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How to Buy or Sell a House During the Coronavirus

May 04

As we all adjust to our new normal with people working from home, children being homeschooled, and a shelter in place order being enforced in most states, the real estate market has also adjusted to a new home selling reality.

Although the Coronavirus has ground most economic activity to a halt, it has not entirely stopped all facets of life.  Within the last week, I have seen one family moving into our subdivision, while another family moved out.  Life still needs to proceed forward.

I wanted to know more about how people are buying and selling houses within this new reality.  I spoke with local Metro Detroit real estate expert Jillian Moutafis to understand what the new normal in the world of real estate has evolved into.

“People that had already sold their home or were in the process of doing so when COVID hit, have been relocated, or those that have leases ending, they all need a home,” Jillian emphasized to me.  “Young adults that have been in their parent’s home for six weeks straight, they are ready for their own home!”

Like so many of us parents who have experienced first hand the impact of technology trying to homeschool our kids, technology has transformed the buying and selling process within the real state industry.  Jillian stated that over the past six weeks, “homes were listed as usual, virtual showings replaced in-person ones, and documents/closing papers were signed electronically from the comfort of your own home.  Inspectors were deemed as essential workers, so inspections continue as usual, with a few extra precautions put into place.”

Beginning May 7th in the state of MI, in-person showings can start again with a maximum of four people present during a showing.  However, people may still choose to go the virtual route, especially if they are relocating from out of state.

Jillian went on to provide me with the following reasons why now may be a good time to sell your existing home or buy a new home.

Why would you want to sell now?

  1. Little to no competition. Many sellers have taken their homes off the market to wait out these times, while many buyers continue to actively look. People that have a lease coming to an end, sold their home before this pandemic hit, or have been transferred to Michigan all need a home. This also means buyers may be more inclined to pay the price you are asking.
  2. Stay ahead of the competition. Putting your home on the market now means that you are ahead of the competition when the stay at home order lifts.  Potential buyers will see your home first while others delayed in putting their homes on the market.
  3. Closings don’t have to be immediate. You can accept an offer contingent upon you finding a new home.

Why would now be a good time to buy?

  1. Interest rates remain low. In working with families who aren’t in the market to buy or sell their home, now may be an excellent opportunity to refinance your existing home.  Several families who I work with have been able to reduce both the monthly principal and interest payment along with their mortgage duration (length of their mortgage).  A 15-year fixed may be a better alternative than a 30-year fixed depending upon your wealth management plan.
  2. Home prices may not be affected. Contrary to what the general public may be thinking, most experts agree that this crisis will not affect home values. That means waiting is not likely going to get you a better deal; it could actually do the opposite when demand ramps back up.
  3. Motivated sellers. Sellers may be more willing to negotiate on pricing, timing, and even contingencies.

Jillian indicated that with a few small adjustments, any experienced real estate agent could seamlessly guide you through the process of buying or selling.  To learn more about how Jillian could help you, she can be reached at (248) 568-2396 or via email at JillianMoutafis@realestateone.com.  For questions on wealth planning, portfolio management, or tax planning, you can call me directly at (248) 860-2279, email at pfenner@tammacapital.com, or visit our site www.tammacapital.com.