By Judy Boyle
In my April 24 article “What If You Absolutely Must Buy or Sell during the Coronavirus Outbreak?” I predicted the Spring Market would be here – it would just be a little delayed. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, seems to agree: “In the coming months, buying activity will rise as states reopen and more consumers feel comfortable about homebuying in the midst of the social distancing measures.”
Furthermore, as 21 states are reporting a spike in new coronavirus cases, the stock market numbers are volatile. Even with the Federal Reserve’s announcement on June 15 that it would begin buying corporate bonds, investors are pulling their money out of the stock market and looking to invest in real estate. For those that need to finance a purchase, mortgage rates are at historic lows. Since real estate yields the highest return on investment and borrowing money is cheap, the buyer frenzy is on. Alas, the first ever “Summer Market” is upon us.
Unfortunately, as Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com shares, “Sellers have yet to come back in full force, limiting the availability of homes for sale. Total active listings are declining from a year ago at a faster rate than observed in previous weeks, and this trend could worsen as buyers regain confidence and come back to the market before sellers.”
So what are real estate agents doing to contend with this imbalance of low inventory versus high demand during a pandemic? It all starts with rebuilding consumer confidence by implementing and adhering to the most stringent protocols and procedures to minimize the risk of infection and liability.
The most elite agents spent the two months of home quarantine investing in technology that allows us to perform a portion of our jobs remotely and to streamline the showing process. We collaborated with attorneys to develop waivers and disclosures that attempt to protect and indemnify home sellers, home buyers, real estate agents themselves, and all the collaterals involved in the homebuying process. We stocked our vehicles with gloves, masks, booties, hand sanitizer and antibacterial spray.
Still, the most elite agents went back to Real Estate 101 and brushed up on how to read and interpret a preapproval letter. We then commit to verify that every preapproval will do what it says it’s going to do. For example, some banks don’t verify employment, income and assets before issuing a preapproval. Others fail to mention that the borrower has to sell a home to buy another. Some preapprovals don’t expire for six months after issuance….how is this helpful if the borrower is on furlough or was laid off as a result of the pandemic? That one piece of paper is possibly the most vital document in the homebuying process.
So if you are thinking of selling your home this summer, you would be making a very wise decision as long as you affiliate with an agent that has your best interests and safety top of mind. If you are a ready, willing and able homebuyer, please don’t be annoyed when the listing agent asks you to sign a COVID-19 waiver and supply a copy of a current preapproval. Embrace it and be grateful that you are healthy and well-qualified to buy your dream home.
Judy Boyle, Realtor®
Proudly serving the Borough’s and Beyond with honesty and integrity since 2003