Realty in the age of COVID-19

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With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing as Fra Noi goes to press, business has been affected in unprecedented ways. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in the real estate industry during normal times, let alone at times such as these. Here’s what we do know.

Real estate sales has been deemed an essential business by the governor during the lockdown, so realty can and is being bought and sold. Mortgage applications were booming toward the beginning of March after the interest rate cut, but the lockdown put a damper on subsequent sales.

Buyers and sellers have legitimate concerned about the level of human contact that most people associate with real estate sales. It’s reassuring to know that technology has made it possible to conduct most of the transaction in the virtual world while strictly limiting and controlling human contact when it’s necessary.

Thanks to the miracle of video messaging services like Skype and Facetime, realtors and homeowners can transact business and prepare a house for sale without ever getting together physically.

Realtors representing buyers can visit a property on their clients’ behalf and “show” it via those same video services. If the buyers like what they see, a private in-home tour can be scheduled during which they have the house to themselves. Sellers should leave the doors open and the lights on so no physical contact with the property is required. Anyone entering the property should be required to put on masks and gloves, remove their shoes and refrain from touching anything, and sellers should be required to vacate the property during the visit.

Title companies are still opening and closings sales, but gone are the days when buyers and sellers sit around the table with realtors and attorneys. The only person right now that is allowed to enter the title company is the buyer. They must interact with the title company and sign all the loan documents in person as a requirement of the lenders and banks. The attorney taking part via video or telephone call. By then, the seller has pre-signed the documents, which are delivered via mail to the realtor after the closing. All necessary precautions should be taken during the closing, including the wearing of masks and gloves by all parties, and the removal of shoes at the door. If the buyer is paying in full up front and is not taking out a mortgage, the entire closing can be done remotely.

People are going to need to sell and buy no matter what’s going on. The key is to do so safely during these hazardous times. Make sure that your realtor is ready, willing and able to do so.

To contact me, call 708-583-8300, email or visit



About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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