Home Buying and Selling During Covid-19
Home Buying and Selling During The COVID 19 Pandemic doesn’t have to be stressful or a source of worry. Here at Century 21, we’ve made some innovative adjustments to help you with your real estate transactions even during the crisis.
Home Buying & Selling Using Government Guidelines For Health Safety
In early March, as soon as the coronavirus reached the pandemic category, national and state laws were put into place for the health of the national population.
Some of the laws directly affected the real estate market.
In and around NE Ohio, the pandemic has had an effect on the number of homes on the market. Some sellers took their homes off the market, and others decided not to list their homes. Open Houses came to an immediate stop.
Here, in Solon, the Century 21 Homestar Mike Team has jumped into action.
Home Video Tours:
The first thing we did was to institute detailed virtual home tours. The home tour video walks the customers through every room in the house and opens every closet, cabinet door, and drawer.
Other Precautionary Measures:
Additionally, we do take clients on tours of occupied homes where we practice stringent health precautions. We and our clients wear gloves, shoe covers, and masks. Additionally, we are constantly using hand and surface sanitizers.
What does this mean for home buyers and home sellers?
Having homes sell quickly is wonderful, but it means that we have to take our clients into many more homes than usual. We also never know if, while we are looking at a home, somebody else is putting in a bid on it. That’s how fast things are happening.
When it comes to home buying and selling, we continually look at homes in the clients’ price ranges, but many of them are showing an interest in looking at homes below their price range. These become affordable homes that can handle updates of several thousand dollars. In the end, the clients have a home of their dreams. This, of course, is not for everyone.
“The number of people who are putting their search on hold is not as many as you would think,” says Mike Ferrante, an associate broker at Century 21 Homestar: 21 Mike Team based in Solon. Buyers are competing for listings and prices are steady, even increasing, in spite of the coronavirus. “People are afraid they might miss out on the perfect home.”
Is Consumer Confidence Existing In A Limited Market?
Today the real estate market is a limited market in NE Ohio. That’s why it’s important for homebuyers to subscribe to our youtube channel and website to get updates about home searches at https://www.youtube.com/user/21mikec21
Many potential sellers are deciding to hold off on listing their homes. Some of these sellers feel there is economic uncertainty, but most harbor concerns about health risks. These are the sellers who want to wait to see that the danger of COVID has been eliminated enough to make them feel comfortable admitting strangers into their homes. They are not slashing prices. Be sure to check out our free home evaluation tool at https://21mike.com/what-is-your-current-home-worth/
Pandemic or not, Home Buyers are anxious. House shopping is stressful. There is uncertainty in the stock market. Homebuyers know the supply is low. Homebuyers also know they have to act fast if they see a house that’s at least “acceptable” to them. Since a large selection of homes to choose from doesn’t exist, several buyers are settling for less than the house of their dreams.
“Demand has increased because some [sellers] have taken themselves out of the game, or they were removed from the game because they lost a job, were furloughed,” Ferrante says.
Realtor Creativity = Virtual Sales
“If the buyers have an urgency about buying a home, they will buy from whatever options are available to them,” says Ferrante. “Last summer, I had a client who bought a house, based on 33 pictures of the house, while she was vacationing 6,000 miles away.
Video or a virtual tour would have been the next step if she were uncertain about the house. We have been using video and virtual showings for several years. The pandemic has created a need for us to use these tools more often, but the tools are not new, and they have been available for a long time.”
Time To Use Virtual Tours
Virtual tours enable the realtor to point out specifics and to zero in on them. For example, the realtor might see some mold on a basement wall that would not show in an ordinary video but needs to be pointed out to the potential buyer. As the realtor is walking through the house the potential buyer gets a real feel for the flow of the house. These are just two examples of the huge benefit of a virtual tour.
“Agents have to get creative,” Ferrante says, noting that open houses are now a virtual event. “I spent an hour at a house on Facebook Live and then Instagram Live, and I basically walked around the home and talked about its features. If anyone had questions, I would answer them and show them areas of the house they asked to see.”
As good as virtual tours are, many buyers feel that nothing can replace seeing the house in person. But, they tend to be hesitant because of the fear of touching surfaces.
Sellers, too, are feeling a bit nervous about prospective buyers coming into their homes and touching surfaces.
Ferrante makes sure that every buyer wears shoe coverings, gloves, and face masks. “People are taking the precautions seriously, but it’s ultimately up to the agent to remind them,” Ferrante says.
Coronavirus Clauses in Realty Contracts
There is another thing that realtors are doing to make this Covid-19 period go easier. In order to deal with delays from lenders, appraisers, and title companies, the realtors are including COVID-19 contract clauses. These clauses give buyers 10 to 30 days extra on closing dates and transfer dates. Even though real estate contracts use the language of “on or about”, the Covid-19 contract clause gives buyers and sellers a more concrete time frame.
“We are trying to avoid a deal getting delayed by a day or two and one party or the other saying, “We didn’t close on time, the deal is off,” Ferrante says.
When things return to normal, whatever the new normal will be, the Century 21 Homestar Mike Team will be at the forefront with innovative ideas to make buying and selling a fast, easy, and memorable experience.