Buyer TipsCOVID-19Seller TipsTrends May 1, 2020

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

COVID-19Market Reports April 6, 2020

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

Seller Tips February 28, 2020

The Right Timing Can Bring You Thousands More When You Sell

Timing the Market to Get More for Your Home

 

Ever notice how one home on your street sells well above asking price with a line of buyers out the door and an identical home comes on a month later and sits on the market for two weeks before finally selling at a reduced price?  Every. Day. Counts.

It’s not always about the house. It’s also about timing the market well. In a world where potential buyers know how long you’ve been on the market down to the minute, being on the market a nanosecond longer than expected can be painful for any seller, financially and otherwise. Statistically, at mainstream price points, prices seem to peak around Day 7 and begin to slide downhill after Day 10.

 

How to time the market in a nutshell.

Avoid coming to market during major holiday weeks. Potential buyers take vacation too—and the fewer buyers out there looking in those precious early days, the lower the likelihood you’ll sell in the first 10 days. Look to come on the market a few days after typical vacations are over to allow buyers to re-engage in the search process. Avoid coming to market when a similar house in your neighborhood has just listed and not yet sold.

The laws of supply and demand would dictate that when supply appears abundant, demand diminishes—and the days tick on by. Even if you are by far the better house and at a better price, you might still be hurt by the curiosity around why everyone is selling now.

Avoid coming to market during bad weather or local events. Like coming on market right smack in the middle of graduation week, listing when everyone’s attention is on something other than home shopping is likely to miss the mark big time. Even if you were all set to list on a particular date, it might be better to take a deep breath and wait until the storm passes.

Do come to market when you notice an absence of great listings for sale in your price range and neighborhood. Buyers will likely feel that void too and be chomping at the bit for the next great home to come along. The chances of a perfect match between a solid buyer and a reasonable seller are best in this zone.

This is especially true if your home has challenges (outdated design, deferred maintenance, busy street, steep slope, etc.) that would make it difficult to compete with other homes out there. On the flip side of that coin, if your home is exceptional, you want to be on the market during peak season when buyers can size up your home to the competition and appreciate how much better your home is. Buyers will pay handsomely for turnkey quality when they can clearly see the difference. Come on when there is nothing else to compare to and your beautiful amenities might not see their full value potential.

The best days to come to market are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. This allows for showings and open houses on evenings and throughout the weekend. If you are doing an offer review date, the best day to review offers is Monday or Tuesday. This gives buyers ample time to see your home, conduct their due diligence, complete a home inspection and sewer scope, and get their financial documentation together—all before they prepare an offer.

Final thoughts.

Look at the holiday calendar and local school district calendars to guide you toward best weeks to come to market. Don’t forget to check in big political and sporting event dates too.

Decide whether your home will shine against the competition, or be the wallflower, and adjust your timing based on real-time competition.

Of course, an outstanding listing broker can help you choose the most favorable date to bring your home to market. They analyze the market consistently and know exactly what indicators to look for. Still have questions? Contact one of our knowledgeable brokers for assistance with determining the best market timing for your home.

 


 

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