The decision to sell a home can be driven by a variety of influences. A new job, a new baby, or a significant life change (such as parents moving into your home or out of theirs) can trigger the need to move on from your current home. I always maintain that selling your home is a process that cannot be rushed. Prior to listing, an invested realtor will want to spend time with you to discover your needs and lifestyle goals. You and your realtor need to take the time to assess the market climate, evaluate competing inventory, and prepare your home for viewings. The process from deciding to sell your home to the live listing on MLS can take days or weeks. As we head into spring, traditionally the kick-off to the start of the real estate busy season, realtors everywhere are faced with a new way of doing business.
Wait, What Just Happened?
The corona virus pandemic has forced homeowners and realtors to rethink how and when to list. Life changed quickly, and we were no longer in control. Every day, sometimes even hourly, the rules around our day-to-day-activities are changing. In response to the seriousness of COVID-19, real estate agents have been mandated to stop holding open houses. It is an acceptable adjustment to make since sellers don’t want strangers wandering through their homes, touching doorknobs and opening cupboards.
Real estate agents now have to field questions from their clients about the new protocols for listing and showing their homes. Would people be allowed to just roam the property? Who was going to make sure every surface was cleaned after every showing? Is it absolutely necessary to have an open house?
The industry responded quickly, advising against open houses and face-to-face transactions. We pivoted to virtual open houses and in cases where a buyer wants to view a home, the seller will leave the house with all the lights on and we ask buyers not to touch anything. Home inspections continue to happen, but they will take a bit longer than normal as inspectors will have to collect information about recent health and travel activities of the homeowners, as well as perform their duties in full personal protective equipment (PPE) Our primary focus was to protect the health of everyone involved in the sale of a home: our clients, our colleagues and the general public.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
As we head into a period of uncertainty and fear, it’s a natural reaction to second guess your decisions. The basement renovation you just completed may have to wait a little longer for a new tenant who is financially secure. Stock market crashes and job losses have had an impact on the number of buyers. The banks have dropped interest rates, making a new mortgage more affordable. If you are in a position to do so, the lower rates can also make this a great time to take the leap into an investment property.
While home prices are fairly steady at this time, all we can do is make decisions knowing what we know right now. Currently, there is not a lot of inventory on the market. Some areas are still experiencing multiple offers on a property. On the other hand, buyers may be making the assumption that sellers are desperate to sell and it might be tempting to jump on any offer because you are afraid the prices will take a downturn. I can draw on my experience as a realtor to help you make an informed decision about whether or not to sell right now, but I cannot anticipate what the market will do over the long term.
Whatever happens moving forward will happen because of the choices we make. With the rapid changes the pandemic has triggered, there seems to be more motivation to do the things we’ve been waiting on, such as downsizing, retiring early, and even considering buying an investment property. While we have no control over this pandemic, we can certainly take advantage of the favourable market conditions and move forward with plans.