The COVID-19 crisis presents significant challenges for the real estate market in the US. By March 17, a NAR survey showed that 48 percent of realtors noted a decline in buyer interest, and this number has only gotten bigger. Even sellers are pulling listings for fear of having to sell at lower prices than they hoped. Some economists predict that real estate sales will be down by at least 35 percent by spring 2020.
Still, if there’s one thing to learn from this crisis, it will be to find more creative ways to do business should the pandemic drag on longer than a few months. Nobody can realistically afford a prolonged shutdown, and soon we will have to find ways to do business amid the prevailing circumstances.
Even though most buyers are likely to press pause on any purchase decision, they can still research the housing market. And thanks to the technology that provides for virtual home tours, buyers can still weigh the suitability of various listings without a physical visit. Of course, whether or not you manage to convince a buyer through virtual tours is a matter of presentation.
Realtors and sellers must take advantage of technologies like Cupix, EyeSpy360, and Matterport for a virtual rendering of listings. Even without these, you can take virtual tours with clients on FaceTime and Skype, or take videos of the house and upload them along with your listing.
A lot of the transactions currently happening are those that were already underway before the crisis began. Both sellers and realtors would be well served by working hard to move the process along. Already, lots of buyers want to pause transactions until the crisis blows over, so when you have a buyer that wants to keep going, do everything to support them.
It is critical to give all the information upfront. Show your inspection and appraisal documents, and answer any of the buyer’s queries promptly and comprehensively. Try to move transactions along to closing as fast as possible.
How the repricing of the real estate market will react to the crisis is anyone’s guess. It could swing both ways: one the one hand, pent-up demand with fewer might cause prices to shoot back up to where they were. On the other, fewer people might be ready to commit to buying a house because of economic uncertainty.
Regardless, staying informed about the state of the market is critical to ensure that you’re well placed within the landscape. Buyers that intended to buy through a mortgage should continue with the process of pre-qualification.
Although, with the rise in refinancing requests and economic uncertainty, approvals could take some time. Meanwhile, sellers should keep an eye on trends, learn about the market, and work closely with realtors.
The full coronavirus’ effects on the spring housing market remain to be seen. For what it’s worth, most people are spending their time on the internet. Find a way to use it and your market research, whether selling or buying, will bear fruit.
Do as much as you can online, and limit the person-to-person contact for the most crucial stages of the process. Subject, of course, to your state’s shelter-in-place regulations.
Stay safe and stay positive. This too shall pass.
Guest Blog Credit: Maddi Arcurio, HomeLight