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Real Estate Market Struggling During COVID-19 Pandemic, With Ban On Open Houses

CHICAGO (CBS) -- COVID-19 has sent the real estate market into a tailspin; potential buyers don't want to or can't see homes for sale. CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas has learned the struggling market has even resulted in some furloughs.

Virtual home tours have been around for years, but realtor Jesse Nocon and his team at Müv Real Estate had never used them.

"Let's face it, a lot of people spending a lot of money on their properties, their homes, don't want to buy a property via virtual tour," he said.

Now it's one of their only options to show off their listings.

"Currently we're forbidden to do any open houses," he said

Realtors can still show a property, but just to a few people at a time. When they do that, they're providing hand sanitizer and leaving doors open, so no one has to touch the handles.

Spring and summer are typically peak real estate seasons, with people buying left and right. But right now?

"Bottom line is slow. The market is slow," Nocon said.

Tim Mullet is a broker with Dream Town Realty, who recently applied for a small business loan to keep him afloat.

"If we're not selling and closing homes, there's no paycheck coming in, right?" he said. "If you can afford the time to wait, maybe wait a few weeks, but if you're in a position where you need to buy or rent, we are here to help."

The real estate brokerage Redfin recently furloughed about 40% of its agents.

Nocon said his team works on commission, so no one at Müv will be furloughed. That doesn't mean they're not hurting.

"We're anticipating, hopefully, if this ends around summertime, real estate season will go on past the summer and into the fall and winter season," he said.

He expects prices to drop slightly, but nothing major. The big change will be getting back to face-to-face tours.

Three other real estate notes:

Some closings involve drive-by document signing, and now comes word of remote notarizing in Illinois.

The Cook County Assessor's Office says they will be looking at data to see how this pandemic has changed property values for their assessments.

If you're renting, landlords are not allowed to give in-person tours unless the home is already vacant.



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