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Real estate sales strong in Nevada County despite challenges

Real estate sales in western Nevada County have remained strong during the coronavirus pandemic and have opened up opportunities for some people like photographers and videographers to provide virtual tours.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

Selling real estate during the government-mandated COVID-19 shutdown has been “a big learning curve,” realtor Teresa Dietrich acknowledged.

But she’s not really complaining.

“I think it’s a big thing that we have the ability to go out and show property,” Dietrich said. “It’s fantastic. Other counties are not able to do that at all, they can only show (properties) virtually.”

Nevada County real estate agents are being allowed to show properties in person, after they first show them virtually, and after potential buyers jump through some extra hoops, she explained.

Making sure listings display properties accurately has been vital, Dietrich said,

“A lot of areas don’t have good internet, so you have to figure out work-arounds,” she said. “It has made it much more important to get professional photography and virtual tours, so buyers can make sure it’s a fit before they come to the property.”

Agents now are requiring buyers to be pre-qualified to purchase a property and be willing to verify they have not been exposed to the coronavirus, Dietrich said, And anyone touring a property must wear gloves, masks and shoe coverings.

“There have been a lot of changes to the way we do business,” she said, adding, “We are seeing the elimination of the tire kickers.”

The new protocols do save agents and sellers a lot of time in the long run — but it means a lot of advance prep time is needed to show a property.

“It just adds another layer, and it is time consuming,” Dietrich said.

Nevada County is seeing some effects from the shutdown, largely driven by an exacerbated lack of inventory.

The beginning of 2020 was looking like a banner year, Dietrich said. Nevada County Realtors Association Executive Kathy Hinman agreed, saying the county had an “amazing” number of sales in January and February.

Sellers are hesitant to list right now, for a variety of reasons.

“If you have listings with sellers who are older or who have underlying health conditions, some of those have come off the market because it is too scary to have strangers in their house,” Dietrich said. “We are seeing some hold situations. … I think most sellers are of the mindset they will wait and see what happens.”

According to Dietrich and Hinman, that low inventory, and a pool of cash buyers, means Nevada County is not seeing much of a price drop in sales.

“A lot of people moving here are retired, or buying second homes, or self-employed,” Dietrich said. “We have a lot of cash transactions — people who worked hard, scrimped and saved, sold houses in the Bay Area a while ago and they can buy with cash. For those people, this is a really good market.”

On Tuesday, Dietrich said, there were 378 houses listed as actively for sale, with 143 homes under contract.

“So things are moving,” she said. “By my calculation, from March 20 (to now) we have closed 135 homes. That’s a significant amount of money — almost $65 million. That’s how important real estate is to our local economy. (And) all these people closing escrow and moving into new homes will be remodeling, upgrading, landscaping.”

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RELATED RESOURCES

http://www.TheUnion.com/coronavirus

http://www.MyNevadaCounty.com/coronavirus

Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses/Employers

Nevada County Relief Fund for Covid-19

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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