How are you doing? It’s been a couple of months since I last wrote, and oh my, what a different world we are living in today.
These are unprecedented times, no matter which way you choose to look at it. A humbling perspective that opens our eyes to forces so much greater than all of us in play. Mother nature flexing her muscles – after years of our disregard – to show us who is actually boss. A tiny virus with the ability to completely disrupt our lives, economies and carefully laid plans. And on and on …
Essential workers are busier than ever – our new super-heroes, who go to battle for the rest of us each day, literally putting their lives on the line. A big thank-you to you and yours, who are in this group.
For so many others, this has been a time to literally pause, reflect and reset. A time to think of our loved ones and our friends, the disparities among us, plus health and well-being – physical and mental. I trust we will take this as a time to reboot and recalibrate – and come out of it a little wiser and a lot more prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Moving on to my industry update …
I know many of you, both sellers and buyers are curious about what, if anything, is going on in Real Estate today. Yes, Real Estate has been deemed an essential service in Massachusetts. However, as is true for most industries, the devil is in the details – as we contend with our altered reality.
Transactions are most definitely happening – though they are slower in pace and far fewer than the expectations of a typical burgeoning spring market.
Realtors are working with their clients and associated service providers (lenders, inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, notaries, movers, construction workers, handy-men, photographers, stagers, painters, etc.) to re-negotiate what is appropriate for each particular transaction in this new normal. Safety considerations are paramount (or should be) and can change if a seller is living in the home, versus the sale or purchase of a new construction or un-occupied dwelling.
Some things do stay the same. Yes, inventory is still at an historic low in the areas I work in. So, for now we are not seeing any big price drops.
Mortgage loan interest rates are at a 60-year low – making it a good time to buy or refinance. With inexpensive financing available, Buyers are able to get more house for their money today. This also applies to those looking at that second home, or that investment property to diversify their portfolio.
On the other hand, with the soft economy and loss of jobs, which may last a while, lenders are getting more exacting. Some of those jumbo loans and other creative financing options are harder to find or need higher down payments and credit scores.
Gap insurance is becoming commonplace. This protects buyers from any unexpected occurrences between signing a Purchase and Sale and the closing. I am seeing new Covid-19 riders that require proof of employment the day before closing.
On the positive side, new technology and remote options are getting better by the day. A large part of the sales process has moved online. Virtual open houses and walk-throughs are becoming commonplace. Safe options for qualified buyers also exist to physically see a property. Drive-by appraisal (yes, this is a thing), plus remote notarizations – was just passed in Massachusetts. Most service providers have developed protocols for the safety of the client and their own workers.
Yes, we are living in an altered world and we do not yet have a timeline for when (or if) things will get back to the way they used to be. In the meanwhile, we need to do the best we can, roll with the punches and be ready to pivot with our new reality!
As always, I am happy to answer any questions you may have about Real Estate … or even just chat about life itself!
Take care and be safe …