This series is aimed to provide a Business Spotlight on local people and businesses in the East Contra Costa County community that are being impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and their response to the virus.
In today’s business spotlight, Rick Fuller, owner of The Rick Fuller Team who highlights how he is navigating his real estate business through the Covid-19 pandemic and what people should expect when buying or selling a home in this environment. He also provides some quick tips and things to consider.
ECT will be interviewing 30-businesses in 30-days during April to provide both information and to promote local business.
What is Team Rick Fuller?
The Rick Fuller Team is a real estate team in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento County that has been in business for 15-years. The firm helps families buy and sell residential real estate. The firm is also an endorsed local provider For Dave Ramsey!
Why did you open your business?
According to Fuller, he had a frustrating experience when he bought his first home in his early 20’s which drove him into the business. He admits at the time he didn’t know what to expect and there was so much back and forth with documentation. While the investment in real estate was the right one for him, he thought there had to be a better way and experience which is what he set out to achieve.
Today, has nearly 1,000 five-star online reviews.
Rick received his Real Estate License in 2003 with the philosophy of providing every client the kind of experience they would be excited to tell a friend about.
“Buying a home could be a challenge, but it also should be something you are excited about and something you should want to tell a friend about versus just going through a long process and getting frustrated,” explained Fuller.
What do you love most about it?
Fuller says he loves helping their clients transition from one home to the next smoothly while providing them with a positive experience. There is nothing better than handing someone the keys to a new home. Buying and selling is never easy, but providing the communication throughout the process is important. Its like an airplane pilot, there is a take off, there could be turbulence but in the end we want to land the plane successfully with an enjoyable flight.
One of the most impactful sales Fuller can recall is with a home buyer in the City of Concord and when they were signing papers, the buyer told him it was their first home. He told them he knew that because he was his agent. The buyer replied that “no you don’t understand, its my family’s first home in three generations” and looking back now, it changed their whole family dynamics and now they own real estate.
How has the coronavirus impacted your business?
Since we cannot do face to face business, we are now doing virtual connections and videos. We have had to adapt by using more drone footage and video footage along with virtual showings, virtual open houses, guaranteed offers and digital signatures.
The way it works now is we schedule a Zoom call versus face to face and walk them through the process and how we can still help. If they were going to buy a home, we show them the home usual video and virtual property. We then provide all the data on schools, taxes, and other information about the community. If they want to pursue and make an offer, that process is now done digitally. We can do this all without ever physically stepping foot in a property or making face to face contact.
A client is protected because the offers on the property are subject to an inspection after the COVID-19 shelter-in-place has been lifted. Currently, most of the inspections are only occurring in vacant homes/property.
For sellers, everything is prepped with video production and getting your home listed online which helps protect the seller from health risks associated with COVID-19. Most people are already using the internet to preview homes so we are simply going as far as we can go in the process while staying within the law. We can do walk-through when necessary.
How have you responded to coronavirus – how has your business changed
Virtual showings, virtual open houses, guaranteed offers, digital signatures and aerial video production… other changes included the timelines have jumped from 30-day contracts to 45-to-60 day due to coronavirus. This is very fluid as rules change and certain tasks become necessities and those jobs become available again versus sheltering in place. For example, New York has gone to a virtual notary while some banks are now allowing for desktop appraisals without requiring an actual appraiser to visit the home.
Contra Costa County is still recording documents remotely and are performing e-recordings.
Real estate has always required us to be very flexible with our clients, now what we are seeing is this whole coronavirus has made that statement more true and more fluid than ever and its changing almost the day so one of our new routines is just keeping up with the news and state laws.
One thing we have done for our office team is we created a grocery grant where people have pulled together and created a fund for our employees and agents to utilize for groceries and our team members do not have to pay it back.
Things to Consider:
- Hesitant to Buy Our Sell in this Market– fundamentals to real estate remain strong with low interest rates and lack of inventory so demand is remaining strong. A lot of money is flowing out of the stock market and into the real estate market (investors) so we believe that will continue to drive real estate. Remember, people have been cooped up in their homes and realizing their house may be too small or too big, maybe they realize with this new economy, they need a home office and need an upgrade. People home all day are seeing what they now want such as a pool or perhaps they want to downgrade or reduce expenses.
- Forbearance: If you can make your payment, make your payment. Forbearance is actually just 1 of 7 options people can take. Others include loan modifications, options to rent a house, rent a bedroom. Others could refinance. People are focusing on forbearance but you still will have to pay it at some point. Advice here is there are three things you want to do before you do anything with this is to speak to your bank and determine if they are offering you a loan suspension or a loan deferral—is it due after 90-days or placed on the back of the loan or spread out over your payments? Whatever you do, get it in writing and don’t be late. Also, a lot of people have their property taxes and insurance in their monthly payments, so don’t forget to pay those because you don’t want a gap on your account.
- Equity: One benefit that many people in East County have is a lot of people were able to buy in 2010-12 which is different from the crash in 2009 which you had many just entering the market with little to no equity. Equity from a home can help people get through this coronavirus if they have to sell a home.
- Headline Readers: Ignore the headlines and really get the details of certain programs from loan modifications, refinance, renting or forbearance. Again, get everything in writing from your bank or lender and be careful on loan suspensions v loan deferrals.
Any special deals right now that the community can take advantage of?
We are offering a free Fuller Home Value Report (50-75 pages) visit: www.fullervaluereport.com and we have a guaranteed offer program where we provide an offer on a property without a showing: https://rickfullerinc.com/guaranteed-offer/
Business Spotlight Series
- #3: The Bike Shop Reopens After Clarification on Essential Business
- #2: Revive Salon and Spa Closes, Now Waits Out Stay-At-Home Order
- # 1: Josh Young at Newfront Insurance Navigates Through Coronavirus Pandemic
Disclosure: this series is being done at no cost to local business or individuals as an attempt to provide value to our community. If interested in potentially being included in this series, email [email protected]