Many industries have been forced to more or less stop in their tracks by this Coronavirus pandemic, but, contrary to what some believe, Real Estate is not one of them. Buying and selling homes during quarantine is incredibly doable – in fact, as I have outlined in some of my more recent posts, it’s pretty ideal if you want to get a great deal on a fixed mortgage rate!
Now, if you read the post I just linked, it does mention that it is a buyer’s market right now, and that sellers are scarce – but if you wanted to move before, you should NOT let that stop you, for two specific reasons:
- Seller scarcity means that, though it is a buyer’s market, you will still be able to get a great price on your home, because as one of very few options, you’ll likely have several different potential buyers bidding on your house.
- You can take advantage of those great mortgage rates the same way everyone else does when you purchase your next home – and there is definitely more money to be made there than there would be in waiting to sell.
It’s true, it’s a different game now and buyers, sellers, and realtors alike needed time to adjust – but at this point, about two months in, many of us Realtors have figured things out. As a matter of fact, most of us have been through something similar (actually, speaking solely of the Real Estate industry, far worse) in our lifetimes.
The 2008 financial crisis caused many of the same issues of uncertainty in the Real Estate market, and we figured out a way to sell through that. Applying some of the same principles to buying and selling during quarantine makes all of this seem much, much easier. One of those principles, as North Carolina Realtor Debe Maxwell explained on her blog, is over-communication with everyone involved.
How We’re Selling Homes During Quarantine
Some Wisdom from NC Realtor Debe Maxwell
Channeling my short sale days, pivoting with one simple plan was the key to successful closings for me last month. Over-communication became my mantra the minute we got wind that we may be entering a period of quarantine.
I remember the days of short sales well – as though they were just yesterday! No, this is certainly not the same market as during the great recession but, one commonality remains critical – good communication is key to getting to the closing table.
I remember letting the agents on the other side know, WEEKLY, how the process was going after phoning the bank and my sellers. One secret that I learned – and found most challenging – was communicating the status to the other agents’ clients – THE BUYERS. While I could relay all information to the other agent, it wasn’t always getting to the buyers. The excitement, anticipation and even the hope that someone was working towards the final purchase of their new home was lost without any updates.
Having been on the other side of a transaction with the buyers as my clients and not receiving reports from the seller side, I knew the only way to keep those deals together was to over-communicate! As a result, my retention rate was unusually high – I got my short sale clients to the closing table.
- Cash buyers panicking – they wanted to hold onto their cash and forego the home purchase ‘for now.’
- Lender/investor changes – more restrictive qualifications or no longer carrying certain products.
- Employment verification delays due to limited corporate HR staff during quarantine.
- Job loss – no longer qualifying for loan products that were previously underway.
- Personal Issues – One buyer had their own issues and the seller was ever-so patient allowing her to push out closing to accommodate her.
How were these issues managed?
- Cash buyers were given a little more time to complete loan applications to use mortgage loans in lieu of cash purchases.
- Lenders pivoted well to handle the more restrictive qualifications, offering different loans/products for challenging buyers.
- I had my buyers secure the HR contact information (name, email and phone) to ascertain that when the lender reached out, there would be no delay.
- Job loss – we had one that did have a job ‘change’ (with less income due to COVID-19 lay-offs) and their spouse was added to the loan to make up the difference.
- We also had one that the credit restrictions were painfully limiting and a family member allowed one of the borrowers to be added to a credit card as a co-signer. That took a little additional time but, the buyers ultimately Closed – albeit late!
We were reviewing our clients sales & purchases this week, since the quarantine began and realized that 9 of 9 pre-quarantine sales have Closed – one late due to lending, another late due to buyer issues…but, they ALL were successful!
This was a lesson to us all about how communication MATTERS – communication can be the difference between success & failure.
If you need to sell your home during this time of crisis, or wanted to sell it before but have since had second thoughts, please give me a call or send me an email. I will do whatever I can to make sure your home gets sold, and I too have been incredibly successful with closings thus far! No matter what the circumstances or what hoops I need to jump through, I have had no issues selling homes during quarantine – and yours could be next!