One Community Conversations: Gordon Videll, Attorney

Gordon Videll, real estate and business transaction attorney and co-host of Justice for All, a radio show on 94.9, joins Byron and Nicole for this episode of One Community Conversations. We discussed essential pieces of real estate transactions and how the current situation will change how we do business.

Day-to-day, you’re usually in a courtroom or at a closing table. How is your life changed over the last two weeks?

It’s changed quite a bit, there’s no court work. So essentially, I’m cleaning up everything that I had put off to the side for months. When this is all done, I will have the cleanest files in the history of files. It seems as though I’m busier now, minute to minute because I’m doing a lot of writing. 

But as far as the closings, we’re still getting them done and I know you guys are out there getting them closed too, which is probably comes as a surprise to people, but we are essential and we got to keep the economy turning, so let’s do it. 

 

In your understanding, what are the essential components right now to the real estate transaction?

Well, the most difficult part we’re having is with towns that can’t do the searches, because they’re not online. That’s created difficulty. But as far as the essential pieces, it all starts with you (real estate agents). I would imagine some people are a little hesitant to let people in their houses at this point. But I guess we’re going to find the pretenders from the contenders and who wants to get their house sold.

 

Are we going to get to a place as we work through this, where the closing has will be updated for 2020?

Years ago, back when you guys were still in school, we did try to do the remote closings where everything was online, and people just didn’t trust the transaction and that’s kind of why it fell apart. 

As far as access to the town halls electronically, it’s absurd that we don’t do it that way. I don’t see that changing in a big way, although there’s so much more access to the records. And eventually, they will be doing the recordings at the town halls electronically. So I do see big changes.

This is going to change our lives in a lot of ways – the way we approach each other the way we approach social situations, and the way we do business. 

This (virtual engagement) is like a force proof of concept and everybody’s going to get used to this. And they’re going to be forced to get used to it. It’s going to change the way we do business. I have contractors doing this now quite a bit. They now have to pay attention to what’s on the paper versus the (face-to-face) engagement.

 

Some buyers don’t even want to be at the closing table anymore. And they’ve put some additional things in place so that your buyer doesn’t even have to be there.

That was the second thing I wanted to bring up. The governor made allowances for us to notarize remotely, and that’s a huge change. We’re going to try not to do that as much as we can prevent it. But in order to get the deal done, it just has to happen. Honestly, we’ve been trying to keep people out of the same room for a while. It’s just easier.

 

What are you seeing in New London County? What’s going to be the impact of the economy in New London county as we work through this?

That’s a really good question, and you can see some of the investors kind of hesitating right now. Investing in New London County, other than major residential projects, has always been a little risky because of the demographics. Because we border the ocean, half of that circle of demographics is missing. So that’s why it took so long to get the chain restaurants down here. We have that same struggle with like a Trader Joe’s or something like that. So, we have our own problems here. 

This isn’t exactly on point, but the number of BnB’s and summer houses that have New York plates parked in their houses right now is frightening. 

 

Do you think this is going to set a precedent on how a lot of aspects of business are going to change going forward? We touched on real estate, how about just general overall for all businesses?

I think it’s gonna change everything. That being said, our public has a short memory, doesn’t it? This isn’t the first time we’ve been through this. I mean, the H1N1. Hopefully this time with the technology, and like you guys out there being ahead of the curve. From a business standpoint, we’re ready for this. So many people weren’t, so I’m hoping that people start to use technology for real economic drivers rather than social media. 

 

Anything that you think is important right now, somebody that’s doing something positive in the community, or any message that should be should be delivered in this in this current situation?

Everybody’s kind of in a holding pattern, because we’re just about to approach the thick of this, like, we haven’t seen the problems yet. But we will. It’s serious, and it’s going to happen, and a lot of people are going to get it. 

But there are going to be opportunities. And I hope people see those opportunities. Sometimes opportunities come at the costs of other people, but as a society, we have to work forward and have that balance out. So I would just stress, don’t look at the negatives. There are going to be positives of this. Everybody knows their family again. That’s kind of a cool thing. The other good thing is, there’s kindness, there’s a lot of people out there genuinely being kind to one another. And I just hope that we can hold on to the good that comes with this, and not do what we usually do, which is forget about it and get self-involved again.

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