Our New Normal
When a new normal forces industry to adopt new ways of doing certain actions, we employ technology. Ideally, there would be flowers and gifts at the closing table and opportunities for celebration between the agents and their clients; however, these are different times. These are the days of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Drive Up Closings are being employed to help with social distancing, and yet that doesn’t stop great agents from sitting in their car nearby to offer any advice and assistance necessary. The agents make sure to stay the standard six feet away, but their presence is welcomed, even if it’s just to show support for their clients.
Glass Half Full
The good news is that buyers and sellers can still close transactions. Real Estate hasn’t stopped, and transactions shouldn’t be held up due to the need for social distancing. Real Estate closings tell the same tale being told throughout every single industry: “How do we accomplish our tasks in new ways that help us remain remote?”
Unfortunately some counties locally have closed their recording office or other offices which deal with re-zoning and other related real estate issues which have impacted our ability to close on a case by case basis. Probate courts have mostly remained open for short, phone hearings which have allowed us to move forward for hearings to free up the sale and closing of homestead and other properties impacted by probates. Family law has mostly slowed to a stop, but in the next week should start again with video hearings which should help properties tied up in a divorce to get moving again. The key is to be very proactive if your transaction is challenging in any way.
As we push to help properties to close, at home closings are taking place, and if clients come into the office measures are being taken to insure sanitization, social distancing and the least contact possible.. Anyone deemed non-essential to the process is being asked to video conference into the meeting if they want to be involved. One of the ways in which we can do our best to cope with change is by being flexible. There are many documents that can be signed electronically, but lenders do require some to be signed in person. This may change in the future, given the fact that signing electronically could potentially mitigate having to meet, but the liability could be too much to shoulder. For the time being, we will work hard to do the most remotely that each industry can, while also maintaining the due diligence of the task itself. We have done our best to start using On Line notary, but a few clients have had challenges with the software, so we need to not wait until the final hour to get documents signed. Again being proactive is key.
It is incredible to see industries doing all that they can to stay open while also maintaining guidelines that will help flatten the curve. Our prediction is that many places will similarly begin to start using remote and drive-up services. Although some work must take place in person, it doesn’t mean that you absolutely must be closer than six feet from other parties.
Will things ever go back to normal? We are of the mindset that business will slowly begin to get back to standard operating procedures, but it may take some time. We want to put everyone’s health as a top priority and adapt as much of our normal practices that we can to help better the comfort and confidence of our clients. Every industry will have to change.
We Are Here to Help
With everything going through a period of change, it’s important to remember that we are all here to help you. Even if it’s questions you have about how technology will affect your industry and how COVID-19 could play a role on the business that you work in, we’re happy to help you navigate those waters. We view ourselves as more than just lawyers for our clients. We’re resources for rules that can be made to work in your favor, and many times a conversation with us helps someone find comfort, confidence, and clarity. Once this is all over, we’ll find a significant emphasis on the shaking of hands, the closeness of friendship, and the ability to be together more often. For now, we must work hard to flatten the curve, adhere to social distancing guidelines, and stay as healthy as humanly possible.