The Coronavirus has impacted residential real estate sales in interesting ways

A few months ago, I started hearing little anecdotes about a virus that originated in China. I’m usually skeptical of any real estate news I see.  I didn’t think much of it, and there were no confirmed cases in the United States.  In my corner of the real estate market, things were going really well.  I had a lot of buyers and sellers for the time of the year, and while everyone always asks me how the market is doing, I told them things were good. 

About a month and a half later, St. Louis City and County issued stay at home orders, and it was pretty obvious that we weren’t prepared to be selling houses.  When the general public is afraid of death, that usually is an indication that there aren’t going to be a lot of people gawking at homes.  I told my sellers that were getting ready to list to hold off until the public and the financial institutions could “catch up” with the new reality.

Even now, I’m not sure we as a government or citizenry have this coronavirus figured out.  There are sneeze guards in place at some stores, there aren’t at other stores.  We were told that masks were ineffective and potentially dangerous, but now masks are good.  I do sense that the tide is turning.  That is, more and more people want to go back to work, and there is a quiet confidence that if proper precautions are in place, the nation can start to recover from what has been a tremendous economic collapse.

One of the more disgusting things I’ve seen as a broker is agents who market their services to play on people’s fears.  Though it is effective, it isn’t something that we will do at Deerwood Realty.  “Sell your house because the world is going to end!” “Sell your house because you will lose a ton of money in the guaranteed recession!”.  These sales tactics give us all in real estate a bad name.  Honestly, if a real estate agent understood world economics with such precision as to predict the results of feared global pandemics, they should probably start buying and selling stocks.

As the general public sees these sales tactics, ask one or two questions of these unscrupulous panic mongers.  If I should sell my house because everything is going to collapse, will you be selling yours?  Conversely, “will you be buying houses now at huge discounts because it’s such a tremendous opportunity?”  If they give you any other answer than “yes” on either of those two questions, you should be skeptical. 

Our approach at Deerwood Realty is much different than those of the fear mongers.  We work with people who want to sell their home.  That’s the main point.  Sellers should feel comfortable selling their homes when they’ve decided it’s time.  If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t sell your home. 

In the residential real estate market, we’ve begun to make the changes necessary to have a functioning seller market.  Here are some of the changes that have been made in St. Louis City and County.

  • No more open houses crammed with people
  • Wearing masks and gloves during showings
  • The institution of a new contract rider for coronavirus
  • Title service is now done as a drive up service.

There are certainly other precautions that will come over time.  I don’t expect things to be perfect, but currently houses are still selling at prices that have been pretty stable since the outbreak. 

It’s downright strange to meet with clients and not shake hands, wear a mask and observe proper social distancing at all times.  We’re all in this together.  I have some sellers who are afraid to let buyers, appraisers, and home inspectors into their homes.  They should probably wait to sell their home until they are comfortable.  I have other sellers who can’t wait to get their home listed and sold.  Whatever my sellers choose, I fully understand where they are coming from and I’m not about to pressure them one way or another. 

Friends, don’t sell your home because of a pandemic.  Don’t sell your home because your neighbor is panicking.  Look at all the data you have in front of you and make a decision that you are most comfortable with.  If you think the time to sell is now, then by all means, sell your house.  The only person who knows what is truly best for you is…