This was set to be a big year for real estate broker Michael Fabbri of Nest Seekers. But the 33-year-old Gramercy Park resident is instead losing out on as much as $250,000 in commissions for spring because he can’t show homes to buyers during the coronavirus shutdown.
Last year had been soft because buyers and sellers weren’t aligned. But all of a sudden, at the end of the year, we started to see a huge uptick and were getting lots of offers. Interest rates had come down and prices had reached a level at which both sides were comfortable.
I had 16 active listings, ranging from a $500,000 studio to a $12 million penthouse; by January, over half were in contract. It was so promising. I closed four by early February and the rest were slated to trade in the second quarter, but then the coronavirus happened.
On March 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that brokers were no longer allowed to show homes. To get a deal closed, everything has to be done in-person including appraisals, inspections and walk-throughs. So everything went on hold as if time just stopped. It’s not like we could even shift prices, like we would in a downturn, to get a deal closed.
We are scrambling to figure out how to do these things virtually. We can show properties via FaceTime or virtual tours, but the likelihood of the process resulting in a deal is very slim; most people do not want to buy sight unseen.
I was supposed to close $30 million in active deals from March to May — which would have brought in almost a million dollars to my team and $250,000 to me, but we will be lucky if we see 25 percent of that. I think the silver lining is that New Yorkers are very resilient and after having been stuck in their homes for months, they might want to shelter in a new place. — As told to Beth Landman
Read more stories about the coronavirus causing unemployment.