Real estate agents adapt with new tools to sell homes

Ryan Levenson, Guest columnist
Published 7:00 a.m. ET Oct. 13, 2020


In March 2020, real estate agents sat on the edge of their seat as a pandemic seemingly crushed our industry.

Very few people would have guessed that only six months later we would experience one of the most severe housing shortages our country has seen in decades.

A home shortage creates a great market for people selling their homes, but it poses a variety of challenges for buyers — across many different price points. But here we stand, working to keep up with demand. Homes stay on the market for days, if not hours.

Real estate agents have always been resourceful, but our tools and skills are taking on new meaning in this environment in which distance is part of our new normal.

What we’ve experienced is unlike anything we could have dreamed. Homebuyers are feeling pressure to make decisions quickly, and many are making an offer without ever seeing the home in person. The experience is leading them to ask smarter questions, and they are demanding the expertise of real estate agents to simplify the process.

Across the country, how regulations are enacted in our industry vary greatly. Here in Knoxville, showings just after the pandemic were permitted, but many people were not interested in allowing buyers into their homes. Open Houses were also suspended for a couple months, causing real estate professionals to lean more on technology and media to show homes to buyers in the market. This all led to an increase in demand for most real estate agents as sellers turned to us to help navigate a more fast-paced sales environment.

Prior to this pandemic, helping a customer purchase a home

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150 new homes slated near Summerville; workforce townhomes on way to Mount Pleasant | Real Estate

SUMMERVILLE — More new houses are on the way to the Summerville area.

Tallahassee, Fla.-based DeVoro Homes recently bought 97 acres near S.C. Highway 61 and Old Beech Hill Road for $1.52 million, or about $15,700 an acre, where 150 new homes are planned, according to Robert Pratt, a commercial real estate agent with RE/Max Pro Realty, who handled the transaction for the seller.

Retailers, restaurants line up for new shopping center coming to Nexton in Berkeley County

The property, west of the Ashley River, was owned by members of the Tucker family, according to Dorchester County land records.

A representative of DeVoro Homes did not respond for comment on a development timeline or home prices.

The proposed project follows the start of land clearing a few miles to the east on S.C. Highway 61 for 950 new residences set to be developed by homebuilder Ashton Woods in part of the 6,600-acre Watson Hill tract in North Charleston.

Gregorie Ferry Townhomes

Gregorie Ferry Townhomes are under construction in northern Mount Pleasant and will be available by next summer. Rendering/Broadhill Studios

Workforce housing

Construction is underway on Mount Pleasant’s first workforce housing neighborhood of townhomes.

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Located on Winnowing Way off S.C. Highway 41, the 36-unit Gregorie Ferry Towns community is being built to meet the needs of police officers, firefighters, school teachers, health care workers and hospitality industry employees.

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With 2½- and 3½-bath models, the 36 two- and three-bedroom townhomes range from 984 square feet to 1,216 square feet. They are priced from $249,900 to $287,900, and require a minimal down payment.

When the development was first announced last December, the homes were slated for buyers with incomes between $40,000 and $62,000 so they could own homes in upper Mount Pleasant, where the

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Real Living’s 20 most beautiful bathrooms

a cat sitting on a tiled floor: Let these stylish bathrooms, ensuites and powder rooms straight from the pages of Real Living magazine inspire you to create the bathroom of your dreams.

© Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd
Let these stylish bathrooms, ensuites and powder rooms straight from the pages of Real Living magazine inspire you to create the bathroom of your dreams.

Bathrooms are one of the trickiest rooms to design. From colour, shape and textured tile choices, fittings, hardware, and specific layout decisions, it can be an overwhelming process. As the design can’t be changed and reconfigured easily, it’s also crucial to get it right the first time.

From rustic to modern, monochrome or bright and beautiful, let these beautiful bathrooms from the pages of Real Living inspire you to design a swoon-worthy space in your own home. If you’re not here for inspiration, just sit back and imagine yourself in one of these deep bathtubs, B.Y.O wine and bath bubbles.

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Hawaii real estate agents report selling more homes sight-unseen than ever before

As a real estate agent, Catherine Pennell is used to taking a lot of phone calls. But since April, her phone has been ringing more often than during a typical year — she’s fielding two to three phone calls every day from people looking to move from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii.

“I think people are saying, ‘Life is short.’ It’s a lot of talk because they’re not here yet and they can’t get here yet, but I’ve done more sight-unseen sales than I’ve ever done during the pandemic,” said Pennell, who represents Kauai for KW Kauai Keller Williams. “I’ve done three in the last three months.”

Julie Peters, an agent with Island Boutique Realty on the island of Hawaii, said when wildfire season began in August, she was fielding at least one call each day from California residents wanting to escape the area due to smoke and fire danger. “One person wanted to come over immediately and rent in the meantime because she was so done with smoke,” Peters said. “The last five closings I did were sight-unseen. I had rarely done that before.”

Peters said many of her buyers this year were from the Bay Area and the bulk of them hail from the West Coast. From January to June 2020, California residents bought $587.6 million worth of Hawaii property, making up 41% of total sales during that period coming from the U.S., according to Title Guaranty, which owns and maintains the largest real estate database in Hawaii.

“Demand for Hawaii is always there. Everyone wants to invest, retire or vacation here, but it’s just grown exponentially this year,” Peters said. “A lot of people that were already looking toward retirement here sped it up, or people found out they could work from home. We got a rush

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Providence Real Estate Announces Acquisition of The Stratford Apartment Homes

Acquires a 269-unit Multifamily Property in Atlanta’s Perimeter Center

Providence Real Estate, LLC (“Providence”), a multifamily owner-operator, announced the completion of the acquisition of The Stratford Apartment Homes located in the Perimeter Center submarket of Atlanta, Georgia. The property was acquired by the Providence Multifamily REIT, Inc., a Providence-managed private REIT that invests in value-add multifamily opportunities throughout the Southeastern United States.

The Stratford was built in 1990 and consists of four residential midrise apartment buildings and a one-story clubhouse and leasing center. The property is located less than one mile from the largest medical center in Georgia that is home to Northside Hospital Atlanta, Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In addition, the property is located less than one mile from the Perimeter Center’s 30 million square foot office market that is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies and the world headquarters of United Parcel Service (UPS), AT&T Mobility, Cox Enterprises, Haverty Furniture and Newell Brands (Rubbermaid). The Stratford is anticipated to undergo extensive exterior and interior renovations.

Providence’s CEO Alan Pollack stated, “The Stratford’s location in the Perimeter Center offers renters unparalleled access to medical, office and shopping, and is a market where Providence has extensive operating experience.” Providence’s Executive Vice President Kevin Finkel added, “The acquisition of the Stratford offered a rare off-market opportunity to own an attractive multifamily property with proven value-add renovation upside potential in the highly sought-after Perimeter Center submarket of Atlanta.”


Providence and its affiliates have been an active owner-operator of multifamily residential communities since 1985. Providence consists of an experienced group of professionals dedicated to searching for, identifying, acquiring, renovating and operating multifamily properties in select U.S. markets. Providence is a fully integrated real estate organization with property, asset and construction management, as well

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