Does The Real Estate Market Know There is a Pandemic?

For a few weeks real estate practitioners in the golden state were considered to be non-essential workers. The professional organization lobbied the leadership of the state and soon agents were deemed essential workers and could resume work that required interacting with others, using “best practices” to protect everyone.

Today, homes can be listed and shown with special considerations made to accommodate the particular needs and desires of the parties.

Are buyers getting bargains due to fear of contaminated properties? You would think that might happen, but actually, not so much. Some sellers have removed their homes from the market temporarily by placing them on hold, not wanting to have people visit. The net effect of this has been to reduce the available inventory so that well priced, attractive homes sell very quickly and sometimes sellers entertain multiple offers.

Some “flexibility” in prices has been seen in the ultra luxury market where homes are traded among celebrities and a select few, but that is not uncommon in that segment, depending upon the location of the properties and the whims of the parties.

Interest rates are, yet again, at historical lows so people can buy more home or enjoy smaller loan payments. That is if they still have a job. Many found themselves in the process of buying a home when the pandemic struck. Without the lender being able to verify employment and income, loans cannot be funded.

The parties are left with each other to decide their fates and can choose to extend their escrows or cancel. With lightening fast speed, the California Association of Realtors developed contract addendums to facilitate this unusual situation.

While open houses are verboten until further notice, with proper precautions and a signed release, buyers can view homes. Some sellers are requiring evidence of down payment and of pre-approval to enter a property. Virtual tours have become de rigueur and never more appreciated.

Investing in real estate has always been a wild ride considering the ups and downs of the market. And the adventure continues…

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