Questions you may be asking.
I would like to start by saying I hope everyone is safe and healthy and doing their part to help the world get back to the freedoms we are accustomed to so we can once again live fuller lives.
In this tailored world of self isolation and social distancing, a lot of people may have put real estate goals on hold out of choice, or perhaps financial uncertainty, or just from being unsure of what they can and can’t do.
I’ve tried to answer these questions as best I can below, keeping in mind this is new territory we are all navigating through, but I do think better days are ahead. I think we will all be surprised at how soon we are looking back on this stressful time and feeling more lucky and grateful than we ever have before.
Can I still buy or sell a home?
Yes, and yes. Although the protocol may have changed, the adjustments most realtors are making have the safety measures people need, and homes are still selling. It’s not as leisurely as it was before, where we took for granted looking at 5 homes in one hour. The pre-qualifying online has gotten much better and the physical showings that are taking place are after the buyers are quite sure the property is for them. Less showings, but perhaps a more qualified buyer which is better for everyone, to be honest. The technology we are using now as a team which our clients can take advantage of is nothing short of amazing. Outside of reaching out and physically touching something, I actually think it makes for a more efficient process aside from my love of our face to face business.
Offers, home inspections, and even closing procedures with lawyers have all transitioned to a contact free process. However once again, aside from the relationship building that comes from meeting people in person, this makes for a more streamlined process.
What is the market like itself?
At the start of the pandemic leading into March break, it was still very much all systems go, with many homes continuing to sell for over asking price. Two weeks into social distancing and the market was still very much alive with normal levels of not only new listings, but sales too. Our team was seeing 5 offers on homes and even though the number of showings seemed to be down, the buyers who were still looking had home goals that needed to be achieved. We took our job very seriously and felt we continued to lead and adapt to a new level of precaution for our clients to make sure not only everyone was safe, but that we could provide the high level of service people counted on and we were used to. The extra effort was appreciated and we always felt better doing it.
The last 3 weeks has been a different story with precautions getting stronger by the day and showings becoming more and more limited. We also saw new listings dramatically taper off and then sales followed.
But that shouldn’t be looked at as a misleading stat.
After all, if there are no houses for sale, people can’t buy them. New inventory for April 2020 is down 33% from last year, and sales are down 67% comparing this April to April 2019 (keep in mind, at the time of writing, the month isn’t over, it’s currently April 17th). Once again, you need house listings to have house sales.
Is this a good time to buy real estate?
I think it’s always a good time to buy real estate (I know that sounds cliche given my profession, but it’s true), and this goes around the support of what I have always said. Real estate is more about “time in, then timing”. The only challenges right now are house choices, so being patient is probably something that is needed and maybe even easy to do given the militating in our personal lives.
I do see a lot of value in upgrading right now, with certainly more supply in the higher end and that price point could have the most movement in terms of flexibility. Even in vibrant markets, the facts are the same; buyer audiences are built like pyramids- the further up you go in price, the fewer the buyers there are. In this more select market, we have seen sellers in the higher end show more flexibility towards getting the deal done, and in the lower price points, prices are somewhat stable. So that being said, the gap between your home and your next home may be a lot closer than you think.
I will not pretend to be an expert on something I have never lived before or experienced. I do however, like to concentrate on what I know, and confirm my instincts with facts. Real estate is very important to people.
I know economic pressure will be felt, but the demand will still be there. Who knows what extended amounts of time spent at home will do either? Will people make commitments to their real estate goals more than before? Tough to say, I know for my family we have recognized some changes we would like to make given the amount of time we have recently spent inside our house.
In short, our team is doing the same thing we always have; trying to give valuable info to clients so they can make informed decisions.
We want to be viewed as community leaders in how we do our business and the support we give to others. I have always considered myself to be in the relationship business and want that mindset to continue with our clients looking to us for the thing we value most. Trust.
Stay safe everyone, and never hesitate to reach out for a chat.