“I feel like I’m inside an acid trip”: Inside a broker’s virtual open house

Agents are still figuring out how to handle a rapidly transformed real estate environment

TRD NATIONAL /
May.May 11, 2020 11:00 AM
Brokers are still navigating a new real estate world amid the coronavirus pandemic (Credit: iStock, Pixabay)

Brokers are still navigating a new real estate world amid the coronavirus pandemic (Credit: iStock, Pixabay)

In late April, about 60 agents got together in a virtual conference room for a virtual open house. Their experiences with the new process were varied.

“I feel like I’m inside an acid trip,” one agent wrote in a private text, according to the New York Times.

Developers and potential buyers are still trying to navigate a new and strange housing market in the wake of New York’s stay-at-home order. Prices are down about 20 percent from their 2016 peak, and sales and listings have been disappearing during what is normally prime buying season.

A recent report saw just one luxury property go into contract in Manhattan in a week, a nosedive not seen since the last financial crisis.
And between March 22 and April 29, there were just 643 contracts signed in Manhattan, fewer than half of the amount signed during the same time period a year ago, according to numbers from GS Data Services.

For the week ending April 26, there were only 59 new listings posted in Manhattan, an 88 percent drop year over year, according to UrbanDigs.

Gerald Germany, a Douglas Elliman agent who organized the virtual open house, said the event was the best way for agents to have their listings reach a wide audience while in-person showings are still not allowed. But even he has just one signed contract since the beginning of the lockdown, and the buyer visited that apartment right before restrictions started.

“We’re going to have to wait until these people can get in and see the units,” he told the Times. [NYT] — Eddie Small


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