The Coronavirus has caused many serious changes to take place around the world as well as across the country. From non-essential businesses closing for indefinite lengths of time to self-isolation all but mandated, the world is in a strange place. So where does that leave the real estate industry?
First, open houses and showings are not happening. With the stay-at-home order in place, an open house isn’t really a necessity people should be leaving home for, like groceries or prescription pickups. Additionally, even if that stay-at-home order wasn’t strict or in place, folks selling their homes have been saying ‘no’ to home showings since before the virus really took off.
That means virtual tours and property photos are huge right now. Any way buyers can experience the home they want to buy, they’ll take, even if it’s through a computer screen. Our suggestion? If you can find someone, hire a professional videographer to create an outdoor tour of your home so potential buyers can get a good look at the outside of your home. If you were lucky enough to have an indoor tour before everything went down, great, you’re kind of set. If not, consider talking to your Realtor about doing a home tour on Facebook Live or something similar. Give potential buyers of your home the chance to see your home without leaving theirs.
Second, closings have gotten a little weird. They’re mostly online, and if not, they’re not really in person either. The buyers and sellers can’t really be in the same room, especially with agents and whoever else may be tagging along for the home closing ride. This isn’t a huge problem, however, because a good portion of the home selling process is online anyway, especially if one or more of the parties involved is out of state. This is one of those times when we’re so grateful for the digital age being so omnipresent.
If you’ve made a closing recently, you’ll notice that there’s a new required addendum included in the agreement of sale specifically for this situation. If you read through the addendum, it’s simply an agreement that if one or more of the parties involved is unable to fulfill an aspect of the original agreement due to something caused by COVID, it’s okay and they agree to figure it out (paraphrased, of course). The fact that this even needs to be an addendum added to these documents is mind-blowing, but it’s also necessary in these times.
Third, we’re probably going to see another recession. The stay-at-home mandate has left non-essential businesses everywhere floundering, and those who live on tips or commission, like Realtors, won’t really have an income for as long as this goes on. That, of course, means that when this is over, those people won’t be spending money because they won’t really have it to spend. The stock market is also seeing huge drops; real estate stocks are predicted to see numbers close to those from 2007. It’s about to be a rough time for real estate offices.
On the buying side, prices of houses on the market are dropping and offers are coming in less frequently, so we suppose if you’re really needed to buy a home, you’re likely to get a fairly low price without much if any competition.
On a similar note, home buying has gotten more complicated with so many people being laid off and unemployment benefits so delayed. Yes, that $1,200 stimulus check will help a little, but it’s not similar to a regular income for most people. Closings are being postponed, offers are being dropped, buyers are backing out last minute, etc.
Overall, yes, this situation is a strange time in real estate. Hopefully, the curve will flatten and things will return to normal soon. Until then, hang in there and stay safe.