Virtually every aspect of our lives has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, from the way we work to how we spend time with our loved ones. The weeks behind us and the uncertain weeks or even months ahead will be remembered as an era that impacted every industry.
Including Real Estate.
Although the provincial government has deemed real estate professionals as offering an essential service, there have been guidelines imposed on the industry. Namely, physical distancing, limiting groups of people to no larger than five, and work-from-home directives.
The reality is, although COVID-19 has slowed many people down, there are some who are still on the move.
“There are still people who need to sell,” explains Lorraine Jordan, CEO of Team Jordan and Keller Williams Mega-Agent. “Some were planning on listing already, others face new challenges such as job loss. And there are people looking for a new home. This can still be done. The difference is how we do it.”
Like many businesses, Team Jordan of Keller Williams Experience Realty has adopted a fully online virtual platform to serve clients while protecting fellow community members.
“Especially now, it’s about being open to what people need and finding out ways we can safely achieve their goals,” says Jordan. “Even if people just need to talk to someone with experience, who knows the market, we’ll be available to listen and to help.”
Jordan says that listing or buying property today is a new and unique experience, with nearly every step of the process completed electronically to ensure minimal one-on-one exposure.
How is this done?
Traditional tours and open houses are now virtual, although the listing agent may visit to take pictures and record video for the listing and online ‘tour’ of the property. In some cases, the listing agent will guide a seller through this process.
If a personal client visit is requested, on condition of sale, for example, the buying agent takes precautions to ensure your property remains sanitary.
What buyers and sellers should consider right now
Moving into traditionally the busiest season in real estate, many want to know: is it better to list now, buy now, or wait until the crisis has ended?
Jordan explains, there is no clear answer to the question. “Every single situation is different. If clients are not comfortable with their listing during this time, we’ll take the property off the market. However, we are seeing more people searching for homes online because they’re stuck at home.” Increased exposure to engaged buyers, coupled with the continued strength of the Midland and area real estate market (90 new listings in the last 30 days and an average sale price of over $530,000), could make this a good time to list for some.
As for looking for a home or investment property, the circumstances might not be ordinary for buyers but this could come with opportunity. Interest rates are at a record low with some dipping below 2.5% for qualified buyers. And with hesitant buyers choosing to wait it out, there are fewer competing offers. “For those in a position to buy right now, interest rates are still great. Some people can spend years looking for the perfect home. If it’s available right now, it can make sense to buy right now.”
It’s a changed world with uncertainty prevalent in the economy, industry and of course our health. Whether or not this is the best time to list or buy depends entirely on your personal situation.