Commercial real estate broker makes changes during pandemic

Lexington, KY. (WKYT) - A Lexington broker says this is uncharted territory for the real estate industry.

Source: MGN

Ken Silvestri, who is the owner and principal broker of Silvestri Real Estate, specializes in selling apartment communities.

Before the pandemic, he said people flew from all over the country to buy properties in Lexington. Now traffic is a bit slower.

“A lot of people are of course afraid to fly," he said.

As a result, he’s selling more to folks living locally. Those investors are still viewing properties, but with new rules in place.

“We put a lock on the door...just dial in the code number, and then we’re scheduling out people to go look at the apartment building so that they can go see it on their own," he said.

Silvestri said they need to inspect inside to see what changes they want to make, but instead of seeing a unit someone currently lives in, they can only tour a vacant one.

“We’re having to be really careful about what apartments we go into,” he said.

Once they’re finished, the disinfecting begins.

“They bring the key back, the manager puts it into a bowl of soapy water, they go clean it up, and use some more lysol on it," Silvestri said.

If a realtor has to go inside themself, they have their own protective equipment.

“We’re wearing a mask, and gloves and eye protection, it’s not a hazmat suit, but we’re of course keeping plenty of space," he said .

Silvestri said he can see the ripple effect the pandemic has, especially within apartment communities.

“All of the maintenance people, they need to be paid, staff needs to be paid, mortgage needs to be paid, insurance needs to be paid, property taxes need to be paid," he said.

He said April collections are looking good, but he’s anticipating that May will be slower with more people unemployed.

“If you can’t pay, if you’ve lost your job, please don’t hide in the weeds, come talk to the owners, the landlords and almost every one of them has a plan," he said.

He said the country’s current state has people like him coming up with innovative ways for people to more comfortably live and work more from home.

“We’re talking about ways to partition those laundry rooms and maybe have a private lock, like a private room," he said.