Should I Sell My House Now? The Essential Guide To Selling in the Age of Coronavirus
By Erica Sweeney | Apr 13, 2020 - Picture: Getty Images; realtor.com
Why your home's listing online matters more than ever
While certain hard-hit areas (such as New York City) have forbidden in-person home showings, this doesn't mean all is lost, thanks to the increased use of virtual home tours using tools such as Facebook Live, Immoviewer, Matterport, Kleard, and others. While virtual tours and showings are a great way to keep home sellers and buyers safe, this new reality has also raised the bar on how homes should be presented and marketed online.
In other words: A few nice photos of your home may not cut it during this period.
“You only get one chance at a first impression, so you don’t want to be using poorly shot and lit iPhone photos and videos," says Ressie Krabacher, a residential broker with the Chicago Home Partner team of At Properties.
So make sure the real estate agent you hire is well versed in digital technologies that will be used to show off your home in the best light. (We'll dive into this topic in more depth in a later installment.)
Coronavirus' impact on the housing market and buyer behavior
While your local real estate market could dictate whether this spring is still a good time to list your home, housing inventory is low nationwide. According to realtor.com®’s March Housing Trends Report, there were 15.7% fewer homes for sale this March compared with a year ago.
Low inventory spells good news for sellers, since there are fewer homes for buyers to choose from. Plus, prices are up, too, with the national median listing prices 3.8% higher than a year earlier, at $320,000.
That said, most of the home sales that closed in March were likely agreed to in February or even earlier, points out realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. April and beyond may be a different story.
“Our inventory and listing data can provide some early insight into how housing markets may be impacted by COVID-19, but the situation and reactions to it are still rapidly evolving,”
Hale says. "I expect a slightly higher number of contracts to fall apart, either because mortgage market volatility or, in some cases, job or income loss prevents buyers from getting the mortgage they expected."
Mortgage interest rates remain low, enticing buyers, but uncertainty in the economy and layoffs have led some potential buyers to hold off on a home purchase.
“That doesn’t mean all transactions are going to stop, but everyone is taking a second look at if buying right now is the best decision,” says Noah Brinker, a real estate investor and owner of Cash Homes NWA in Northwest Arkansas.
While home prices remain fairly steady right now, if economic conditions worsen, more buyers might give up and home prices could drop. So, if your home is ready to list right now, you might want to strike while the iron is still (somewhat) hot.
“With uncertainty at a peak, it seems to me that if the market is going to teeter one way, it would be down at least temporarily,” Kruse says. “So why wait to sell when prices are possibly going to go down?”