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Coronavirus changes home buying scene, causing delays and cancelations

Home sellers are canceling open houses. Lenders are extending the time it takes to close a deal. Realtors are skipping the live walkthrough, giving video tours instead.

From going to the office to dining out, there’s virtually no aspect of American life untouched by the coronavirus, and that now includes buying and selling a home.

A brisk housing market is expected to cool a bit as fallout from the virus, including layoffs and statewide mandates that most residents stay home, prevents some people from going through with a purchase.

But for those continuing their housing search or in the midst of a sale, the coronavirus is upending the hunt for a home. 

“It’s absolutely different than anything I’ve seen in 20 years of real estate,” says Danielle Parent, a realtor in Cleveland who works for the brokerage Redfin.  But “there are still certain reasons people need to sell or buy a home even (in) today’s climate.”

The housing market could take a negative turn in the coming months.

Personal touch gets less personal 

Dana Bull, a realtor for Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in the Boston area, says her office is  “no longer driving clients around in our cars.  They have to meet us at the property” to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

In-person showings also tend now to be private, with even the seller’s representative skipping out.

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