Archive for the 'Coronavirus' Category

May 2020 – Real Estate clawing back

TRAFFIC VS INVENTORY

While many sellers and buyers understandably put home selling and buying plans on hold in March and April, the last three weeks have shown that making a move is looking much more do-able than it was a month ago.

First of all the number of buyer showings is coming back as shown by the chart above (courtesy of Showing Time). With technology and many fewer sellers listing their homes, you can list your house and make it happen safely and effectively and follow guidelines set by Gov Murphy,  the CDC and the NAR. Since most people are sheltering at home, people are spending a lot of time on the INTERNET and some are buyers actively looking at homes for sale online. But despite buyer traffic being low compared to normal spring markets, there are currently still buyers competing for the scarce inventory and having offers accepted. So the number of homes going Under Contract in area towns did not drop nearly as much as the number of Active Listings.

Less Competition – Quite a few sellers in April removed their homes from the market, but listings will pick up again soon, as a high percentage of sellers are only planning to delay the process by a couple of months. If you need to sell right now, don’t wait for the competition to get back into the market again. If the curve continues to flatten, delayed listings from the typically busy spring season will push into the summer months, so more competition will be coming to the market as the pandemic passes. Getting ahead of that wave now might be your opportunity.

Tech – We utilize tech to help both buyers & sellers who need to continue with their plans. We use virtual tours to show homes currently on the market, staying connected with the buyers and sellers thru video chats, and completing transactions more electronically. We’re making sure families remain safe and can keep their real estate needs on track.

Here are the types of clients we currently see:

  1. Families living in urban apartments in NYC, eager to move into a safe and spacious suburban home with a yard and less Covid risk.
  2. Families sheltering in place, seeing the need for first-floor living quarters that their aging parents can move into
  3. Renters with leases ending, and need to purchase a home ASAP
  4. Sellers planning to relocate and sell their current home
  5. Buyers with the intention of relocating for a job

Navigating through the pandemic, we face the challenge of keeping our community safe, while helping our clients meet essential housing needs. We have come up with a virtual way of showing homes to those who have to currently buy or sell. Here’s the menu to choose from to meet your needs.

DIGITAL BUFFET: My listings now have a fuller digital selection for interested Buyers to review prior to scheduling a showing. Each home features 25+ photos, a Video Walk-Through, a Floor Plan, a Virtual Brochure with full details on the house, and a Survey (if available), as well as photos of the mechanicals and ceiling height, and a Seller’s Property Disclosure, which are available upon request.

NO TOUCH SHOWINGS: Each Buyer and Seller has different needs, and we tailor the showing process for them. We offer FaceTime or Zoom showings, both of which can be done individually or thru Virtual Open Houses.

For the buyers who wish to schedule an in-person showing in order to make an informed purchase decision, we have specific safety measures in place. They must be ready for the following:

  1. Buyer and Seller to sign COVID-19 disclosures prior to the showing
  2. Seller to leave all lights on, open some windows for ventilation and open all interior doors so that clients do not need to touch anything while in the home
  3. Buyer and Agent to arrive with their own gloves and masks. Booties will be supplied
  4. Agent to access the key in the lockbox and open the front door
  5. Buyer and Agent to alternate walking through the house to ensure the practice of social distancing
  6. Buyer to refrain from bringing children to showing

Bottom Line – Homes are still being bought and sold in the midst of this pandemic. If you or anyone you know need to sell your house and would like to know the current status in your local market, contact me to create a safe and effective plan that works for you and your family.

Find your home’s value quickly.

So Now What?

April 2020

Prior to the spread of Coronavirus, the NJ real estate market was still in good shape.  But let’s be real, things have changed. The good news is that agents/brokers, attorneys and lenders are still making sure their current transactions get to the closing table. However, the bad news is that the number of buyers and sellers interested in jumping in now has fallen off very significantly.

So now what?  It mostly depends on how quickly those who lost their jobs and income because of the pandemic can recover.

OVER SIX MILLION Americans filed for unemployment last week, an enormous number that is only going to grow.  According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, “Housing, like most other industries, suffered from the coronavirus crisis, but once this predicament is behind us and the habit of social distancing is respected, I’m encouraged there will be continued home transactions, with more virtual tours, electronic signatures, and external home appraisals. Many of the home sales likely to be missed during the first part of 2020 may be pushed into late summer and autumn parts of the year.” 

Gov. Murphy is calling Real Estate an essential business and is now allowing the basic unit of real estate, ‘in person appointments’, or one single showing of a home link to Murphy executive order.  Open houses are still currently off the table. Murphy worked with more than 40 financial institutions, including Citi & Chase to NOT initiate foreclosure or eviction proceedings for at least 60 days.  HUD announced this month that the FHA has been authorized to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days.

I’m working with several buyers and sellers who would understandably rather wait, and despite a significant number of people deciding to ‘hold off’, there are still people needing to buy or sell, but they’re nervous.   So is everyone else involved in real estate transactions.  So as mentioned above, agents, attorneys, lenders and title companies are all working hard to get the closings/settlements that were already underway completed (including yours truly in the pic above doing just that).

Technology steps into the breach.  Expect more virtual showings, videos, and zoom chats to replace or precede anything previously conducted in-person. Expect digital documents to eliminate even more paper and signature pens.  Expect attorneys to limit the number of people at the closing table to comply with new federal and the World Health Organization guidelines.

Sellers – Agents are, for now taking less listings, and are trying to reassure sellers that they will only bring through qualified buyers, instructing them not to touch anything, escorting them the entire time they are in the home and then disinfecting door handles. Check your home value here. Buyers – Those that left assets in a bear market, may wind up with less cash for down payments. Interest rates are now at rock-bottom lows, but that won’t prevent sales from slowing and prices from coming down, as the economy flips from a strong seller’s market to a buyer’s market.

As interest rates fall, the demand for refinancing seems to be skyrocketing, but is volatile. In March, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were hovering around 3.25 percent to 3.5 percent. Then, they were at 4 percent, as investors flocked to 10-year Treasuries, and the Fed announced it would buy mortgage-backed securities. Demand for bonds won’t help mortgage interest rates or housing affordability. If you’re looking to REFI, I have contact info for excellent area lenders, so reach out.

An expanding demand is city dwellers looking to flock to the suburbs to rent for more space and an easier time social distancing as Covid spikes and urban crowding becomes too difficult for many to handle.

Stay safe and help flatten the curve.


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