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What Matters Warren

Beth Medved Waller featured in the international best-selling compilation series, “Ignite Your Life”

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Local Realtor and Founder/Director of WHAT MATTERS, Beth Medved Waller, is heading to Europe today for the launching of her first published writing, “Ignite Your Life for Conscious Leaders,” an international best-selling compilation series that shares stories of 35 amazing people.

IT’S AVAILABLE FOR FREE AMAZON DOWNLOAD TODAY ONLY (NOVEMBER 8, 2019)! Click Here to order (please note: you do not need a Kindle to read the free digital version, simply add the book to your cart, purchase for $0 and click on “read now for the table of contents to find her chapter”) – paperback copies are also available for order. Beth’s chapter is entitled, “Running Away from the American Dream.”

ABOUT BETH’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE BOOK:

“I was honored to be invited to share my story and hope that it helps to prove that anyone can have a magical life if they follow their hearts and embrace their faith. My story is a brief recap of my life’s evolution over the past 5 years, about how WHAT MATTERS came to be, and the steps I follow for an active prayer meditation that I use as a tool to guide my life.

I spent over a decade on a stressful auto-pilot striving to be the ‘perfect mom, Realtor, volunteer and friend.’ Then, in the fall of 2014, I discovered YouTube. Through what I call my ‘Treadmill Transformation’ (listening to YouTube motivational videos and downloading inspirational Audible books while jogging), I now live my life 99% stress and worry-free on the auto-pilot direction of my heart. I’m doing more while working less, am happy, fulfilled and more accepting of my many imperfections. Every day, people ask me how I do what I do. My secret is that I’m not doing anything, I’m merely allowing work to be done through me while taking leaps of faith and being a conscious leader of my life.

I’m honored to be a part of this book series that reminds the world that EVERYONE has a story to share that can positively impact others. It’s a brilliant concept that encourages people with a message to make the time to put their thoughts into words. The remarkable process removes the stress, time and logistical constraints that publishing a solo book presents. Stay tuned for my book, “Overcoming Abundance” that expands the chapter I contributed to this series!”

ABOUT THE BOOK:

There are many ways to be a leader. This book focuses on rare people who not only lead, they purposefully and consciously ignite passion in others. But how do they do it?

In this book, you’ll find thirty-five unique stories of conscious leadership designed to IGNITE and inspire those on the planet working toward a better future for everyone through consciousness and leadership. It is written to touch the heart and fuel the soul.

Thirty-five authors have come together to share their ‘Ignite’ moments that propelled them forward into the arena of helping others, redefining norms, healing hearts and up-leveling the vibration of humankind. These stories exemplify consciousness, connection, mindfulness, spirituality, awakening, and transformation. With a forward by Sam Beard, advisor to eight US Presidents and co-founder of the Jefferson Awards (along with Jackie Kennedy), this book is sure to prove that anyone can be an impactful leader and everyone has a story to share that can inspire others.

Are you taking ownership of your own life story? Perhaps you’re lacking your own personal vision and it’s holding you back from stepping into the unknown. Many of us have grown up in a way that conditioned us to seek external guidance – from our family, from teachers and from employers which has lead to our reliance on the opinions of people with important titles and authority. We find ourselves succumbing to their way of being and losing our own voice, causing us to feel insecure about our individual opinions and ideas. Maybe you feel there is more for you – that within yourself, you can step into a leadership role in your own life, and in the lives of others. The first step is to have an awareness of what you want to achieve in life and give yourself the confidence to follow your heart as it leads you to your most fulfilling role in your personal life as well as in your community and world.

When you IGNITE change, you take ownership of your own life story! This book provides a toolkit of 35 steps/action items along with 35 stories of people who decided to Ignite their own lives and, in doing so, embrace their ability to ‘Ignite’ the lives of others.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

JB Owen is a fearless female leader and highly successful Megapreneur. She is a world-class speaker, best-selling author and powerful, highly successful business owner. She has created award-winning products that span the globe and created initiatives that have inspired millions. JB’s refreshing views on business has shifted the paradigm of the old staunch-and-stale into the new fiercely-fun and fabulously-feminine. She is referred to as The Pink Billionaire as fusses bold business with feminine flare. She helps female entrepreneurs become fearless and fabulous while infusing fun and femininity into phenomenal success. She is famous for helping women transition from doing what they must, to doing what they love. One of her greatest sources of joy comes from supporting women in manifesting the lives they have always wanted and the happiness they deserve.

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Local News

QuaranTEAMing: Ways to GIVE during the COVID-19 Crisis– featuring George McIntyre and Pam Waters

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These two Warren County residents are embracing their own ways to support their community and use their resources to help others during the crisis. George McIntyre (of The Apple House in Linden, VA) and his devoted team are delivering free donuts and offering complimentary meals to area nursing homes, medical personnel, and others. Pam Waters (of Front Royal) is making masks to donate to offices in need as her way of helping others and herself during this challenging time.

They exemplify the “what matters is your heart” philosophy, as do many local residents who are stepping up even when we are limited in stepping out. Let’s stop talking about fear and discouragement and start talking about the opportunities to make a positive impact and the silver linings in the cloud of the COVID-19 crisis.

Beyond the clouds overhead now and somewhere over the rainbow, this challenging period of our lives will be in the past, so let’s make some memories to cherish–memories that prove that kindness, generosity, and compassion can have even more of an impact on our world than a deadly virus.

Trade your Quarantining for QuaranTEAMING–there’s only one team in this game of life, and we’re all on the same one. Let’s remember that and use our positions to play our best however we can where we are.

Have you seen an inspiring act of selfless giving? Share in the comments below and inspire others to make time each day to take even a small action to brighten the life of another.


WHAT MATTERS:
Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and Youtube.

Learn more about Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at www.whatmattersw2.com–check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or beth@whatmattersw2.com.

About WHAT MATTERS:
WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent raised goes to the cause she’s promoting and most are matched by Beth. If you’d like to get involved with her local or international nonprofit work or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit www.whatmattersw2.com.

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Real Estate

Part 2 of 7: Top 5 real estate tips for sellers actively on the market during the COVID-19 crisis

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This 7 part series is accompanied by BETHvids featuring tips regarding buying, selling and the real estate industry in general.


Top 5 real estate tips for sellers actively on the market during the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Stay in close contact with your listing agent to keep abreast of how the industry is impacted by regulations surrounding the virus. Understand that showings have decreased across the board and discuss the pros and cons of staying on the market (continuing to allow showings), changing your status to temporarily off the market, or withdrawing your listing (without penalty due to the crisis) if your situation has changed.
  2. Use some of your free time to review your Realtor’s online marketing and advertising brochures to make sure both properly convey every feature your home offers. Promotion of your house should tell the full story about your home and all it has to offer both inside and out. If your agent is missing key points that buyers need to know about, provide a list of features you want to have showcased and make sure they don’t miss promoting features, upgrades, updates and unique benefits buyers should know about.
  3. Create what I call the “Seller’s top 10 Reasons they Love their Home” list. Invite your children (if appropriate) to make their own list and/or create artwork to go with it. It doesn’t have to be ten reasons, but make it full of positive features that enable the buyer to picture themselves making memories of their own in your home. You can share bonus insights about the neighbors and subjective features that Realtors aren’t able to verify and include in their own brochures, but can include the list and quote from you. You could even go above and beyond and create a video tour that your agent can use in marketing in which you walk through your home and share features. Get the entire family involved!
  4. Have frank conversations with your Realtor about pricing, strategy and your ideal time frame. Share any changes that the current state of affairs has caused, discuss outside the box ways to increase buyer traffic and contemplate pricing adjustments. None of us know with certainty what the crisis will do to the real estate market. Have the tough conversation sooner than later to determine what price would be one that you’d accept to get the sale behind you. Then strongly consider dropping to that price to spur the pervading stalled buyer interest. A price reduction combined with these tips could get you at the virtual closing table a lot sooner.
  5. Review my other BETHvids and corresponding articles made for general homeowners and people who plan to list their homes soon for ten other suggestions you can also implement. (including my videos here on my YouTube page and articles at “Real Estate Agent Magazine.

Stay tuned for more BETHvids and corresponding articles made for buyers, sellers and Realtors for additional tips to implement while stuck indoors. Follow her real estate and WHAT MATTERS postings on Royal Examiner under the Features tab, “What Matters Warren.”


Beth Waller, Associate Broker at KW Solutions – Keller Williams Realty
Local Office: 27 Cloud Street Front Royal, VA 22630
Direct: 540-671-6145
Northern Virginia Office: 8100 Ashton Ave #103 Manassas VA 20109
Office: 703-330-2222
Licensed in VA

Beth’s websites: Bethwaller.kw.com and whatmattersw2.com

To learn more about my real estate sales or nonprofit (WHAT MATTERS), to book a time to utilize my free community meeting space (“Open House” in the Middle of Main building on Main Street), to schedule a no-cost social media video to promote your business/group or cause, or to discuss my listing your property (which makes all of my charity efforts possible), visit my website at www.whatmattersw2.com or give me a call at 540-671-6145!

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Community Events

Take the “TOP COMMENT CHALLENGE”

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Log onto Instagram or Facebook and share the “TOP COMMENT CHALLENGE” video and invitation to challenge your friends to join in!

INVITATION TO POST:

I challenge YOU to join us in the “TOP COMMENT CHALLENGE”– for just $10, we can all help keep small businesses and restaurants in hometowns everywhere afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. Be the first to comment on each video/post share in the “TOP COMMENT CHALLENGE” and win a $10 gift card to the business featured in the post!

  1. Share this video/post (found at www.TopCommentChallenge.com) and tag/check in at your favorite restaurant/business.
  2. Check back to see who made the first comment “#TOPCOMMENTCHALLENGE” and send them a $10 gift card or cash to be used at the restaurant/business you tagged.
  3. Challenge the winner to join the fun and support the small business/restaurant of their choice with a similar post challenge and $10 giveaway.

HAVE FUN WITH IT:

You can take the challenge a step further and come up with creative ways to make your “TOP COMMENT CHALLENGE” fun and engaging to help promote the business/ restaurant even more–ask your winner to share photos/comments, engage with the restaurant itself via posts and encourage others to participate in this easy way to keep local restaurants/businesses afloat for just $10 and less in than 10 minutes of your time.

ABOUT THE PROJECT:

Co-creator, Mitchell Smith:

“Beth and I connected this year when filming a video for the HGTV Hometown Takeover application for our hometown.  We are now partnering in many ways to help shine a light in the darkness that our community of Warren County, VA is experiencing while facing the largest embezzlement scandal in Virginia history. Joining our efforts to shine a light in the darkness the world as a whole is experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis motivated us to create the “TOP COMMENT CHALLENGE” as the first of many ways we plan to inspire others to join together while apart to make a difference.”

Mitchell Smith began his career in social media marketing while a senior at Warren County High School in Virginia. Ever since, he’s helped multiple businesses ranging from local startups to nationally recognized brands increase their online presence and grow their client base via the power of social media. Mitchell is the owner of Expressed Legacy Marketing based in Front Royal, Virginia.

Co-creator, Beth Medved Waller:

“My nonprofit’s tagline is “What matters is your heart” and I believe that NOW is the time for each of us to join our hearts as one and make a change in this world. This is one of many ways I hope to inspire the world to remember that there’s only one team in this game of life, and we’re all on the same one, so let’s start playing together and beat COVID-19 and other challenges. I believe that this time we are spending physically apart can bring us all closer together through endeavors like “TOP COMMENT CHALLENGE.”


Hear the song Beth wrote lyrics to that shares the sentiment above: “What Matters is your Heart”

Beth Medved Waller is a self-proclaimed “Pretend Reporter (creating video interviews/articles to promote causes or events), Pretend Philanthropist (see whatmattersw2.com to learn about her initiatives) & a Pretend Singer/Songwriter” (hear her song at dollardreamdownload.com).  She’s also a real life mother of two teens, founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit named WHAT MATTERS and a top producing real estate broker who has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for her various real and pretend titles.

Learn more by visiting Beth’s website, or reviewing her online column at royalexaminer.com/author/waller, or read about her WHAT MATTERS story and how she transformed her life based on her favorite song of that name by singer/songwriter Edwin McCain.

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Local News

Safety abounds in the local real estate industry, safety in numbers and in new safe practices

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While it’s definitely not “business as usual” for area Realtors, buyers and sellers, the COVID-19 crisis has not halted the local and surrounding real estate market as much as initially feared. To date, new listings are rolling in as are contracts. Showings, though obviously decreased, are still being scheduled and Realtors, offices and clients are embracing extreme precautions to make the process as safe as possible. The BRIGHT MLS (the local real estate multiple listing service which serves as a database for properties from New Jersey to Virginia) is providing daily communication as the industry adapts to new ways of conducting business, “We are relaxing showings requirements for Active and Active Under Contract listings. In-person/onsite showings of properties will not be required during this time. To provide another showing option for clients and their agents currently uncomfortable with in-person exposure, we are also temporarily allowing for the promotion of virtual/online showings within the public notes of a listing.” Typically homes cannot have branded virtual/online tours included in the database and must be available for in-person showings to remain in active status,” according to their online COVID-19 support center,” says a recent Bright MLS communication.

The industry as a whole is impressively stepping up to the plate in all areas to best protect while continuing to serve the public who still has a need to move during the pandemic.

New Safe Office Procedures

Offices are making the latest COVID-19 guidelines available to all agents while following guidelines and taking the threat of this virus seriously.  The Keller Williams Solutions Manassas office was shut down recently for five days immediately after a staff member’s granddaughter began showing symptoms of the virus. Her test came back negative, but Lee Beaver, owner of the franchise, put the potential safety of her agents and staff ahead of the bottom line and shared, “The health and safety of all is most important to us.  We will get through this critical time standing together. Being extra precautionary is the only way we are going to beat this pandemic.” Industry leaders share her concern and are going above and beyond to protect people who are engaging in real estate transactions through the pandemic.

New Safe Realtor Marketing Procedures

Agents are thankful for existing technology that makes transitioning to a more virtual way of conducting business possible. Heidi Rutz of Next Home Realty Select in Front Royal hosted a “Virtual Brokers Open House” this week and sent an email invitation to agents inviting them to take a 3-D virtual tour of the property (inside and out) and provide feedback through an online questionnaire. She’s having a drawing for a gift card for agents who participate. Agents like Rutz are utilizing creative marketing tactics to help listings stand out online.

New Safe Showing Procedures

Agents are asking buyers questions before showings to help mitigate risk and are advising them to take extreme precautions while following safety mandates. Some brokerages are requiring buyers to fill out a questionnaire about their health that verifies they are feeling well (fever-free with no symptoms of COVID-19) and a statement promising to use safe procedures when touring. Beth Medved Waller says communication and careful coordination is a key to feeling safe, “I have an occupied property that has a showing request from an agent who isn’t comfortable touring with her clients at this time. After lengthy discussions, we have decided that the seller will be turning the lights on, opening the closet doors and leaving the front door unlocked. I’ll arrive and the seller and I will wait outside (at least six feet apart) as the buyers tour.  We will be available to answer their questions outdoors after they tour (from a safe distance). The seller will be prepared to wipe down the front door handle after the showing, which should be the only place the buyers will have touched. We feel comfortable with this procedure, especially since their agent has provided us with a copy of their signed buyer health questionnaire”

New Safe Communication Procedures

Jessica Dean of Weichert, Realtors in Front Royal, like many prudent agents, is presenting contracts to her sellers virtually. She’s even already received one offer from buyers who haven’t visited her listing in-person but chose to view online and make an offer sight unseen.  Like others, Dean is also engaging in contract negotiations through electronic signing online and phone/Zoom calls. “Of course this is not ideal. Relationships are critical in establishing trust,” she says of this new protocol that unfortunately separates clients and agents physically but requires even closer communication to navigate the new processes of real estate transactions.

There’s Safety in the Numbers

Current market statistics for surrounding counties still look healthy as we move into month two of moving towards a new normal in life and in the pursuit of the American dream. Per Bright MLS research by Beth Medved Waller on 4/1/2020, the health of the area’s real estate market is still strong even amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Warren County:

  • Coming soon–6
  • Active–181
  • Under contract/pending–103
  • Closed since 03/13/2020–43
  • Temporarily Off Market–14
  • Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–9

Frederick County:

  • Coming soon–12
  • Active–342
  • Under contract/pending–252
  • Closed since 03/13/2020–73
  • Temporarily Off Market–25
  • Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–11

Winchester City:

  • Coming soon–4
  • Active–53
  • Under contract/pending–44
  • Closed since 03/13/2020–15
  • Temporarily Off Market–9
  • Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–15

Clarke County:

  • Coming soon–1
  • Active–54
  • Under contract/pending–28
  • Closed since 03/13/2020–12
  • Temporarily Off Market–9
  • Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–3

Shenandoah County:

  • Coming soon–6
  • Active–171
  • Under contract/pending–112
  • Closed since 03/13/2020–45
  • Temporarily Off Market–15
  • Withdrawn since 03/13/2020–6
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Real Estate

Part 1 of 7: Practical real estate tips for quarantined homeowners, buyers, sellers and realtors

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This 7 part series is accompanied by BETHvids featuring tips regarding buying, selling and the real estate industry in general.


This is the first of Beth Medved Waller’s video series offering tips for people to enhance their “real estate health” while they are stuck indoors to protect their own health.  In the seven-part series, she’ll be advising homeowners, buyers (both active home seekers and those thinking of buying soon), sellers (those with active real estate listings and with properties preparing to hit the market this spring) and Realtors (agents already in business as well as people who are considering becoming a licensed practitioner).  She’ll share suggestions about what each party can do to make their time at home productive from a real estate perspective. A four part article is also being published with her timely tips by “Real Estate Agent Magazine.

Part 1: Top 5 real estate tips for homeowners with no immediate plans of moving

  1. Turn being cooped up inside into an opportunity that will pay off in the future whenever it’s time to sell your home.  Start a folder of home improvements you’ve made throughout the years and use it as a place to log annual maintenance, record replacement costs and keep track of ages of heating/air conditioning units, your roof, and other important systems/utilities in your house.  You can even keep booklets, receipts and other handy information in a convenient location inside the binder.
  2. Start that long-overdue de-cluttering – focus on your main level first (the garage/basement area is less important to keep organized than your kitchen, main living areas and master bath/closet areas). If it’s hard to get rid of even unused items, put them in a box and move them to the basement–if you haven’t gone into the box in 6 months, it’s likely safe to donate the box to be enjoyed by someone who will be blessed by your “hand-me-downs.”
  3. Start an online folder to store seasonal photos of your home. It can also be home to “before/after” photos if you complete improvements a future buyer would appreciate to have documented.  Go one step farther and set reminders on your calendar to take quality digital (cell phone is fine) photos of your home during different seasonsUpload onto your online album shots that showcase views in the winter, lovely sunsets or sunrises, fall foliage and flowers blooming in the warmer months.
  4. Take a slow and intentional walk around the outside and throughout the inside of your home and make a list of major and minor maintenance projects you’ve been putting off. Now’s the time to make a plan and budget for completing them (or to check some off the list if you have the skills to earn some sweat equity).  So many people wait until they sell to invest the time and money into improvements they wish they prioritized sooner to enjoy the benefits of the updates before handing the keys over to the buyer, who is sure to appreciate your investment in curb appeal and upkeep.
  5. Bite the bullet and begin pricing out big ticket items on your “to do” or “dream” list.  Contact your trusted Realtor to brainstorm about the potential return on costly improvements. Calling on an expert for guidance can ensure you make an educated decision about your monetary investment vs. projected future impact on market value.  Be ready to share photos or video clips with your agent so they can visualize your situation and be better equipped to educate you about the potential return on your updates.

Stay tuned for more BETHvids and corresponding articles made for buyers, sellers and Realtors for additional tips to implement while stuck indoors. Follow her real estate and WHAT MATTERS postings on the Royal Examiner under the Features Tab, “What Matters Warren.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beth Medved Waller is a self-proclaimed “Pretend Reporter (creating video interviews/articles to promote causes or events), Pretend Philanthropist (see whatmattersw2.com to learn about her initiatives) & a Pretend Singer/Songwriter” (hear her song at dollardreamdownload.com).  She’s also a real life mother of two teens, founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit named WHAT MATTERS and a top producing real estate broker who has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for her various real and pretend titles.

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Real Estate

Local real estate industry reaction to COVID-19 crisis; new video series to help sellers, buyers and homeowners

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Realtors, buyers, sellers, and homeowners, in general, are understandably curious about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local real estate market. Local industry expert Beth Medved Waller (a top-producing associate broker in Warren County) interviewed countless agents about the state of their business and hopes to shed a light on the pulse of the local real estate market from multiple agents and perspectives. “It’s my obligation as well as my honor to inform my community about the state of the real estate industry in light of the current state of our world,” says Waller who’s been a top producing Realtor since 2005.

Watch this video for her general commentary about the local real estate climate amid threats of the virus spreading through the Shenandoah Valley:

Stay tuned for Beth’s video series (launching through Royal Examiner next week) offering tips for people to enhance their “real estate health” while they are stuck indoors to protect their own health. In the seven-part series, she’ll be advising homeowners, buyers (both active home seekers and those thinking of buying soon), sellers (those with active real estate listings and with properties preparing to hit the market this spring) and Realtors (agents already in business as well as people who are considering becoming a licensed practitioner). She’ll share suggestions about what each party can do to make their time at home productive from a real estate perspective. A four-part article is also being published with her timely tips by “Real Estate Agent Magazine.”

A Bright MLS analysis by Waller on 3/25/2020 indicated that Warren County inventory levels are approximately 100 units below 2019 stats with 178 active listings, 6 coming soon, 14 temporarily off the market and 8 withdrawn within the last two weeks. Since Friday the 13th (when COVID precautions tightened), 28 listings went under contract/pending for a total of 110 in the category. Many recent listings posting have been new constructions and vacant homes obviously have extra appeal in today’s market.

”My most active properties are my vacant listings, but I did have a showing this weekend on one of my occupied homes and am expecting an offer. The agent and buyers wore gloves and my seller felt comfortable, although the same seller declined an earlier showing this week when the agent informed me that her buyers had just returned from overseas (and were within the recommended 14-day quarantine).” Beth added, “Showings on my listings have drastically slowed since Friday the 13th, but I’m encouraged by the buyer and agent calls I’ve received since Thursday. I listed a vacant home on Friday and have had 5 showings already, which is less than normal, but much better than I feared. I’ve only ratified one contract in three weeks, but have renewed hope that as we navigate our new ‘normal’ buyer activity will increase. I expect to start seeing virtual showings more and more and anticipate having offers from buyers who haven’t physically toured that will include the ‘sights unseen’ and new ‘COVID-19’ addendums.” Closing delays have already occurred for Waller due to lender slow-downs from appraisal backlogs and government tax transcript delays. How the market will be affected as the virus spreads more heavily through the valley remains to be seen, but “business as usual” is a thing of the past for the foreseeable future.

According to Executive Order 53, all professional service business (including real estate) may remain open as long as an emphasis is placed on honoring the under 10 gathering mandates, teleworking as much as feasible, meeting with clients virtually when possible, avoiding hosting in-person open houses, engaging in social distancing, limiting the numbers of houses buyers tour and embracing enhanced sanitizing practices.

Cindy Greenya, President of the Blue Ridge Association of Realtors, offered a positive outlook for the industry:

“All of us are walking into an unknown time. Realtors and the Association are trying to figure out how to adapt and change. We are still very low on inventory, houses are still selling and our affiliates and members are working on adjusting the way they do business as well. People still need to buy and sell houses, people are still moving. Now is just a time for us to adjust and change, and at some point in the future life will go back to normal, we just don’t know when that will be.” She added that she’s still seeing showings, especially on vacant property, but she has heard from colleagues that slowdowns are happening and deals are falling through. She’s been blessed to date with showing activity but is anxious to see what happens when her many upcoming listings hit the market. So far, she’s encouraging her sellers to not delay and to get on the market as planned since buyers are seeking additional homes inventory and interest rates are at an all-time low. She also emphasizes the importance for real estate professionals to keep in close communication with their clients and to invest time to keep abreast of the FAQs and COVID-19 releases being published by Virginia REALTORS at www.virginiarealtors.org/coronavirus.

Sharon Cales of Remax in Front Royal (a top producing Realtor for three decades and partner with Ken and Donna Evans of frontroyalagents.com) has the following commentary to share with the community:

My biggest concerns are for the welfare of our clients and their families. While our job is to sell real estate we are still obligated by our code of ethics to keep “the best interest of the client” at the forefront. Knowing that there may be a silent killer on the doorstep makes it more difficult than ever before. As an industry, we are being told to disinfect the surfaces, stop hand to face contact and keep washing our hands. My concern is that this is not enough. Some still appear to think this is a hoax or overkill, REALTORs included. Those of us who have friends still recovering know better. Showing vacant properties is a much easier process. While I still have concerns, I can indeed disinfect and do what is suggested by the CDC. However, the necessary items they suggest using are in VERY short supply and in most cases impossible to get. Occupied properties are where my largest concerns lie. There is no way for us to know what the homeowners are doing to protect their environment or what the buyers or sellers may have been exposed to. This is an environment that is an accident looking for a place to happen. We have the ability to either take the virus into an otherwise safe environment or bring it out with us into the world. Not a safe situation for anyone.

While the government has named us essential, it is my belief that the guidelines should be refined. We still need to process existing cases and get buyers and sellers to the closing table while taking the necessary precautions set forth by the CDC. However, it is my opinion that showings should be limited to vacant homes. In the event showings on occupied properties is essential, the buyers and sellers both should agree to sign off on an authorization form stating both parties understand the possible ramifications. I’m sure some brokers might be OK with that. However, this does still not address the possible infection for the REALTOR. Some Brokers and companies have already made statements concerning their policies. Most have not and it’s business almost as usual. Since we are an industry based on commission income and the future of the market is uncertain, many REALTORS are going to be willing to take the risks I’m afraid.

Sharon Cales on Current Buyer/Seller Traffic:

My showings are way down also. I’d say it’s a reduction of 85% or so. I have had a few calls but several canceled after scheduling and hearing the daily news updates. I do have a couple touring this weekend. However, I am only showing vacant properties. The phones are VERY quiet and although I am continuing to touch base with buyers and sellers, the return calls are not coming in. People seem to be very concerned. Last week, nobody knew anybody affected, but now everybody seems to know somebody being tested or positive for the virus. Listings are almost down to nothing also. Sellers don’t seem to know which way to go. I have ratified 3 contracts, but all have been on vacant properties.

Broker/Owner of Main Street Front Royal’s Exit Premier Realty, Jim Clark (theclarkteamrealty.com), who has been thriving as one of the top producers in Warren County in recent years offers encouragement:

The real estate industry is the most resilient industry in the world. We work in an ever-changing landscape in an ever-changing world, and it changes very quickly sometimes. From economic impacts, legislative requirements, dealing with influxes of foreclosures and short sales, etc, etc. We real estate professional weather the storm, time after time after time. Coronavirus is another storm. It’s a big scary storm. But we are adapting. From virtual showings, video conferencing with clients, and we’re even working on e-closing so clients don’t have to sign their settlement docs in person. We will get through this, just like we have every other time… every other storm. We’ll be stronger and better for it. Because we are all in this together. May God bless and protect us all, and God bless America.

Jim Clark on Current Buyer/Seller Traffic:

I’d say we are down 80% from 2 weeks ago in showings for buyers and of listings, showings on my listings have totally died as well. A few here and there. But it’s really come to a total stop. It’s sad. So many people want to buy and want to sell but they can’t.

A March 23rd Virginia REALTORS Press Release States: Going into March 2020, consumer confidence remained high; however, it is likely these consumer confidence measures will fall this spring. Says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, Ph.D., “Heading into the spring, local housing markets across Virginia were strong, and February was a good month for the market. While the full impact of COVID-19 is not yet certain, strong economic fundamentals in the Commonwealth can help support a quick recovery. We’ll know much more when March housing market data are available in mid-April.”

Contact a Realtor for updates concerning the local market or reach out to Beth Medved Waller at beth@whatmattersw2.com or 540-671-6145. Check out her column on Royal Examiner for future updates and videos pertaining to the market.

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