Social distancing. Self-quarantine. Hand sanitizer, soap and water and elbow-bumping instead of shaking hands; this is the world of Corona Virus.
In our efforts to deal with the world-wide pandemic of Corona Virus, not only are our priorities changing, but our vocabulary as well.
I’m getting a lot of questions from my clients, worried about whether or not they should continue to close on their transactions, continue searching for a home or for a buyer for their current home, due to the Corona Virus situtation.
I am not a medical expert, so I can’t field medical questions. (See here for Corona Virus information from the US government.)But I am a real estate expert and am happy to offer my opinion of what is happening in the housing market and what experts expect in the coming weeks and months.
While there are plenty of rumors and much guessing from the experts as to how the U.S. economy will be impacted by the safety measures federal, state and municipal governments are enacting, nobody is certain.
I agree with those who claim that it all centers on how long the Corona Virus takes to get under control. The longer Americans are out of work, the longer retailers and other businesses remain closed, the bigger the impact on the economy.
Will our deal close?
If you have already signed a purchase agreement, as a buyer or a seller, lenders are taking extra steps to help speed up the process while many are working from home due to the Corona Virus.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, for instance, is allowing VA buyers and sellers to participate in meetings with title companies, appraisers, lenders and VA personnel via phone or “other electronic methods,” according to the experts at Military.com.
Newly constructed home sales are still quite strong and closings are running smoothly even during this Corona Virus frenzy. “During the first two weeks of March, new orders were up 16%, closings continued on schedule and traffic in home sales centers was strong,” Stuart Miller, Lennar Corporation executive chairman told the South Florida Business Journal.
The real sticking point to be aware of during the Corona Virus is that with municipal buildings closing down, the sale may not be recorded when you expected it to. Some municipalities are offering alternatives, such as closing remotely, through e-recording (thank goodness for technology!) and even by mail.
Is this an ok time to buy a home?
Due to this uncertain time during the Corona Virus, mortgage interest rates have edged up a bit over the past few weeks. We are still at historic lows though and borrowing money has rarely been so cheap!
When rates are higher you won’t get nearly the size or type of home you can right now.
If you’re worried about Corona Virus exposure while house hunting, understand that touring homes for sale is a bit different now but still quite doable. Much of the process can be done online via virtual open houses, 3-D home tours, floor plan drawings and more.
Even in-person tours can be accomplished in a safe, healthy way.
What about selling? Is this an ok time?
While spring is typically the best time of the year to put a house on the market, with the Corona Virus going on now, this spring is going to be quite different.
There are buyers in the market, however, so if you need to sell, by all means, let’s get that home on the market.
As mentioned in the buying section, above, I can employ a number of methods to keep your home and your family safe during and after showings.
Remember, the inventory of available homes is still quite low, so you will have little competition for homebuyers’ attention. We’re even seeing bidding wars still happening, across the country.
If your home is in good condition and priced well, it will sell, whether or not the Corona Virus is active.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I am always happy to help you find a new home and/or sell your current home!