Melanie Cauchon is Broker & Owner of My Cape Cod Realty Melanie Cauchon Real Estate.
Melanie is also a good friend of mine. She was very happy to do this interview . Maybe some day we could do a live zoom meeting.
Melanie Cauchon is Broker & Owner of My Cape Cod Realty
e mail adress Melanie@MyCapeCodRealty.com
• How was the market like before the pandemic?
The market on Cape Cod was very good before the pandemic. Property values were going up every month with premium being paid for homes that were new or renovated.
There was a shortage of inventory of houses for sale which was causing prices to keep going up.
• Was your city, your region locked down?
The governor of our state (Massachusetts) ordered a lock down to start on March 17th. Only essential businesses were to stay open with strict rules.
Real estate brokers are allowed to show properties in person, but with distancing rules.
While wearing a mask in public was not made mandatory until this week by the governor, my company, Melanie Cauchon Real Estate , has required that everyone wears masks & gloves for any showing at the properties we market.
We have disinfecting wipes and wipe any door knob visitors touch.
Virtual showings are encouraged too.
• How did you feel working during the quarantine?
We have to keep working and doing everything we usually do, but it feels like everything requires more work & more time.
• Did you take new sales assignment from property owners, were you able to sell properties?
Since the lock down, we have been able close on all our listings that we were marketing before Covid.
The closings were held remotely and the recording filed electronically.
We are still taking new sales assignments (Listings). Some of our clients prefer to wait to sell, or start marketing without in person showing until the lock down is over.
We mostly show houses that are vacant and most home owners who are selling the house they live in want to wait for the lock down to end.
But we take the assignment and do virtual marketing and showings until then.
Our professional real estate association has created a ‘COMING SOON’ status for properties to be marketed before we can access them in person.
Some buyers who are temporarily not working due to the lock down have been told they must wait to be back to work before bank will give them the same mortgage they approved them for before the lock down.
So again, everything takes more time than before.
• Did you find innovative tools which helped your daily job?
We were fortunate that our Melanie Cauchon Real Estate team was already using innovative tools even before COVID.
Being that our market has a lot of 2nd home buyers who come from all over the USA and all over the world, we had taken initiative to differentiate ourselves by offering our clients private virtual video previews of properties.
So they could tour houses LIVE with us from their home. We used SKYPE, WhatsApp, Facebook Live, Facetime, Zoom or the tools that worked best for our clients.
And for a better buyer experience, we not only tour houses, but neighborhoods too, we show the beaches ,the golf courses, the downtown, marinas, etc.
Any amenities that is of interest to our clients and may give them a chance to virtually experience the beauty of Cape Cod until they can visit in person.
So during COVID, we continue to do it and we do it with local clients too now.
• In your opinion, is it possible to sell houses only by organizing virtual tours for the potential buyers?
The majority of buyers will want to visit the house in person at some point. But even before COVID, we had sold some properties ‘Site Unseen’ using virtual video tours.
It is rare, but it can be done.
We are finding now that buyers look as many virtual tours as possible, but see fewer houses in person before making an offer.
Recent local Cape Cod statistics show that buyers used to look at an average of 9 or 10 houses before making an offer.
And that they now look at 3 (in person) in average before making an offer. (They may have looked at 10 virtually, but 3 in person)
• What do you think will happen in the real estate market?
Because of how strong our Cape Cod market was before Covid, prices have remained stable. Inventory of houses for sale has gone down with many people preferring to wait to sell.
Some have even taken their houses off the market temporarily.
We fortunately have tools to see how many people view our properties online. The number of online views has gone up incredibly since the lock down.
We feel that there may be a surge of buyers in our market when everything finally reopens.
Many buyers who were looking and ready to buy before covid are still waiting for more houses to come on the market to buy. I think we will have a backlog of buyers added to new buyers which will drive the demand.
• Do you think the concept of living space inside the house have changed due to the quarantine experience?
I think more people will want a home office space in both their primary and second homes. Families with children were favoring houses with a playroom separate from the living room and that will definitely become even more important.
I believe areas like Cape Cod with properties with more yard, more of your own ‘isolated’ & safe space will be more sought after as an ‘escape from the big cities’.