Is Now a Good Time to Put My House on the Market?

Saturday May 16th, 2020

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The housing market has “changed,” not “stopped.” However, the process does require a lot more patience to pull off.

If you were planning to put your house on the market in 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic has likely given you pause. Is now a good time? Will prospective buyers come? Will they leave germs all over the place? And assuming you do go ahead with the sale, what changes can you expect with regard to the usual past procedures and practices?

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the housing market and yes, home buyer activity has gone down. Not to mention stock portfolios are likely not looking so good.  

2 Things to know:

-There are always people who have strong motivations to move, such as a new job in another state. If fewer sellers are putting their homes on the market in your area, yours might be an attractive option.

-Some buyers are specifically looking to get to a location where they're less exposed to crowds; perhaps a single-family home with a bit of land rather than property in a condo building, or a rural area rather than a crowded city.

If you’re a Buyer, social distancing has challenged the process in many ways and before, much of buying and selling involves face-to-face interactions.  Now, virtual showings are encouraged. If physical showings are preferred and it’s allowed, use hand sanitizer before entering the home and don’t touch anything in the house.  The best practice is to keep your hands in your pockets, respect the homeowner’s property and make sure that if you are sick that you cancel the showing or have the agent do a virtual tour.  Health is always more important.

If you’re a seller, here are some things that may make it easier if you still plan on showing your home.

  • Turn on all the lights in every room and open window blinds
  • Open all doors, even closets and pantry
  • Have hand sanitizer available

Make sure your Listing agent pre-screens the Buyers with their Buyer’s agent.  The Buyers should be ready to purchase, definitely be pre-qualified (no tire kickers) and have already seen all of the photos and videos (no surprises). This will allow potential buyers to get a sense for the layout of your home before they see it in person. Ultimately, it will help give them a better idea of whether or not your home could be a good fit for them.  It will also help to limit the amount of traffic going through your home to only those buyers who have serious interest in your property.

The Mortgage Process may go more slowly than expected. Everyone is affected by this crisis, and a lot of people are involved in a home sale: bank officers, home inspectors, closing attorneys, appraisers, and so on.  Actions that might have once been completed in hours or minutes might have to wait, whether it's because individuals are unavailable or because a shelter-in-place order limits all non-emergency travel.

The Purchase Agreement for your home will likely contain a closing date, but prepare to be flexible on this. Some real estate agents are writing clauses into the contract that basically foresee and make room for the possibility of delay owing to COVID-19 issues.

Everyone's emotions are running high. Being patient and understanding of everyone's situation can ultimately increase the chances of your deal being completed and having a successful transaction. heart

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