How COVID-19 Is Impacting Real Estate

If you’ve been thinking about buying or selling a home in the near future, the recent events of this unprecedented global pandemic might have left you feeling a bit uncertain. COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected all of our lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to press pause on your real estate dreams. Every buyer and seller’s needs are going to vary depending on their own circumstances. We are here to help you evaluate your needs and desires and guide you through aligning these needs with the market and with your goals to customize a plan that works for you and your timeline.

We want to get you thinking about how these changes to everyday life may affect the buying and selling process…and how you can protect yourself while continuing to pursue your goals.

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Real Estate Market?

Our way of life has changed dramatically within the course of just a few weeks, and the real estate market has shifted, too. Have a few questions? It’s hard to predict what will happen in the future, but here’s what we know right now.

Adapt to Market Shifts

Person studying COVID-19 graph

As we adjust to a new normal, it’s clear that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on every industry in the country—including real estate. However, this doesn’t mean that individuals aren’t still buying and selling homes. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that 61% of sellers plan to keep their houses on the market, and over half of buyers will continue to shop for a home. Lending practices have shifted, closing practices have shifted and a good Realtor will help you navigate these uncharted waters.

Although we’ll likely see a reduced number of closed sales in the coming weeks and months, continuing low interest rates paired with pent-up demand and low supply of inventory might help to prevent any drastic price drops. Many economists also believe that another housing market crash is unlikely due to new regulations and stricter mortgage qualifications. In 2008, the housing market and banking system were at the helm of the crash. This time around, the threat of recession came upon us almost instantly by the global pandemic during a very stable, if not robust housing market. Every market segment will be effected differently and there is no way to project the exact outcome, but market indicators are pointing toward more of a blip than a drastic drop.  That said, some market segments might be effected more than others: for example, luxury secondary housing markets will likely see things slow more than other markets where primary housing is in higher demand.  Your Realtor can provide you with data and help you evaluate market conditions in your specific segment. Things are constantly shifting and it is not one-size-fits-all.

Buying and Selling a Home During COVID-19

As of late March, agents have been continuing to help their clients buy and sell homes—but have been implementing some safety protocols aimed at keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Essential Tips for Sellers

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Selling a home during the COVID-19 outbreak is definitely uncharted territory, but as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, it’s not impossible. Many sellers and their agents have worked together to pioneer new marketing strategies…some of which might last even after life returns to normal. Here are some tips to ensure you are staying safe.

Make sure you’re healthy

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that every member of your household is healthy before and during the selling process. Alert your agent right away if you’re feeling sick so they can halt in-person showings.

Sanitize your home

As a seller, your main priority should be ensuring that your home is germ-free, especially before a showing. We recommend wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes and sprays and offering hand sanitizer to potential buyers. Reduce the likelihood of buyers touching cabinets and lightswitches by opening any doors, cabinets, or drawers and turning on all lights before a showing. After each showing, it would be good to air out the house and wipe touch surfaces down again just to be safe.

Capitalize on digital marketing

If you still plan on selling soon, have your agent use high quality photography and the latest digital marketing techniques to really showcase your listing. Open houses and showings might be out, but virtual tours and showings via video sharing platforms are in—and it’s important to capitalize on these techniques to draw in potential buyers.

Essential Tips for Buyers

Person using a tablet

Believe it or not, it’s still possible to buy a home during these uncertain times—and modern technology is making everything easier than you might expect. Here’s how to stay safe and healthy throughout the entire buying process.

Make sure you’re healthy

If you’re feeling ill, it’s important that you stay home, practice social distancing, and avoid any showings. However, you can still continue to tour homes virtually and chat with your agent via online meetings.

Use virtual homebuying technology

Thanks to new innovations, it’s easier than ever to explore listings from the comfort of your own home. If you don’t want to attend a showing in person, many agents provide in-depth virtual tours and personal walkthroughs through video platforms like FaceTime and Zoom.

It may also be possible to complete much of closing process remotely. Chances are, most documents can be signed electronically, which adds another layer of convenience and safety. Your agent, closing attorney and lender will likely make whatever accommodations they can to suit your needs.  In some cases, you will need to be flexible and creative.

Take extra precautions during in-person showings

Want to see a home in person before making an offer? If your agent still offers in-person showings, there are a few extra steps you should take to keep yourself (and the sellers) safe. You will want to drive separately from your agent to showings, carry hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with you and try to refrain from touching any surfaces. This might be difficult, but it’s the easiest way to mitigate the spread of germs. If your community has a shelter-in-place order, you may have to postpone any in-person showings until restrictions are lifted.

Have More Questions?

As we navigate the changes inflicted upon the market by COVID-19, it’s crucial to consider your individual needs and follow local guidelines. We’re constantly on the lookout for new ways to assist our clients, and we’re determined to protect your health and safety while helping you meet your goals. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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