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FORT WALTON BEACH — Rachel Nichols and her husband decided to pack their bags and drive across the country in an RV.
“It’s something we’ve been planning for six months,” Nichols said. “It’ll be exciting to wake up and go on adventures.”
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But first, they are negotiating to sell their Fort Walton Beach home. The property, currently under contract pending sale, is one of the many properties that Relax Realty has helped to sell.
For Relax Realty, there has been a small drop in numbers, but it is still selling and showing many of its properties, said Heather Blatz, broker and owner of the Fort Walton Beach company.
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“I think it’s been a positive environment,” she said.
Nichols and her husband aren’t the only ones buying and selling homes during COVID-19.
Yvonne Comesario is looking to downsize her home in Crestview.
“There are a lot of variables put out right now,” Comesario said.
Because Gov. Ron DeSantis declared real estate an essential business, properties are still being shown to potential buyers, but many restrictions have been added to help ensure the safety of agents, homeowners and buyers.
Coldwell Banker is “embracing the virtual tour,” said Barrie Scaglione, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Realty in Fort Walton Beach.
She said the virtual movement has been very successful.
“I can see that being a tool in the future,” Scaglione said.
Nichols said about half the people who toured her home did it online.
Real estate companies have also instituted other protocols.
Scaglione said Coldwell Banker Realty has ongoing virtual training for its agents. Relax Realty asks homeowners to keep doors open and lights on to minimize the need to touch different surfaces.
While Blatz noticed a slight drop in the number of potential buyers, Scaglione said she hasn’t seen a slowdown in the housing market yet.
“It’s been busy,” she said. “Our phones are ringing.”
While Scaglione says she doesn’t know what the effects of the COVID-19 may look like in the future, she says there may be a lot of pent-up demand.
“Real estate always bounces back,” she said.