How COVID-19 is Changing Real Estate.

I’ve been joking with my friends that COVID-19 should be called COVID-19lbs because being home is causing me to bake more. Bread, Cookies, Banana Bread – it’s a problem. All jokes aside, there are a ton of ways our lives are being impacted by COVID-19.  At our house we’ve been dealing with the new realities of  homeschooling a 3rd grader and another in Pre-K, working from home, virtually visiting with family and friends and for me, learning how to best provide value to my clients when I shouldn’t leave the house. 

I’ve been providing weekly Market Updates on Instagram but I thought I’d dig a little deeper and take a macro view of the current state of Real Estate. I hope you find this helpful. 

The Real Estate Market: Slight Changes.

MIBOR’s Market numbers, are still pretty positive given the circumstances. March was Ok, considering we spent the last part of the month trying to figure out what it means to Shelter-in- Place, work from home and protecting ourselves. March finished with 2,903 Single Family Sales. If you compare that to March 2020 to March 2019 the market was up 6%!

April seems to be ok too. My own MIBOR search of sold properties for April 1- April 22nd shows 2,168 homes have sold thus far. With 7 days left in the month, who knows how we could end up!

April 2019 data shows 2,940 homes closed without a global pandemic and mandatory Shelter-in-Place. I think we’re gonna be alright.

This is not like the last time…

Will we experience a housing crisis like we did in 2007- 2008? All signs, at this point, are pointing to no.  Our Real Estate Market is in a much different place then when we entered The Great Recession. Take a look at this graph that show the difference between available housing inventory in 2007 vs today. We still have very little housing inventory and it’s still very much a seller’s market. 

The availability of Mortgage credit is also different today vs. 2007. 14 years ago, you could get a mortgage easily. Today mortgage qualifications are more stringent. Check out this graph that shows the difference between available Mortgage credit in 2007 vs. today. 

What might happen? We can’t say for sure but it looks as though there will be some impact as unemployment rates go up. The Mortgage Banker Association is reporting that nationwide mortgage application rates are down. I can’t find any Indiana specific mortgage application rates to compare our market to the national data. If you know where I can find that information, please let me know. 

How we do business is different, obvi.

I’ve been taking real estate listing photos as a professional photographer for a long time and truly believe quality photos and video make a huge difference in a buyer’s first impression of a property.  This is of the utmost importance now. Don’t hire someone who doesn’t have access to these professional services, especially now.

As a Real Estate Broker, I am using more and more technology to serve our clients- from virtual meetings and FaceTime walk-throughs. Meeting in person is a last resort, as you might already have guessed.

Open Houses are basically cancelled. I’ve seen some Agents hosting Facebook or Instagram Live Open Houses on their listings – that’s a great way to let a potential buyer preview a property that might interest them before they narrow down their search. 

Buyers are the ones impacted the most, I think.

It used to be that you could walk through many different houses before narrowing down your search for the perfect home feel. Now, you need to narrow your search virtually before you ever visit a home in person. With such little inventory on the market, you also need to be able to make a decision quickly. 

I’m advising my clients to be ready to buy. Be planning now so that when the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood comes on the market, you can secure it quickly. I’ve put together an in depth planning tool to help you be as ready as possible. Click here to download. 

Sellers, things aren’t normal for you either. Sorry. 

To get your property to market there will need to be a few in-person visits to your property by me and my videographer but honestly, that’s about it. Everything else can be done virtually.

The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to have your property in tip top shape. Declutter, repaint using neutral colors – doing those small things will help a buyer see the space better when they take a virtual tour. 

Have patience. Your property could go very quickly or it could take longer than you expect- depends on your price range, location and the condition of your property. 

The biggest take away for Sellers is this: Make sure your Agent has the tools necessary to market your property or relationships to be able to find you a buyer quickly. 

This Might be our “new normal”.

I hate that phrase with a passion. Sorry to use it but I don’t have any new words for what this is…

I’m guessing that whatever form lifting the Shelter-in-Place order looks like, we are all different for having gone through this and I imagine some of these changes will stay with us for the health and safety of others going forward.

If you’re in the market for a home or are looking to sell, the best thing for you to do is to get in touch with your trusted real estate advisor and talk about the best option for you. If you are looking to buy or sell your house, let’s chat about the best strategy to help you meet your goal.

I’m here to help. Please let me know if this is helpful or if you have questions! Don’t hesitate to shoot me a message. Know that I’m thinking of you. Please stay safe.

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chawkins@lickliterrealty.com