Home Buying Trends Emerging from COVID-19

How COVID-19 is Affecting Buying Trends

Coronavirus has made many of us rethink what is important to us…and our homes are no exception. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the top feature desired by buyers is now a home office (or even more than one). 22% of buyers are less concerned about their commute, which means homes in affordable areas outside the city are now in high demand.  Some buyers are considering second homes in rural areas. Outdoor space is also trending with more buyers wanting a yard for veggies and exercise. Here are some insights from a recent nationwide survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)…

This chart shows which features are more important to buyers due to COVID-19, based on a recent survey of buyer's agents.

 

We’re also seeing the family unit become more important. While smaller urban homes were once in top demand, we’re now seeing a boost in multi-generational living with buyers seeking larger suburban homes that have space for everyone. Additionally, recent surveys show that more buyers—especially young buyers in their twenties—are moving to live closer to family and friends.

 

Another big trend? Pets! We’re seeing a surge in households that want a pet, and a 2020 NAR survey revealed that 43% of households say they’d be willing to move to accommodate their pet.  This is another reason yards and even acreage are now trending among buyers.  Pet fever could potentially lessen the demand for condos with strict pet policies—in the same survey, 68% of REALTORS® said that community animal policies influenced their clients’ decision to rent/buy in a particular community.

 


 

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

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We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

Source: REALTOR Magazine, National Association of REALTORS.
© Copyright 2020, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island.


Posted on August 31, 2020 at 3:48 pm
Jennifer Craven | Posted in COVID-19, Trends | Tagged , , , , ,

How to Buy and Sell Safely in the New Normal

 

While buying and selling real estate was recently deemed essential in Washington State, the landscape looks very different than it did before the COVID-19 outbreak. Real estate offices remain closed to the public with agents working remotely and hosting virtual client meetings.  Important safety regulations prohibit in-person open houses and limit the number of people who can tour a home or attend an inspection. Social distancing will remain at the forefront as we wait for a vaccine or treatment to become widely available.

So how do you buy or sell a home safely in this new environment? Thanks to modern technology, there is a lot we can do to help you through the process while minimizing the risk to you and the community. Here are some tips for buyers and sellers on how to do it right…

 



 

TIPS FOR BUYERS

  • Do your homework before you tour a home in person.  Take a virtual online tour, research the neighborhood and ask your agent to delve into the property and title history.  If a virtual tour isn’t available, your agent can give you a preview via FaceTime or Skype while walking through the home.
  • Get pre-qualified.  Knowing your exact budget in advance will help you save time and avoid any non-essential showings.
  • Schedule a 1-hour showing window.  When you think you’ve found “the one” and are ready to tour it in-person, have your agent book a full hour so that you are less likely to run into other buyers.  This will also allow time for each person to see the home since there is currently a limit of just 2 people in the home at once, including the agent.
  • Meet your agent at the home.  Instead of carpooling, drive separately and then wait in your car until your agent confirms that the home is empty and ready to tour.  Condos may have special rules for showings and you’ll also want to take separate elevator trips if you’re touring a high-rise.
  • Play it safe during the tour.  Wear a mask, wash/sanitize your hands when you enter and leave, limit touching of surfaces, and maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from your agent at all times.  Assume you might be recorded by the homeowner and observed by neighbors.
  • Meet virtually with your agent.  When it’s time to write an offer, your agent can use any number of video conferencing apps to share documents with you and discuss them in real time.  You can then sign and authenticate all contracts electronically via a secure service such as Authentisign.
  • Don’t skip a professional home inspection.  Due to the difficulties around seeing the home in person, it is more important than ever to make sure you know of any underlying issues it may have.  The 2-person rule still applies at inspections so your agent will likely request the seller’s permission for you to be in the home alone with the inspector while the agent waits in the car.  You’ll also need to make sure you and your inspector comply with all social distancing and safety rules.



 

TIPS FOR SELLERS

  • Give your listing agent a virtual tour.  Rather than meeting in person, utilize an app like FaceTime or Skype to virtually walk your agent through your home using your smart phone.  Hold meetings virtually whenever possible and sign documents electronically through a secure service such as Authentisign.
  • Move out first if at all possible.  This makes it practical for buyers to comfortably view your home while following the current 2-person limit for home occupancy during showings.  It also protects you from any potential exposure—especially important if you are in at at-risk age group and/or have health problems.
  • Time the market with expert advice.  Talk to an agent you can trust who follows the ins and outs of regulations from the Governor’s office and also has access to showing data and activity reports that can help you determine the best time to sell.
  • Look your best online.  Make sure your agent will coordinate truly stellar home preparation, staging and photography. Consider having a professional video tour and interactive floor plans as well.
  • Have your agent hold a virtual open house. Live-streaming a virtual tour from inside the home is a great way for your agent to reach buyers and answer their questions in real time.  Virtual open houses are also now promoted on virtually all home search websites and apps.
  • Prepare diligently for in-person showings.  Be sure that you or your agent provides hand sanitizer, single-use booties and masks along with a sign detailing the safety guidelines you would like visitors to follow while in your home.  Open interior doors and turn on lights ahead of time to minimize touching.  Disinfect high-use surfaces after each showing.

 


 

Find a Home with Windermere Real Estate

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446

mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2020, Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island


Posted on May 1, 2020 at 2:40 pm
Jennifer Craven | Posted in Buyer Tips, COVID-19, Seller Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Economic Insights from Matthew Gardner

How will the coronavirus impact the housing market?

 

Concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic might affect your home value or ability to move in the future?  As we all hunker down through these challenging times, a voice of insight and reason has been our Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.  He is expecting a sharp economic slowdown accompanied by a 15-20% reduction in the number of homes sold in 2020—BUT he also believes the housing market will bounce back once we find our new normal.

Click here to watch his latest videos, or scroll down for some key takeaways…

 

 


 

The US economy will contract sharply but should perk up by Q4. 

We’re in for a rough few quarters as the economy enters a recession.  Just how rough—and how long—is still under debate.  What economists do agree on is that the 4th quarter is looking remarkably positive…assuming we get through the COVID-19 crisis and the economy can resume somewhat normal activity before the fall.

 

 


Housing prices will likely remain stable. 

Seattle home prices should remain steady—or even rise slowly as we come out of the recession—for a few reasons:

  1. DIVERSE INDUSTRIES IN OUR AREA which allow us to better weather the economic storm.
  2. SOLID FINANCIAL FOOTING as one third of local home owners have 50% or greater equity in their homes.
  3. STRONG DEMAND with more buyers than homes available, as well as rock-bottom interest rates.

 

 


This will be different than 2008…

We’re experiencing a health crisis—not a housing crisis caused by systemic lending problems like we saw in the Great Recession.

  1. WE’LL SEE A PAUSE, NOT A COLLAPSE. Unlike last time, the housing market was strong going into this crisis and should rebound quickly. Why? Because this recession will be due to specific external factors rather than any fundamental problem with the housing market.
  2. FORECLOSURES WILL BE FEWER with most lenders offering relief to homeowners in distress due to temporary employment issues. Unlike 2008’s mortgage crisis caused by lax lending standards and low down payments, today’s home owners are better qualified and have more equity in their homes.

 

 


 

Find a Home with Windermere Real Estate

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446

mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2020, Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island


Posted on April 6, 2020 at 11:33 am
Jennifer Craven | Posted in COVID-19, Market Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

COVID-19 Resources

A Healthy Distance: Resources to Stay Sane While You Stay Home

 

Make Working From Home Work for You…


 

Kids at Home?


 

Bring Your Favorite Restaurants Home


 

Feeling Vulnerable? 

Here Are Stores Offering Special Hours for Seniors and the Immunocompromised…

  • Albertsons: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 a.m.
  • Costco: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-9 a.m. (must have a membership)
  • Fred Meyer: Monday through Thursday from 7-8 a.m.
  • Metropolitan Market: Daily from 7-8 a.m.
  • PCC: Daily from 7-8 a.m.
  • QFC: Monday through Thursday from 7-9 a.m.
  • Red Apple: Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9 a.m.
  • Rite Aid: Mondays from 8-10 a.m.
  • Safeway: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 a.m.
  • Target: The first hour of Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Check Target’s website for specific opening hours at locations throughout the Greater Seattle area.
  • Thiftway: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 a.m.
  • Town & Country Markets: Monday and Wednesday, 7-9 a.m.
  • Trader Joe’s: Daily from 9-10 a.m.
  • Uwajimaya: Daily, 8-9 a.m. in Seattle; all other locations on Tuesdays from 8-9 a.m.
  • Walgreens: Tuesdays from 8-9 a.m.
  • Walmart: Tuesdays from 6-7 a.m.
  • Whole Foods: Daily, one hour before the store opens to the public. Check Whole Foods’ website for specific opening hours at locations throughout the Greater Seattle area.


 

More Resources…

 


 

Find a Home with Windermere Real Estate

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446

mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2020, Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island


Posted on March 27, 2020 at 4:31 pm
Jennifer Craven | Posted in COVID-19 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coronavirus and what we are doing to help keep our community safe

A Note on COVID-19 and what we're doing about it...

 

Updated March 23, 2020

On March 23, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for a period of at least two weeks. As a part of this order, all “non-essential critical infrastructure” businesses have been forced to close, including real estate brokerages. But that doesn’t mean we’re closed for business.

Windermere brokers are being innovative and adapting so they can continue to help their clients move their lives forward. During a time when social distancing is mandated, we stand firm in our culture and belief that connecting people to their dreams is what real estate is all about.

 

DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING

❱ Real estate brokers may: Provide services to their clients remotely from their house using technology services that
enable remote business, including online forms, electronic signatures, virtual tours and property videos, and mobile
applications to allow brokers to continue to facilitate real estate transactions. We can also just be a friendly ear if you need it.

❱ Real estate brokers may not: Conduct any business outside of their home, including physically showing or previewing properties, conducting in-person listing presentations, taking property photos, staging homes, etc.

 

UNDER CONTRACT?

First and foremost, talk to your real estate broker. Certain “Financial Services Sector” businesses have been deemed essential, including those needed for processing financing transactions and services, such as mortgage lenders, escrow, and title insurers. Because of this, real estate transactions that are under contract are expected to be able to proceed to closing. In partnership with the Washington REALTORS®, we are working closely with Governor Inslee’s office to continue to have clarity on this process and keep the industry moving forward during the next two weeks and beyond.

 

We’re all in this together.

Despite the challenges we’re facing, homes will continue to be bought and sold thanks in part to the abundance of technology out there that allows us to stay connected and transact real estate. It’s also thanks to our brokers who are more focused than ever on taking care of their clients and helping them achieve their real estate goals with outstanding professionalism, attention to detail, and an over-commitment to service.

We recognize that the coming weeks are going to be challenging for real estate buyers, sellers, and brokers. But please know the entire Windermere family is here to support you for however long the COVID-19 pandemic lasts, and beyond.

All in, for you.

 


Published March 13, 2020

As our community adapts to a new normal amid the human impact caused by Coronavirus in our region, we believe in our responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of our customers, brokers, administrative team, vendors and the public.

Our business is a people business, and as such, it poses risks and responsibilities that implore us to step up and do the right thing for all concerned. We know many residents in our region continue to have a need to buy or sell real estate and we want to let you know what we are doing to create a safer experience in that process.

We have encouraged our brokers to follow the guidelines developed by Seattle & King County Public Health and by The National Association of REALTORS® for those who work in the real estate industry. This is especially important in our local region given the extent of our potential exposure to the virus and its implication to so many vulnerable individuals in our region.

We’ve asked anyone on our team who is feeling ill (for any reason), or has been exposed to someone who is sick, not to come into the office or meet with the public and to observe the recommended quarantine timelines before returning to normal activities.

 

Client Meetings, Property Tours and Open Houses

We’ve limited open houses and encouraged private tours, FaceTime tours, and professionally produced video tours when-ever possible. When we do hold an open house, we follow the below newly established protocol:

  • Clean and disinfect touchpoints prior to the open house
  • Have sanitizer and ask guests to use it or wash their hands
  • Not offer food or drinks
  • Limit the number of people in the house at a given time
  • Practice social distancing
  • Clean and disinfect touchpoints following the open house

We are holding more and more client meetings remotely, utilizing available technology to discuss real estate needs, strategy, and ideas. We are observing social distancing in our interactions (as hard as that is in our profession). When we arrange private showings, we’ll likely ask you to drive separately rather than carpool. Please don’t be offended. It protects you as much as it does us.

 

Workplace Interaction

We’ve moved office meetings and classes to an online interactive platform and asked our broker team, who interact with many people on a daily basis, to work as remotely as possible (coming into the office for essential tasks only). This has allowed our admin support team to continue their operations so that our brokers and their clients are fully supported during this time.

We are fortunate in our industry; we have the luxury of being able to conduct our business from anywhere on nearly any device. We are utilizing our options to help us work though this time with the intention that our commitment to good stewardship in our community will help us get through this more expediently.

To ensure the safety of visitors to our office, we follow the below protocol:

  • Practice the recommended social distancing of 6’ from others
  • Perform daily janitorial service cleaning and disinfecting of touchpoints with hospital grade cleaner
  • Utilize sanitizer or wipes to clean touch points on computers, equipment and appliances before and after using
  • Not offer food or drinks
  • Limit the number of people in the office as much as possible

Need to deliver or pick up keys or documents? Simply call 206-232-0446 when you pull up and we’ll gladly run them out to you or retrieve them from you. 

 

Our highest priority is the health and safety of our team, our clients and the public.

We are pro-actively looking for solutions and the sooner we get through this, the better we, our community, and our economy will be. We need to work together to ensure that happens.

We appreciate your concerns and welcome any questions or comments you may have.

 


 

Find a Home with Windermere Real Estate

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446

mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2020, Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island


Posted on March 13, 2020 at 8:58 am
Julie Barrows | Posted in COVID-19 |