Today, Governor Bullock issued a Shelter in Place Order (Order) for the state of Montana. This order begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 28 and goes through midnight on Friday, April 10 to assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Rest assured that we at Ahmann Brothers Real Estate take seriously our role as an essential business under this Order and will stand with you as your real estate needs require. Our team is both compassionate about and committed to helping our clients and friends.
If you are involved in a transaction, the process will go on. Our partners in the industry are also covered under the Order and will continue to insure, finance, inspect, appraise, repair and close real estate transactions. We are grateful for this opportunity to move forward but will continue to develop best practices with our industry and partners. Our world has moved steadily towards online platforms and we will continue to utilize those even as we work differently in these days.
If your home or property is for sale, we will stay the course. There have been incredible changes in methodology in a short period of time. More and more often, buyers are making decisions to purchase based on information provided through online portals. With our distinct commitment to excellent photography, robust descriptions and well-prepared documentation; our listings have the benefit of really standing out in online environments. The reality is that though our industry is noted as an essential business, showings will likely be diminished in coming days. That does not mean that Buyers will not still be in the market to engage in a great home while obtaining favorable mortgage rates. Even in this environment, some of you simply have to stay the course in buying and selling.
While COVID-19 has canceled, postponed, and slowed down much of our lives, the local real estate market remains strong as we continue to have a challenging inventory environment coupled with historically low interest rates. If you are wondering how this pandemic affects you on the homefront, our team is dedicated to working with you and simply answering your questions in these uncertain times. Now, as always, we are here to support you in your home ownership needs and goals.
Health professionals, the Order and the CDC say if you must leave your house, use an abundance of caution and minimize social interactions. You can meet nearly all of your real estate needs without leaving your home. Now is a good time to download our Ahmann Brothers Real Estate app or to visit us online at MoveToHelena.com. You can view listings, setup searches, get notified about new listings, contact our industry partners, review market information and communicate with us directly from these platforms.
More than anything, we want you to know how much we appreciate your understanding and loyalty as we navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. Further information follows below related to our operational procedures during these times.
Our Operations and Procedures:
We see the potential on the horizon that greater significance may be placed on plans to buy and sell as economic needs change and as people seek the comfort of a smaller community to call home. In that light, our team, in concert with our local, state and national REALTOR Associations, has adopted the following to assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19 under the Governor’s Shelter in Place Order. We will continue to monitor the situation and are also consulting resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and may implement additional measures in our small, fiercely independent brokerage.
For our Seller clients:
· We ask that you inform us of any household members experiencing symptoms of illness, who may have traveled in the past two weeks, or who may have possibly come into contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19. In this situation, we will postpone showings until a two-week clear window has passed. Also, we request that the you clean and disinfect all areas used by the ill person, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
· In the event we have a request for a showing, we will inquire with the Buyer Agent to determine if the prospective Buyer or their Agent is experiencing symptoms of illness, may have traveled in the past two weeks, or may have possibly come into contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19. In this situation, we will postpone showings until a two-week clear window has passed.
· In the event we have an agreeable showing, we will assist you in maintaining a supply of disposable booties (shoe covers) and disposable gloves. We ask that you provide access to hand sanitizer in a conspicuous location near the entry to your home.
· For all showings, we advise sellers to leave all lights on and interior doors open. We further ask that you sanitize surfaces prior to leaving the house, before each showing, before a home inspection, before an appraiser enters the home, and to sanitize again immediately upon returning to the home.
· We will not be holding Open Houses under any circumstances.
For our Buyer Clients:
· We will inquire with you to see if you are experiencing symptoms of illness, may have traveled in the past two weeks, or may have possibly come into contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19. In this situation, we will postpone showings until a two-week clear window has passed.
· We will keep a supply of disinfecting wipes, disposable booties (shoe covers) and disposable gloves to make available for showings. We ask that you provide your own hand sanitizer.
· We ask that you meet us at each showing in your own vehicle rather than having you ride along in our vehicle. We will continue to converse with you between and after showings to provide guidance and obtain your feedback, but will do so via telephone, text messaging and email.
· We ask that you sanitize your hands before entering each home and keep a healthy distance while inside the house. Do not touch light switches, cabinets pulls or doorknobs unless wearing gloves. Do not remove shoes but rather wear booties and take them with you when you leave. Use clean disposable booties and gloves for each home visited. Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds or use hand sanitizer immediately upon leaving the home.
· Consider the use of FaceTime showings as a means of obtaining first impressions of a property, followed by in-person showings as necessary. Please consider the guidance our Buyer agents can provide during the process as they genuinely care for your needs first and foremost.
· We urge you NOT to attend Open Houses, but rather to utilize the process above for looking at homes that meet your requirements.
For all of our Clients:
· We ask for your patience and request that we not interact face-to-face if you have not been feeling well or if you have recently traveled (within the last 2 weeks). We will postpone showings and direct meetings with you until a two-week clear window has passed.
· We will promote the use of email, phone and text for our primary means of communicating with you. In the event that we need a face-to-face meeting, we promise to provide a clean environment in our offices. We ask that you allow us to assist with opening of doors or in using light switches, etc. We will promptly sanitize all surfaces at the end of our meeting as well as daily.
· We will utilize preparation of documents in an electronic format and will obtain signatures, initials, etc. via Authentisign in order to limit the direct contact we have with our clients. We have become well versed in this exercise and it can further help lessen the transfer of paper between us, our clients, your lenders, title companies and the many other people involved with your transaction.
To close, we want to express to you that your safety and well-being is our number one priority. If at any time you are uncomfortable, just let us know. It’s fine with us if you choose to postpone listing and/or showings. We will fully support your decision.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this time. With vigilance and thoughtfulness; together, we promise to plan a way forward and to put our relationship with you first.
With my very Best,
Rick Ahmann, Broker/Owner