Real Estate During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Dated: May 7 2020
First off, I hope you're in good health and aren't going stir-crazy from self quarantining. I'm doing well. Staying busy this spring and catching up on a lot of behind-the-scenes work and coming up with creative ways to continue doing business in as normal a way as possible with all things considered.
I've had a lot of clients ask me how the COVID-19 situation has impacted the real estate market here in Boise. For the most part, it's been business as usual. Since we're labeled as an "essential business", we're able to conduct business in as normal a way as possible. In Boise, we are still seeing new listings come on the market, aren't seeing many price reductions (and the listings that are doing price reductions would have needed to reduce their price under normal market conditions anyway), and are still seeing homes go under contract and close normally.
The things that have changed, however, are that we've seen a slow-down in the sale of owner occupied homes. Buyers don't want to be exposed to a home where the sellers are living there day-to-day and have been self isolating in the home. Restrictions were more severe in March and April. Now that we are moving into May, it's still something that is on people's minds, but the situation has relaxed to some degree. Vacant homes are getting a lot more activity than occupied homes. We have also seen in increase in the demand for FaceTime and video chat tours, and sellers have been more accommodating in accepting offers where the buyer hasn't viewed the home in person as long as a thorough video chat tour was done before submitting an offer. For me, that has just meant that it's business as usual as about half of all my showings before the virus were video chat tours anyway as I specialize in relocation clients and work with a lot of out of state buyers.
For my listings, not much has changed either. As a basic service, I have always offered 3D virtual tours with a virtual floor plan, video tours, drone footage, and guided video tours for all of our sellers as our basic service so potential buyers can get a very good idea of what the property looks like without having to see it in person. I also offer 4 hours of professional cleaning, 2 hours with a handyman, or a mixture of both to get homes market ready...so buyers are comforted knowing that a home was professionally cleaned and sanitized prior to going on the market. Fortunately, because I have always provided these services, I already have a system in place to get these things done quickly and efficiently.
I have been asked quite often if I think you should wait to put your home on the market until all this dies down. To that, I'm saying no. I think that when we get the "all clear" to return to business as usual, there will be a flooding of listings into the market and there will be a lot of competition. As long as a home is marketed and priced properly, there should never be a reason for it to sit on the market--regardless of the circumstances. There are still plenty of buyers who have a legitimate need to find a home...whether they're starting a new job in the area, are going through a divorce, need to downsize, find a bigger home due to a new baby, etc. Lenders are still lending, interest rates are still low, and buyers are still buying.
As I just mentioned, lenders are still offering historically low interest rates, some lenders are working from home but are still closing loans and getting buyers approved as usual, and there are still plenty of new homes coming onto the market. I understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to work from home or work in an "essential" employment situation and that some of you have had to put things on hold for a while. I feel for you. I really do. But I strongly believe that things will be back to normal soon enough. I also firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to be a homeowner, and I will be here when you feel comfortable enough to move forward--and so will my lending partners. We're here to help in any way that we can, and we work on YOUR timeline. Not ours.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I know it was pretty lengthy. As always, if you have any questions whatsoever, if you want to talk about your situation and to see how I can help, or even if you're just cooped up, bored, and want someone to chat with....I'm here for you. :)
Stay healthy, my friend. Let's talk soon!
I'm Owen Hendricks, a Realtor working primarily in Boise, Meridian, and Eagle. I moved to Boise from the Midwest and jumped into the real estate market as soon as I got here. I've loved every second o....
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