By Miguel Fernandez
A lot of people are wondering if Coronavirus is going to affect the already booming real estate market. At this pace, coronavirus will affect all industries however, wise investors who understand that there is opportunity in every crisis will keep thriving in the real estate market.
In my experience so far, many buyers don’t want to attend to open houses and many sellers don’t want to host open houses in order to avoid people from entering their homes and potentially leaving germs all over the house.
I personally carry my alcohol-based hand sanitizer with me everywhere and wash my hands after every showing (along with sharing it with my clients). I’ve had to adjust my interactions with clients because many of my clients don’t want to shake my hand anymore, which has been hard for me to accept since I’m Cuban and I’m used to shaking hands and giving people hugs and kisses as most Latins do.
In-person offer presentations were slowly making a comeback at the beginning of the year, especially in multiple offer situations, but we are now returning to our comfortable and virus-free email offer presentations. Due to approved online signature platforms, we don’t have to see each other anymore.
Regarding real estate prices; the coronavirus statistics have not shown any measurable effect on prices. However in reality, we are faced with a situation in the real estate market where both supply and demand are low. Comparable sales, even as recent as last week, have little meaning when neither new listings, nor new buyers are coming to the market. We have seen some listings sell for as much as 5% above a value supported by very recent comparables, just because some buyers have grown impatient over lack of supply.
At the same time, we have seen examples when some very attractive properties, which have been strategically underpriced to attract multiple offers, did not get sufficient interest because very few buyers came to see them due to coronavirus fears. As a result, it is important to keep in mind that prices of real estate at this moment are not following any particular pattern and can be as erratic and irrational as the recent toilet paper frenzy.
My advice is to stay calm and not give in to fear. Even if your motivation as a buyer or seller is strong, remember that the last comparable is not necessarily an accurate representation of the market trend, but could be merely a representation of the state of mind of a particular buyer. Your listing price or your offer price should always be based on sound calculations and research.
I am still serving my clients when they need me, although they don’t recognize me behind my mask when I meet them ??.
Some tips below:
Fortunately, real estate transactions don’t need much physical contact to buy and sell houses. In the event that you decide to attend showings, try not to touch anything and allow your real estate agent to open doors for you.
Do not touch your face and refrain yourself from slapping your realtor’s face when they ask you to pay more money to buy a house in a multiple offer situation.
Drive your own car to the showings and avoid going in your realtor’s car, even when your realtor’s car may be nicer.
Avoid kissing your realtor no matter how attractive they can be.
And you will be safe.