Covid 19 Q & A

By: Rob Garrick

Covid 19 Q & A

Tags: Spring 2020 Market UPdate

Well let's all agree before I start, this update is different from many in the past. There is not much point in providing first quarter statistics because March would skew the numbers. 

Covid-19 has taken the stage, front and foremost for all of us. It is NOT 'business as usual.'  Our main objective is the same as yours; protect our health and our family's first. At the same time, we want to keep you informed of issues that could affect your largest asset. Real Estate is still trading and has been deemed an essential service by our government. There are always people that have to sell or have to buy.

Selling/Buying/Renting/Leasing, people need housing. Our position is to avoid face to face meetings of any kind until this is deemed safe. There are some situations where meeting is necessary, for instance, a home inspection or final walk-through prior to closing. Some clients have to buy/sell. Yes, we've had a few. In those instances, we insist on strict protocols and thankfully, most other brokers are requesting the same. Covid-19 questionnaires need to be signed by you prior to visiting any property.  All Sellers are asked to have the lights on, the closet doors open and a request for you to wash your hands before and after entry.  There are a limited number of people that can enter a home at one time and you will be asked not to touch anything. In my opinion, Open Houses at this time are a big No No. If there is a virtual tour, take it. 

Here are some questions I've been getting:

Are prices dropping? 

No, but sales volume has dropped, understandably.  People are not rushing out the door to buy or sell so it's a limited marketplace for both buyers and sellers. The current inventory is still very low and the mortgage rates are very attractive which will keep things buoyant. I've been through 3 real estate recessions in the past 35 years. The largest price drop was 1990-1995 where prices fell by as much as 21-26%, but it took 5 years for that decline. In the end, it all comes down to two things, consumer confidence and jobs.   

What happens when this is all over? 

In general, the marketplace is 'on pause' right now. I believe things will get very active once 'the world ' has been given the green light. We may not see as many transactions over the year, but real estate will still be bought and sold. For example, in Wellington County, there are approximately 2900 transactions in a year. That number could drop by 20-30% or 2000-2300. This is the number of sales, not prices. 

Are people actually buying property without seeing it?  

John and I have sold a number of homes over the years ‘virtually', usually because the buyer and/or seller was out of the country and not able to be present. 
This is not the norm, however. Listing agreements and offers can all be accomplished and signed online now. Some Buyers have put in conditions on personally viewing and approving the property by a specific date. When listing, we took initiatives several years ago of providing complete, detailed listing information with professional photography/video and online marketing that delivers on many platforms including search engines, MLS sites and social media. I'd like to say this was by design in preparation for Covid-19 but no, we just wanted to provide the best online marketing experience for our clients. 

Are there any great deals out there? 

I've seen a few homes that have sold perhaps a little lower than I thought they may have sold a month or two ago. Maybe they've had 2 offers instead of 10, or the market time has taken longer. The 400K-700K range is still very active, some with multiple offers and over asking sale prices. People are not going to give their homes away. 

What are you doing to stay busy?   

Like many of you, John and I have been working from home when we are able to, he's also homeschooling his children Alden 9, and Elizabeth 6. I've been attending 'virtual' office meetings and discovering more ways we can enhance our marketing plus connecting with clients. I'm also walking Rook, our dog daily for an hour. It's really quite evident that he is thoroughly enjoying my time with him. 

These are unprecedented times for all of us. For the sake of my family and yours, please continue to practice social distancing and wash your hands often.

If you require anything from us, a grocery store run, prescription pick-up or perhaps a simple chat by phone, FaceTime or Zoom, just ask. We'd love to hear from you. 
We are here to help.  

Stay Safe,