BOSTON (CBS) - Just like every industry, the coronavirus flipped the real estate market upside down, completely changing the way realtors, buyers and sellers do business. Realtor Lisa Sevajian of The Property Shop at Compass said the normal spring market is like Super Bowl Sunday every weekend. This year, realtors were left scrambling to keep everyone safe in the process.
"It became virtual showings and 3D tours and Matterport tours, which are really cool, but it doesn't really replace seeing a house in person," said Sevajian.
Realtors are also finding it's changing what buyers want - like storage pantries and pools - and changing where they want to live: with some space. Sevajian is now going out of her way to highlight in listings if a unit has self-contained air systems.
"A lot of times people will come to us and say, 'Does the condo have in-unit laundry?' because they didn't want to share laundry. Now, it's more like, 'I don't want to see anyone if I'm concerned. I don't want to wear a mask and gloves to go to the laundry. I don't want my laundry basket to touch other people's laundry,'" she said.
A recent Harris Poll found nearly a third of Americans are considering moving out of the city. Sabrina Salvati and her husband in Somerville weren't planning on house hunting for at least another year. Now, they feel a sense of urgency.
"We knew living in the city we would sacrifice outdoor space. We were fine with that because we would get to do some things in the city like concerts, sports games, festivals. If this is the way it's going to be for a while, does it really make sense for us to spend a lot of money to live in the city to not do things in the city?" Salvati said.
Steadfast city-dwellers will say this, too, shall pass. But there's no denying what's different.
"It doesn't mean you still can't live in the city safely; I would love to do it someday. But I'm pretty happy we didn't relocate yet," said Sevajian.
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