Photo by Ralph Kayden on Unsplash

The LA freeways are emptier than the canned goods aisle of Trader Joe’s these days, but that hasn’t stopped buyers from shopping for new homes and locking in low interest rates. 

Naomi Klein is the Estate Director for Compass Los Angeles’ Sports Division. She’s also a real estate agent, consultant, podcaster and Instagrammer @sundaysinthecity_, where she doles out practical real estate tips and advice to thousands of followers. We caught up with Klein to find out how she’s closing deals amid the coronavirus pandemic and to tap her for advice on making the most of virtual home tours.

Photo: sundaysinthecity_/Instagram

Ultra-low rates are increasing purchasing power

When asked whether she’s seen an uptick in the number of interested homebuyers, Klein responded, “Yes, 1,000 percent!” Homebuyers and refinancers are taking advantage of record-low mortgage and interest rates, which has helped to buoy the real estate market in the short-term. “I have a couple of clients that are very happy with their interest rates,” notes Klein. “Three of them here in Los Angeles are locked in at 3.25% and it really makes a difference in terms of your purchasing power. The interest rates are just so low — it’s a great opportunity to really make the numbers work for you.”

It’s (mostly) business as usual

“[Coronavirus] really hasn’t changed [my business] entirely because everything can be done and pretty much is done electronically,” explains Klein. “As far as the research, pulling comps, sending paperwork, it’s all done through DocuSign.”

She points out that real estate agents “can work from wherever” — their cars, the office, the living room sofa. “I’m just continuing to get some good sunlight and staying in touch with my clients via text and phone, which is what I pretty much do on the day-to-day anyway.”

Klein says that while casual buyers may be hesitant to enter the market at this time, seasoned real estate investors are willing to weather the storm. This week, she’s showing an off-market property to a developer who’s aiming to flip it. “I asked him what his position was on the market and he’s still a very healthy investor, this doesn’t phase him at all,” says Klein. “I find that the buyers and sellers that have been in the market for years, this doesn’t really affect them as much unless they really need to buy or really need to sell.”

Agents are taking advantage of virtual home tours

Klein frequently works with professional athletes and entertainers, which means she’s no stranger to the FaceTime home tour. Her advice to other LA agents who have swapped in-person meetings for virtual ones is to maintain the same attitude when showing a property. “I think anything virtual is the same as in real life and that means making sure that the house is clean and the knickknacks are put away,” says Klein. “If it’s a vacant home, make sure you have it staged. You want to give that buyer all the feels when they’re looking at it through any type of media, whether it’s in person or FaceTime, which is the second-best thing we have right now.”

While there are plenty of companies that offer 3D walkthrough services, Klein admits that she often gets nauseous trying to navigate them. “People can carry on relationships through FaceTime, they can buy a car through FaceTime, and they can certainly buy a house through FaceTime!”

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