Aazami on Luxury Homes: Virtual Real Estate Tools Assist All Parties During COVID-19 Crisis

Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. Photo Private Client Group Russ Lyon Sotheby’s

If you’re selling your home, and still living in it, you’re very concerned about agents, potential buyers, appraisers and repair crews visiting; you’re quartered with your family to wait out the pandemic, not to greet visitors.

Besides just being in your space, they’d be touching items such as doors, floors and furnishings. Unless you’re in panic-sell, you’re either going to delist your home until the virus passes or find alternative tools adeptly wielded by professionals who can ensure your safety and a brisk, advantageous sale.

“Those who are just testing the market are removing themselves out of the market; we’ll notice only serious active sellers on the market,” says Frank Aazami, Global Advisor and Principal of the Private Client Group, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Scottsdale.

“It’ll be a very competitive market once again, and new or recently renovated homes with new appliances and today’s countertop and flooring surfaces will be of most appeal to discriminating buyers,” explains Aazami, whose group of 16 associates focuses on luxury homes in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Carefree/Cave Creek and Phoenix.

“We’ve had a huge number of listing cancellations and postponed open houses, but we’ve also had a greater number of new listings at a much more aggressive, more competitive offering price,” he says.

Fortunately, the technology exists that allows us to distance socially yet communicate almost as well as if we were physically together. Realtors have very efficient options available to complete transactions during these stressful times. “A lot of our business is virtual in terms of operations, such as Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) searches, virtual tours and videos to drafting of documents, electronic signings and others,” Aazami explains.

Camino Sin Nombre in Paradise Valley. Photo Private Client Group Russ Lyon Sotheby’s

Virtual tools, as if “out on the field,” allow agents to meet with potential buyers and sellers so they can robustly experience the inventory. These include virtual listing appointments, open houses and virtual showings.

Normally, a seller will meet in person with an agent to list his or her home. However, apps such as Zoom, FaceTime and Microsoft Teams can do this, too, even if the parties are physically apart, Aazami explains. “We can exchange all of the same information, we can see each other and ask and answer questions, and we don’t have to waste time stressing in traffic,” Aazami explains.

ARMLS virtual open houses and agent-led showings are also available. “We can schedule these through MLS, and folks can tune in at the scheduled open and have a tour via live feed,” he explains. FaceBook LIVE, for example, offers real-time open houses via its FaceBook platform. And, Matterport is a virtual mapping of a property in which potential buyers can interact within a pre-mapped property. An example is here.

Aazami notes that the Private Client Group is also working with the Russ Lyon in-house title company, Arizona Premier Title, for an office notary or mobile service to the customer’s location, if that is preferred.

Until the Legislature approved the Remote Online Notary program (RON) last year, a notary had to be physically present with the client to transfer title in Arizona. The effective date for RON to be used in Arizona is June 1, but Arizona Premier Title’s underwriters have given them temporary authorization to use these services now, making this one of the first title agencies to take advantage of the program in the state, says President Christin Dockery. “And we’re proud of that.”

“We’re excited to be able to offer this service and are thrilled to help pave the way for other title companies who will use a virtual notary for the unforeseeable future –– not only because of the virus but because it gives customers the option of making the closing process virtual,” she adds. “You won’t have to travel to a third-party location to sign any documents, and no one will have to come to your home to do this.”

The Private Client Group has, in fact, been conducting almost all aspects of business virtually for more than 10 years. “We have not been forced to adjust overnight like other brokerages have, and for us, for the most part, it’s business as usual,” says Alisha Collinson, Associate Broker and Director of Operations to the Private Client Group.

Nighthawk in Carefree. Photo Private Client Group Russ Lyon Sotheby’s

Aazami expects that the COVID-19 crisis, as with prior real estate market corrections, will fall further before it rebounds. “Real estate values are based on most recent comps, and two distress sales in the area can take a community down in value and experience historically slower rebounds than the overall market,” he says.

For the last few years, he’s recommended to his clients to sell at market-defensible prices. Lending has been readily available at low rates, and buyer confidence has been at a record high. “Many, though, have priced themselves out of market’s ‘trading range’; in essence, they helped everyone else to sell before them,” Aazami says.

Just listing a home is not always the best approach, especially now. “We recommend sellers to do everything right to yield the most and to sell within the shortest period of time. Sellers should fix, stage and present their homes to be perceived by the masses as ‘the next buy’ in its area, type and class,” he says.

For the buyer, a knowledgeable broker protects your interests, not the seller’s. “The seller pays this fee no matter if you take advantage of it or not; with the right buyer broker, you’ll gain better representation,” he says. “Would you hire your defendant’s lawyer to represent you?”

He suggests: “Buy a home because you have the right use for it, love the home you will be living in and be close to the amenities you desire to enjoy your chosen lifestyle,” he says. He adds that if you are an investor he can meet with you, virtually or in person, and jumbo loans are still available for those qualified.

Aazami says: “We have closed, and will continue to close, on many properties for realistic sellers as well as buyers who will enjoy their new homes for years, long after this crisis is gone.”

For more information, please visit WhyPrivateClientGroup.com and pcgagents.com, email Frank Aazami, frank@pcgagents.com or phone/text, 480.266.0240. Some recent solds are here: PrivateClientGroupSOLDS.com. And, the current MLS listings for the pictured properties are at tinyurl.com/taqyhhq. To register for a virtual showing, please reach out at info@pcgagents.com.

–Frank Aazami with David M. Brown, a Valley-based writer (azwriter.com).


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