Should I buy or sell a home amid the COVID crisis?

Posted by Chris Perkins on Sunday, April 5th, 2020 at 12:02pm

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chris Perkins and I’m the Broker/Owner of HaliPad Real Estate Inc.  I’ve been selling real estate since 2007 and moved to Halifax with my wife, Joelle in 2018.  We founded HaliPad Real Estate Inc that same year and opened an office on Gottingen Street, we’d love to have you stop by when things return to normal.

Now, before they return to normal, what does that mean for the local real estate market and how we do business. From a market perspective, things are more active than I was expecting.  We’ve written a couple of blog posts looking at new offers written and new listings in the past three weeks.  From March 16-22nd there were 133 offers written in comparison to 117 the year before.  From March 23-29th, there were 70 offers written which is a drop of nearly 50%.  Similarly, there were 169 new listings from March 16-22nd and 105 from the 23rd to the 29th.  We’ll be posting another update on Tuesday to see if this slowing trend continues.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

Prior to the COVID crisis, the market was incredibly competitive here in Halifax.  Nearly everything that was listed with the correct value was going into multiple offers and selling for substantially more than list price. Even amid COVID, multiple offers are still occurring but at a much lower rate than before.  So if you do not have to sell your home at the moment, I would hold off for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, it is better for your own safety and that of your community to avoid having people unnecessarily walking through your home.  Secondly, the value you might be able to obtain for your home will likely be less than when things return to normal.  At that time, there will be more buyers looking which means more competition and likely a higher price.  You can certainly sell in the current environment if you need to, but if you can avoid it we suggest that you do.

For buyers, this is not a time to take advantage of people and start low balling.  It is not the time to book 20 showings to get a feel for the market.  However, if you have the immediate need for housing, you might find some benefit buying with less competition.  This is part of the reason we suggest people buy in the winter because there are less people looking than in the busy spring market.

How can I protect myself if I need to sell or buy during this crisis?

Sellers:

  •         Pre-screen buyers (Have they travelled, have they been in contact with anyone who has travelled, do the have any symptoms?)
  •         Limit the amount of people allowed in your house at one time. (three, one agent + two buyers)
  •         Leave all lights on and closet doors open.  There is no need for buyers to touch anything.  In fact, the only person who should be touching anything is the agent, and that should be limited to the front door key and handle.
  •         Pre-qualify buyers – ask about their pre-approval, if their current employment has been affected by COVID and whether they have viewed the virtual tour associated with your house.

Buyers:

  •         Do not travel in the same vehicle as your realtor and practice social distancing guidelines.
  •         Don’t touch anything!  For your own safety and that of the sellers.
  •         Review all the available multimedia prior to viewing a house in person.  Attend a FaceTime or Zoom meeting with your buyer agent to view the house virtually before seeing it in person.  You should only be seeing your top 3 choices in person.

What if I don’t need to buy or sell at the moment?

Sellers:

We can still advise you on a pricing strategy and provide advice on how to get your home ready prior to listing.  All that would be needed is a phone/video call to discuss the features of your home.  We might ask that you give us a virtual tour so we can get a feel for the space.  From there, we’ll provide you with a pricing proposal and offer some tips about how to get your home ready. That might mean things like painting, de-cluttering or de-personalizing to turn it from your home, into a showhome.

Buyers:

You do not have to be actively looking at homes in person to get prepared to purchase.  We set our clients up on what’s called a collaboration centre.  This tool will automatically notify you of new listings that match your criteria, as soon as they hit the market.  You can also set up your own searches and it’s the same system that we use. 

Use this time to get pre-approved.  If you get your ducks in a row now, you will be ready to jump on an opportunity when the time is right and after social distancing restrictions are lifted.

Things are uncertain, but they are not permanent

This is an uncertain time for all of us.  We need to support one another as best we can until we get through this.  Our team at HaliPad are available to discuss all of your questions and our advice is free.  You can call us, email us or comment on this blog post.  Remember real estate is as much about planning your next move as it is about making it.  At HaliPad, It’s Your Move, we’ll make sure you are ready no matter what comes next. 

Contact us for all your real estate needs. 

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