and buy properties. Realtors are now leaning on virtual showings, which could potentially become the only option amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Zillow announced it’s halting buying properties in all 24 operating markets to adhere to “Stay at Home” policies, now active in 15 states. But even realtors in states without restrictive policies say buyers and sellers don’t want to come in contact with each other or risk infection in a stranger’s home.

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A Princeton, New Jersey, real estate agent told FOX Business’ Deirdre Bolton that she advised all clients to drop their listings unless the property was already vacant.

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According to Lawrence Yun, a chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, about 20 percent of all real estate listings have been pulled due to coronavirus fears.

“If [coronavirus impact] extends for six months or longer … the job losses will feed to more job losses and that could be very detrimental for the economy and will hurt the confidence of home buying,” Yun said.

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And even though current low rates are tempting to house hunters, Yun said buyers are still hesitant to invest in such a volatile market.