Covid 19 Concerns Are Real
Concerns over the spread of Covid 19 have quickly changed how we conduct real estate sales in over the past few weeks. Shelter in place, social distancing, travel constraints, economic concerns, social changes, and just an overall fear of catching the coronavirus has really impacted human behavior. As a result, we are seeing two distinctly different groups here at Bend Premier Real Estate when it comes to real estate transactions.
Get me out!
The first group was the first to emerge as soon as the panic set in. With predictions of massive layoffs and record unemployment, we started to hear concerns of potential job loses and uncertainty which resulted in people needing to pull out of existing deals. Similarly, existing loans for some started to fall apart due to the loss of jobs or of assets in the stock market. And we also saw a good amount of panic from people who just wanted out, even if it meant losing their earnest money deposit. Some believed as in the 2007-2008 recession, home prices would take a big hit. Others worried just because of overall uncertainty fueled by “armageddon-like" news reports on the major networks.
This will pass
The other group had a more long-term mentality and, much like the stock market rebound, took the attitude of “this too shall pass.” With super low interest rates, we see some movement of people selling their existing homes in Bend but either upgrading or using the equity and lower payments to get into a better financial position. With additional price reductions for those needing to sell in the midst of this pandemic, we have seen renters now looking to buy… again coupled with low interest rates which put them in a better qualifying position. And we have one listing coming on board where the homeowners did not plan to sell until June, but because of the shortage of homes in their price range due to people pulling their homes off the market temporarily, they believe this is a great selling opportunity.
A new concern
With President Trump extending the social distancing guidelines until the end of April, there is some additional stress on home sellers hoping for an early end to this crises. This is resulting in additional price reductions in our market, and we are starting to hear a term not common in recent times… "motivated seller." Not long ago we were dealing with multiple offer scenarios, and properties being sold regularly before they even hit the market. Our concerns were more about appraisers inability to keep up with the rising prices people were willing to pay for homes in a heated marketplace. This seller's market has now switched to more of a buyer's market, at least for the time being. But as this is the first time we have had a recession caused by a disease, it is yet to be seen when we will be back to a shortage of homes vs demand from buyers once again.
A new way of doing business
The biggest change over the past couple of weeks has been a shift to doing business virtually. Fortunately our real estate agents are able to work virtually as we switched to being a cloud based brokerage years ago. But we are also seeing a major shift of home showings going virtual. For our office virtual showings are not new, as we already have two Matterport 3D cameras in use and offer 3D Virtual Tours on most of our listings. But we are now seeing a pickup in other forms of virtual showings such as a virtual video walk-through on listings posted by other brokerages in our local MLS.
Agents are stepping up
With a lot of legitimate fears in our society, we are seeing brokers stepping up to help out. First, our Bend Premier agents are making sure to follow the guidelines set forth by both the state and federal government and the Oregon Association of Realtors. Our office has switched to Go To Meeting as a format for our office meetings and training sessions. And we are encouraged to see our real estate agents reaching out to their client base in these troubling times. What we do know is this - we’re all in this together. And we will get through this!
Original blog can be read at @Bend Premier Real Estate's blog.