Spring is usually the best time to put your home on the market; the trees are green and the flowers are in bloom. Then along came COVID-19 and everyone’s plans were put on hold. As we worry about social distancing and working from home, now that home that was already too small starts to feel like a shoe box. Or maybe you just want to get some land around you, but the thought of selling a home right now is daunting. You may be wondering things like: how do you deal with strangers coming in to view your property? Is anyone looking at homes right now, or should you wait until this ends? Or maybe you’ve heard that the banks are no longer lending home loans.
The fact is that the market stalled out in March and now buyers are starting to come back to the housing market and homes are selling. The truth is that there aren’t as many homes on the market right now and bank loan programs were not easy to get qualified when the Bank did not know what was going to happen with the economy. The economic picture is getting better and now banks are starting to loosen up some of the restrictions. With that being the case and with interest rates as low as they are right now, many homebuyers will no doubt want to capitalize on those rates, in which case you may be in a good position to find a buyer should you decide to move forward with your home sale. Since we don’t know what the economy will look like three, six, nine, or 12 months from now. So, if you hold off on listing your home, you run the risk of doing so at a time that may be more competitive and when the housing market as a whole could slow down and you’re less likely to get the asking price you want. We are in an election cycle and the market usually slows down right before the Presidential Election as well as when the weather changes in the autumn and winter seasons. Although, there is less traffic in the market right now, what we have seen is that the people who do come out are real buyers rather than people just looking or filling their time on the weekends. These buyers are purchasing homes and the builders in the area have great traffic at their home sites and NVAR statistics are now showing that traffic and sales are picking up. We are seeing now that homes under $1.2Million are moving very quickly, most are selling within days of listing and many are receiving multiple offers. The upper bracket homes are getting more traffic but the sales are still slower. We feel that the upper bracket buyers will want to get in before the start of the new school year and the spring market will be pushed to the summer market.
The market is holding up very well given the situation. With agents, buyers, and sellers have all formed ways to look for homes that are selling. All are working to keep the selling processes moving in a post COVID-19 world. Buyers are spending more time online searching as are Agents.
…or Not to Sell?
On the other hand, there’s one very good reason to hold off on listing your home right now: your personal safety. With the Center for Disease Control (CDC) warning Americans to socially distance to avoid exposure to germs, now’s really not the time to have people traipsing in and out of your home, touching your furniture, and breathing in your general vicinity.
Also, it’s generally a good idea to vacate your home during open houses or while Agents are showing your home to prospective buyers, but given the self-isolation mandate, there’s nowhere to go. This means picking up and leaving for hour-long stretches at a time, which is suddenly a much bigger ask.
Finally, many people are worried about their financial prospects even if their income has thus far held steady. Due to this, there is also a possibility that, if you try to sell your home now, you may struggle to find a buyer, or one who has the money to give you the price you’re looking for.
Right Time for Listing Your Home?
If you have a specific reason for selling your home—say, you’re already under contract to buy another one, you’re relocating, your property is vacant or you’ve been struggling with your mortgage for quite some time and want to get out before you find yourself to be underwater— then it’s a good idea to move forward with listing your home for sale, albeit with caution. On the other hand, if you’re not desperate to sell, then you’re probably better off waiting for a host of reasons, your health and safety being the paramount.
Even if you’re not particularly worried about catching COVID-19, the fact that it has stunted life as we know it is jarring enough. The last thing you need during a period of nationwide upheaval is the hassle of having to deal with a home sale and moving.