REAL ESTATE IN A COVID-19 WORLD
Well, this is a post I can honestly say I never imagined myself writing!
And I’m 100% sure you never imagined yourself reading it.
Yet, here we are all are, trying to make sense of a world that has been turned upside down.
Welcome to the temporary “new normal”.
Because we’ve received so many questions from friends & clients about our abilities to serve them in the middle of the pandemic, we thought it would be helpful to provide some information on the current guidelines as dictated by the governor’s office, NW Multiple Listing Service and WA Realtors.
(I say “current” because our guidelines have changed several times in the past six weeks and may change again before we are able to revert to our previous ways of doing business.)
Here are some of the guidelines we must work within:
- Only two people (one real estate agent, one client) can be in a listing at any one time. This applies both to showings and to property inspections.
- No work can be performed by non-essential workers. As an example, if you need blinds hung in your home, or a window repaired, it may not be possible to have those sorts of repairs or improvements made at present.
- Other typical real estate activities are on hold such as companies that install sign posts.
- No “live” open houses may be held.
WHAT SELLERS NEED TO KNOW
Yes, sellers are listing their homes at this time … and yes, they are selling!
Vacant homes are getting more viewings than occupied homes. Buyers may fear there is less health risk in visiting a home that is vacant. This doesn’t mean occupied homes aren’t selling though!
One strategy that we’re seeing implemented increasingly is the use of pre-inspections. Sellers have been pre-inspecting their homes in certain areas for a while now, but the practice has become more common.
Another trend that’s gaining in popularity is the use of Matterport services. Matterport technology offers viewers an opportunity to “walk” through a home. A view of the home as a “doll house”, as well as an available floorplan (which includes measurements) are being well-received by buyers. This kind of marketing, in addition to traditional video marketing, allows better online exposure for your home and ensures that only buyers who truly feel your home is a fit for them will take the time to make a live visit.
And while it’s always important to have your home priced properly, it’s never been more important. Although there are buyers actively searching for homes, they are fewer in number. As a result, you don’t want to miss even a single opportunity to capture their interest (and there’s no quicker way to lose interest than to overprice your home).
WHAT BUYERS NEED TO KNOW
Yes, it can be a great time to buy a home!
Interest rates are incredibly low. And because some buyers have put off their home search until we are further along in the Covid19 recovery process, there’s less competition out there. Multiple offer situations, while still seen occasionally, are not as commonplace as they were this time last year.
One thing all buyers need to remember is the “two-person” protocol when looking at homes. Yes, it’s really a rule in Washington State right now. No more than two people can be in a home at any one time when it comes to real estate interactions. And since real estate licensing laws also forbid real estate agents from letting potential buyers in a home without an agent present at all times, this means that we need to allow extra time for showing homes.
If a group of two or more want to see a home, we can certainly do that — one person at a time. So, the other member(s) of the party need to wait in their cars, while one person views the home with us.And please know that there is not an exception to the Washington rules for small children or babies. For the time being, it is not advised to bring children to showings unless you have someone who can be in the car with them while you view the home.
Inspectors, appraisers, mortgage brokers, and escrow companies are considered “essential workers”, so rest assured that – once you find the home of your dreams – you will have the team in place you need to complete the transaction.
However, when it comes to inspections, the two-person directive applies! If you want to have an inspection, you will not be able to attend. Your agent will attend with the inspector, and you will then be provided the standard written report (supplemented with photos). Many inspectors are making themselves available for follow-up phone calls with buyers after the inspection since they will not be able to be present at inspections.
Real estate is in the second phase of the planned rolled out by Governor Inslee on May 1st, which means the restrictions mentioned above will likely be in place through May – and perhaps longer.
IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME FOR YOU TO BUY OR SELL?
Every potential buyer or seller clearly needs to make their own decision about buying and selling during this time. There are certainly opportunities in the market, and of course everyone needs to weigh the potential health risks with the potential opportunities.
For clients who know they need or want to move forward with a purchase or a sale, we are available to provide you our usual good counsel based on many years of experience.
If you’d simply like the opportunity to talk through your concerns while you are making the decision about timing, we’d love to do that as well.Regardless, we are here when you are ready for us!
For a free, no obligation chat with Marti, please choose your favorite time and reserve your spot at https://www.teammarti.com/contact-me/.
In summary, Real Estate is in motion and the spring rush is on!
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