“Don’t even THINK about buying or selling a house right now!”
Is that what you’ve heard? Or maybe you haven’t heard that in so many words, but the statement certainly seems logical, based on how we’re all feeling about what’s going on in the world right now. But, what has been the real effect of COVOD-19 on the real estate industry?
Real Estate and COVID-19
As with many businesses, the health and economic storm brought on by the coronavirus’s delivered an initial blow to the real estate industry, too. The first few weeks following the mandatory stay-at-home orders certainly saw a dip in activity in the housing market. Some of the top concerns included: This is 2008 all over again! Everyone is out of work! You can’t go into houses safely these days…you’ll get sick! House prices are crashing! The entire economy is crashing. I’m never going to financially recover from this!
No doubt, it’s a scary time right now! But let’s look at the real effect of COVID-19 on the real estate industry and what’s happening in the housing market today.
Moving the Real Estate Industry Forward Safely
Real estate has remained an essential business. Houses are selling every day. One positive effect of COVID-19 on the real estate industry is that interest rates are VERY low. And while inventory remains at pre-COVID-19 lows, buyer interest and demand has gone through the roof over the past few weeks, resulting in multiple offers in many cases. Popular home browsing sites have reported significant increases in searches compared to last month but also compared to last year at this time.
So how has the the real estate industry been able to pivot and adjust procedures to continue moving forward safely? Most agents were already utilizing virtual technology. But that has been expanded even further with the increased use of 3D tours, boosted marketing on high traffic websites and social media platforms, along with virtual showings and open houses. While we all love a fun open house with cupcakes and a food truck, now is the time for super unique virtual solutions.
For potential homebuyers that still want to see inside a potential new home, you can do that too! Some of the safety measures put in place include limits on the number of people permitted in houses at one time and showings by appointment only to pre-qualified buyers. In addition, very strict cleaning guidelines have been implemented along with the use of masks and hand sanitizer. Although the numbers of physical eyes inside a property might be down, those that are visiting are serious (no looky-loos right now!). Once a decision to move forward on a property has been made, there are also digital document and transaction management tools as well as options for drive-up and remote settlements.
So what is the right decision? Buy or sell now or wait? There are a lot of ways to make educated guesses about what the future looks like. But the truth is, they are still guesses. What we do know is the reality of today’s real estate market and we know there are ways to win in this environment. Choose an agent to guide you through the process. They will dig through the numbers, give you the facts, answer all of your questions. Ultimately, the decision boils down to what’s best for you and your family today.
Buying & Selling Tips To Plan Ahead
Even after weighing all of the options, you still may decide that now is not the time to buy or sell. However, there are a lot of things you can start doing now to get ahead. If you’re looking to sell later this year, start prepping the house now. A great agent can also help you with plans to get your house into tip-top shape. Whether that’s de-cluttering, deep cleaning, painting some walls, fixing the fence, or just planting some beautiful flowers. And if you’re looking to buy later this year, now is the perfect time to get your finances in order! Talk to your agent about recommended lenders in the area. Continue to focus on things like saving for a bigger down payment and paying off that car or credit card debt.
Home means a lot more to people today than it ever has. Families are using their homes for work, school, sports and fun and so much more. It should be a place you love, brings you joy, and is still practical for what life looks like now. “When you’re prepared, you’re more confident. When you have a strategy, you’re more comfortable.” –Fred Couples