COVID-19 is prompting some innovations and greater use of technology. That includes with home builders and the real estate sector.

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

National home builder Lennar (NYSE: LEN) is rolling out technology so prospective home buyers can tour model homes on their own.

Alan Jones, Division President for Lennar, talked about how the home builder is using technology to offer prospective buyers some social distancing options during Rose Law Group’s New Economy (Virtual) Power Lunch on Friday.

“Now people can come to our welcome center and never talk to anyone and for some people that is great,” Jones during the virtual forum hosted by Rose Law Group.

Jones said prospective buyers can sign up online including providing their drives license and a photo and their cell phone number. They can they set up a time to tour model homes on their own. A code to the model homes smart lock and entry system is sent to the buyers via geofencing when they arrive at the subdivision.  Jones said Lennar has started to sell more homes via the social distancing tours or virtually.

Jones said Lennar sold 220 homes regionally in March and 160 in April. He said the cancellation rate has gone from 13 to 14 percent up to about 10 points since COVID-19 impacted jobs and the economy.

Rose Law Group Partner Cameron Carter said real estate and other deals are continuing to happen and he is seeing innovations coming out COVID-19 and impacts.

“People are innovating. People figuring out new ways to do business,” Carter said.

Jones said Lennar could end up selling 200 homes regionally in May.

Jones said Lennar will gauge how and where to move forward as the economy reopens in Arizona and other states.

Michael Pollack, President and CEO of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments, said the economy needs to reopen but in a responsible way that does not spur more COVID-19 cases and new pushes to shut down the economy.

“We can’t keep the economy closed down,” Pollack said. “Otherwise, we will have issues we haven’t seen since the 1920s.”

The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent.

Pollack, who is one of the largest shopping centers owners in Arizona and the Western United States, said he has been working his tenants as they try to navigate the pandemic as well as U.S. Small Business Administration assistance programs.

Dr. Ana Moran, Clinical Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at Barrow Neurological Institute, Director of Infection Control Program at Select Specialty Hospital in Phoenix, and Medical Director at HealthyVerify Certification, expects social distancing to be part of workplace and societal behavior for awhile as result of COVID-19 and while a vaccine is being developed.

“We are going to see some degree of social distancing for the next couple of years,” Moran said.  

HealthyVerify Certification is a Scottsdale company that helps workplaces and businesses establish health safety programs, protocols, and certifications as they look to reopen.

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