Many homeowners are worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause home prices to drop—or to even crash like they did during the 2008 housing crisis.
But according to a recent survey, the majority of real estate professionals feel confident in the housing market and its ability to withstand the pandemic.
According to the March 2020 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, 60 percent of real estate professionals expect home prices to remain stable or increase in the next 12 months.
The Takeaway:So, what does this mean for you? If you’re worried we’re headed towards another housing crisis, you can breathe a little easier knowing most professionals agree that when we come out on the other side of this pandemic, home values will remain steady—or potentially even move higher than where they are today.
So, what does this mean for you? If you’re worried we’re headed towards another housing crisis, you can breathe a little easier knowing most professionals agree that when we come out on the other side of this pandemic, home values will remain steady—or potentially even move higher than where they are today.
5 Questions Buyers Have During the Coronavirus Outbreak Answer
Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. During this
time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their
ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will
bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help buyers navigate the buying
process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related
to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered.
1. Can we still go see home listings in person? – This is the hardest question to answer
and it will depend on the home, the seller, the agent and any fast-changing governmental
policies put in place. Agents should be able to offer a Skype or Face Time home tour
virtually. Talk to your agent to find out what they have available for the buyers to prescreen the home virtually before setting up the visit; they might have virtual tours already
available which can help rule out those that don’t suit their needs.
2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes? – Everyone’s health has to be the priority;
this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. If you are going to see a home in person
during this time, carry hand sanitizer and wipes to use before, during and after the tour.
Drive separately from your agent meet at the homes. During the tour, designate one
person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the
3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? –Most real estate contracts
include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan
approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed
after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. Since every aspect of real
estate is negotiable, consider asking for the contingency deadline to be extended and in
place until the close; talk through this aspect with the seller and their agent in advance to
set the right expectation.
4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – It’s very common for
the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections,
appraisals and just measuring are all common reasons to visit the home during escrow.
Consider grouping these activities whenever possible.
5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal
ball, but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated
to sell. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to
predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.
The Covid-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers, sellers, and even
agents. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the
home you’ve been waiting for during this time.
The shelter in place orders that have been in effect for weeks across the country have many people spending more time at home than ever before. And after spending so much time in their homes, many of them are noticing what they don’t like about their current space—and what they’re looking for in a new home.
A new survey from realtor.com asked people what they considered must-have features for their next home after sheltering in place. And, unsurprisingly, many of them had to do with space.
Some of the most common must-haves on buyers’ post-quarantine wishlist include:
The Takeaway:So, what does that mean for you? If stay-at-home orders are making you realize you’re ready for a new space (and more space), you’re not alone—and you’re not stuck. Thanks to virtual tours and closings, home sales are still happening in the midst of the coronavirus—so get in touch with your real estate agent and start looking for the space you need.
So, what does that mean for you? If stay-at-home orders are making you realize you’re ready for a new space (and more space), you’re not alone—and you’re not stuck. Thanks to virtual tours and closings, home sales are still happening in the midst of the coronavirus—so get in touch with your real estate agent and start looking for the space you need.
Much of the country is practicing social distancing—and doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.
Social distancing at home can be a challenge and limit what you can do with your time. But if you’ve been thinking about putting your property on the market, this offers the perfect opportunity to get your home ready to sell.
A recent article from Redfin outlined different ways sellers can productively use this time at extended home to get their properties ready to sell, including:
The coronavirus pandemic is causing uncertainty across the nation—and for many, that includes financial uncertainty.
Luckily, there are options for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus. In a recent statement, Mark Calabria, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (which regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks) called attention to options homeowners may have if they struggle to pay their mortgage during this time of crisis.
“To meet the needs of borrowers who may be impacted by the coronavirus, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (‘The Enterprises’) reminded mortgage servicers that hardship forbearance is an option for borrowers who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payment,” Calabria said in the statement. “For borrowers that may be experiencing a hardship, I encourage you to reach out to your servicer.”
The Federal Housing Administration also chimed in to remind homeowners of their options in a written statement: “The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is reminding mortgagees of FHA’s loss mitigation program options, particularly in light of the recent reports on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As with any other event that negatively impacts a borrower’s ability to pay their monthly mortgage payment, FHA’s suite of loss mitigation options provides solutions that mortgagees should offer to distressed borrowers – including those that could be impacted by the Coronavirus – to help prevent them from going into foreclosure. These home retention options are located in FHA’s Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 Section III.A.2.”
The Takeaway:What does this mean for you? If your finances are being impacted by the coronavirus and you’re worried you won’t be able to make your mortgage payments, get in touch with your lender. There are supports in place to help guide you through this difficult time.
What does this mean for you? If your finances are being impacted by the coronavirus and you’re worried you won’t be able to make your mortgage payments, get in touch with your lender. There are supports in place to help guide you through this difficult time.
It’s a new year, and with every new year comes new design trends—including in landscaping.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals recently released their picks for the top landscaping trends of 2020. Some of the biggest trends poised to take over lawns across the US this year include:
What does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about selling your home in 2020, you want to make sure your landscaping feels timely and on-trend—and now that you know the top landscaping trends for 2020, all that’s left to do is get outside and get your yard up to par!
There's no doubt pets play an important role in our home. They wait for us to come home after a long day, they protect our property, and they are there to comfort us when things go wrong. Use these tips to ensure that you can enjoy your pet and sell your home at the same time!
Invest in a good carpet cleaner.It’s a good idea to invest in a carpet cleaner, or have your carpets cleaned professionally to ensure there are no obvious pet stains. Plus, pet odors can radiate throughout the house. A carpet cleaner will help remove those odors and embedded fur.
Keep your pet out of the house.If possible, it’s best to leave your pet with a friend, a relative, or another trusted caretaker while showing your home. If no one is available, consider putting your pet in a crate in an area where potential buyers are less likely to be—either a basement or mudroom. Put a blanket, bowl of water, and favorite toy in the crate to help your pet feel more comfortable.
Clean up the yard.Your backyard can also leave traces of your pet, so it’s important to clean up any waste and toys. Keep a toy bin by the door, and try to have your pet do their business in the same area so the cleanup will be easier. If there are any bare patches of grass, you can try to aerate and seed these spots or plant sod for a quick fix.
Put away the pictures.If you’re anything like the thousands of other pet parents out there, you probably have a handful of pictures of your pet around your home. You’d be surprised at how much potential buyers pay attention to pictures during a showing. These pictures will be a dead giveaway of your pet ownership, so it’s best not to display them while showing your home.
Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy.Even if your pet is the nicest pet in the world, having your pet around during a showing poses a handful of potential risks. Take a look at your homeowner’s policy and make sure that it covers you in the event your pet becomes aggressive with someone on your property. Aggression doesn’t have to always be malicious: even if your pet knocks somebody down due to excitement, you could still be held liable. These types of situations happen more often than you would think, so it’s better to be prepared.
There’s no reason for your animal to hinder your selling process. Use these tips to ensure that you can still enjoy your pet, and make a deal all at the same time!
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Predicting the housing market should be an Olympic event; everyone loves to
predict the ups and downs of the real estate market. As we enter 2020 consumers
are wondering if it’s a good time to buy? What can home buyers expect this year
and is it time to move?
Housing Market Trends 2020
Most analysts agree that 2020 should see a continuation of the momentum which
built in 2019. The foundation for growth is strong with low unemployment
numbers, higher household incomes and high consumer confidence.
Additionally, we are starting to see more Millennials enter the housing market
than ever before.
More and more investors are realizing the value of adding real estate to their
portfolios. Shunting the hassle of owning rental properties, many of these
investors, as well as new participants, are turning to REITs for investment
diversification. REITs that are based on hard assets provide stability as well as
liquidity, making them very popular.
The types of properties held in these funds is changing also. In addition to
commercial and large scale buildings, many funds are adding smaller homes to
their portfolio – taking advantage of the growing down-sizing trend as Baby
Boomers move to their next home.
Market Picture for Buyers
Overall, buyers should find a nice selection of homes from which to choose.
Interest rates are expected to remain reasonable and home prices should flatten
a bit with the increased inventory of homes. All-in-all, 2020 should be a
continuation of the past year with no extreme moves expected in the market.
First, make sure your new place has been thoroughly cleaned, especially if it belonged to another pet. Your animal DOES NOT want to smell anybody else in the new place. If this is impractical, put down puppy pads for both cats and dogs. Your house will look awful, but since you have not yet unpacked, it probably does anyway.
Prior to your move, do not wash animal beds or blankets. The funkier they smell, the better, in your pet’s opinion. By the way, moving the animal stuff is a great moving day task for kids.
Next, supervise. Dogs run and cats hide. A dog can easily get lost in a new, unfamiliar neighborhood. As soon as possible, preferably the day you move, take Butch out for a nice walk. Butch will take cues from you, so the more relaxed and pleasant you are, the more relaxed and pleasant Butch will be. (This is where tranquilizers come in – for both of you.)
For cats, it is a good idea to keep Fluffy in for a few days, and expect lots of hiding. Make sure you know all of the new house’s nooks and crannies and make sure they are safe for your pet to hide in – you do not want Fluffy getting stuck inside a wall or escaping from a crawl space. Make a nice bed (with water and maybe even a litterbox) inside one of the closets. If Fluffy wants to stay in there for several days, let her. If you have a multiple cat household, you may need to temporarily give up more than one closet. Hey, you are too tired to unpack anyway, right? Who and what is more important, Fluffy or your shoe collection?
It goes without saying that you will need to use the same food and water bowls for Butch and Fluffy. Put food and water down as soon as you get into the new place. Do not worry if they do not eat for a day but make sure they stay hydrated. Put them in about the same place that they were in your old place – kitchen to kitchen, laundry to laundry, etc.
Here is a favorite trick, although it has an ewww factor. On moving day, take the sheets off the bed in the old house and then put the very same sheets back on the bed in the new house. Bring your pet to bed with you. Nothing will be as comforting for your pet as being safe and warm with their human and being surrounded by familiar smells.
Keep the same routine – same daily activities at the same time, same leisure activities, at the same time – and soon Fluffy and Butch will have their comfortable routines set, too. And they will be as happy in their new home as you are.
When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, there are obvious things you notice them doing to help your house sell. Things like: hosting open houses, bringing potential buyers on home tours, and marketing your property in multiple ways to make sure it gets enough exposure.
But when it comes to adding value to your home sale, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A huge percentage of your agent’s job takes place behind-the-scenes, and they’re working around the clock to get your house sold — even when you’re not looking.
Here are 4 behind-the-scenes way your real estate agent is working to get your house sold:
When it comes to pricing your home, your agent doesn’t just pull a random number out of a hat. Your agent’s recommendation is a result of extensive market research to ensure your home is priced in a way that’s attractive to both buyers and you, the seller.
Agents pull data on comparable properties in your area (from both the MLS and any public databases) for the past 12 to 18 months. They research how each home was priced and how the price correlated to the average time the property sat on the market before coming up with a CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine the market value of your property and suggest a listing price.
All the insights gathered from your agent’s behind-the-scenes research are crucial to pricing your property correctly — and wouldn’t be possible without your agent’s hard work.
A critical part of the home selling process is providing accurate and complete information to potential buyers. But most of the information buyers want isn’t something you, as a seller, will have ready and available.
Your agent gathers all the information a potential buyer might want to know so that if and when they request it, it’s ready to go. Agents research things like the average utility usage of your property for the past 12 months, a breakdown of the home’s floor plan, and a list of all available electricity and gas vendors in the area to make it available to buyers, which saves you a ton of time and hassle.
As part of their marketing efforts, your agent likely has your property listed on both the MLS and multiple public forums in order to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible. And while the increased exposure is great for driving interest in your home, someone needs to manage all the inquiries, follow up with interested buyers, and schedule viewings.
And that person is your real estate agent.
When your agent calls you to schedule a tour, that’s just a small part of the process. Before they called you, they’ve already answered email inquiries, fielded multiple phone calls, talked to buyer’s agents, and weeded out people who aren’t serious about viewing — and potentially buying — your home.
The call you get to schedule the tour is the last step in a lengthy scheduling process — most of which your agent manages behind-the-scenes.
Now, once a qualified buyer makes an offer on your home — and you decide to accept it — your agent’s job goes into high gear. Now, that’s not to say that managing the close happens entirely behind-the-scenes; obviously, your agent is going to work with you to get the job done. There’s plenty of the closing process (from negotiating with the buyers to reviewing contracts) that you’ll get to witness up close and personal.
But there’s a lot more that goes into managing the close of your home then what you actually see from your agent.
They have to make sure the signed contracts are sent to everyone who needs a copy, including the lender, the buyer’s agent, the title company, and any involved attorneys. They have to file a status change with the MLS from “For Sale” to “Pending” and, finally, to “Sold.” They need to schedule the final walkthrough with the buyers and their agent.
Closing on your home? It’s kind of a logistical nightmare.
But luckily for you, when you work with a real estate agent, they take care of all the (many) details and logistics that need to be managed throughout the closing process, saving you immeasurable time, money, and frustration.
When you work with a real estate agent, it’s easy to see the value that they bring to the table during the process of selling your home. But what you see is just the beginning. The hours you see your agent putting in — the home tours, the open houses, the phone calls — are just a tiny fraction of the work they’re actually doing. Your agent is working around the clock to get your home sold… and the majority of that work takes place behind-the-scenes.