Business as usual has been anything but usual since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged earlier in the year. However, with creativity, there have been many ways to move forward.
Roberta Wells is well acquainted with the uncertainty and tremendous potential of today’s real estate climate, for example. “Everything turned upside down,” says Roberta, who was planning to move to Eagle’s Trace, the Erickson Living-managed community in West Houston, when coronavirus concerns sparked shutdowns in mid-March. What had seemed like a clear path forward required innovative solutions to an unprecedented situation.
“I have friends who live at the community, and the lifestyle appealed to me,” said Roberta, a retired teacher. Eagle’s Trace, located on 72 acres just south of I-10, offers the small-town charm of friendly neighbors, stylish apartment homes and convenient amenities.
“I looked at floor plans online, but when the one I wanted became available, we were under stay-at-home orders,” says Roberta. Luckily, technology prevailed! Jodie Schroeder, sales counselor at Eagle’s Trace, filmed a video tour of Roberta’s preferred floor plan, a one-bedroom Doverstyle apartment with a balcony, and sent it to her.
“I said ‘yes’ to the apartment and chose paint colors and flooring virtually, working with the staff over the phone and by computer,” says Roberta, whose next step was preparing for the sale of her house in the Fairfield Village neighborhood.
Haven Benoit, personal moving consultant at Eagle’s Trace, offers complimentary coordination of moving resources for anyone moving to the community and maintains a network of moving professionals. She referred Roberta to Lisa Hudgens with RE/ MAX Northwest, a preferred real estate agent who’s worked with Eagle’s Trace clients for eight years.
“I’ve hired a team to narrate virtual tours of homes for sale,” says Ms. Hudgens. “Instead of an impersonal camera view of the house, we have a person in front of the camera who shows every part of the house. These narrated tours have received tremendous positive feedback.”
Ms. Hudgens listed Roberta’s home in late April and had six showings scheduled within a week.
“Lisa told me to turn on every light and open every door,” says Roberta. “That way buyers could look at the house with minimum contact.”
The house was under contract by the end of the week, with an offer for the full asking price. “I had no idea it would sell in a week,” says Roberta. “I was eager to get my house on the market as soon as possible, but I just didn’t know what would happen. I thought I would ease into this move gradually. Instead, it went really fast.”
The quick sale came as no surprise to Ms. Hudgens, who says buyers are still looking.
“It’s a seller’s market because we’re short on inventory,” says Ms. Hudgens. “Economists from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University are predicting the real estate market is going to push through because interest rates remain historically low. People are still selling and buying.”
Eagle’s Trace, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living, is on a scenic, 72-acre campus in west Houston. Additional information can be found at EaglesTraceCommunity.com.