The COVID-19 pandemic, shelter-in-place orders and social distancing have slowed business in California and around the country. Sonoma County realtors have noticed that real estate transactions have reduced, but work continues as realtors turn to virtual means of conducting business.

For the agents at Century 21 Bundesen in Petaluma, real estate business goes on with the use of email, video tours and group meetings using video conferencing services like Zoom.

Although most offices are closed, MLS is up and running and agents are answering emails and phone calls daily.

Instead of open houses, agents like David Thomas are offering live video tours upon request and posting online to Bundesen’s  real estate channel on YouTube.

The use of virtual technology is nothing new.

According to Susie Savino, an agent working with Tina Shone at Sotheby’s in Sonoma, we “regularly use video tours and personalized ‘virtual tours’ (narrated walk-thru video) when working with out-of-town buyers who may consider doing more in the coming weeks or months.”

Although the turbulence in the financial market has some buyers concerned, people are buying houses.

“I opened escrow on a home this morning and will open on another this afternoon, but home inspections will be difficult,” agent Bill Gabbert said.

Marsha Harris, another agent at Century 21,  feels like the market will come back strong.  “This is most likely the best time to buy rather than waiting for activity to resume and the demand to go up,” Harris said.

She may be right, but many home buyers may not want to invest without seeing a home in-person.

For now, virtual tours  offer a needed break from the news cycle and help us plan for future transactions.

Interested in a little real estate eye candy? 135 Howard Street in Petaluma is just what the doctor ordered.

Click through our gallery above to explore this historic 1890 bungalow listed by Tony Lander at Century 21.