The Corona Effect on Real Estate
Like everyone, we are anxious and have been struggling with whether we can sell real estate, whether buyers and sellers will still be interested or needing to make a change, and whether homes will sell during this time of economic uncertainty. It really comes down to whether we can all pay our bills, that is what leads to consumer confidence. Here are some interesting facts:
The Real Estate Industry is OPEN:
Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s restrictions did not include closing real estate, so professionals in our industry are proceeding to work smart, stay safe, and protect the public’s interest through virtual tours, Zoom meetings, and private two to three person showings of homes practicing social distancing, wearing gloves, and wiping down any items that are touched during the process. This comes at the direction of our buyers and sellers who are all conscientious about best practices.
Buyers Are Closing on Existing Agreements:
Since, Thursday, March 12th, the date Coronavirus began shutting down the country, our small firm has seen 21 transactions close and only 1 terminated due to the impact from the global pandemic. We are scheduled to close an additional 10 transactions from March 26th – March 31st bringing our total March closings to 42 transactions. Despite these unprecedented times, we are closing more transactions this March compared to 23 closed in March 2018 and 26 closed in March 2019.
Buyers are Still Shopping and Buying Homes:
Since Thursday, March 12th, our 40+ agents have made 26 new sales. This pace of activity is greater than the 12 days prior to March 12th when we saw 21 new sales. In this sampling, we have seen some buyers rescind their agreements, but that is a common place in the first 10 business days of any new sale agreement.
Sellers are Still Listing Homes:
Since Thursday, March 12th, we have placed 13 new listings on the market and 5 of them already have an accepted offer. As of today, we have 6 new listings scheduled to hit the market in the next 6 days.
Portland’s RMLS Sales Activity since March 12th Remains Promising
In the Portland Metropolitan market, according to RMLS, since March 12th, 835 homes that were in escrow did close as scheduled and there have been 924 new pending sales, suggesting that buyers are still capitalizing on the attractive interest rates and the new spring inventory.
Mortgage Rates Have Been Erratic, But Have Returned to Stimulate Sales
Prior to March 12th, interest rates were 3.375%, since that time they have jumped as high as 5.00% and then thank you to the Federal Reserve, they are now back to 3.50%.
The Large Banks Are Vying for Your Jumbo Loans
Many Jumbo loan lenders have closed up shop, but the big banks have stepped in insuring the fluidity of funding. Borrowers looking for loans in excess of $500,410 are now best served by going to their own private money banks or Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, or Bank of America.
Lenders Will Now Be Verifying Employment the Day Prior to Closing
Lenders are now going to now start doing a second verification of employment 1 day prior to closing. This will ensure that all new owners are still employed at the time of closing as employment is very fluid at this time. This will cause some delayed closings as it is a new exercise.
ELEETE Practices to Represent Our Clients and Ensure Safety
Moving forward, we at ELEETE have all our agents now working remotely from home. To best market our listings, we will continue our professional photography along with our virtual tours. Additionally, we are now requiring our agents to get floor plans on 100% of our new listings. For those driving by homes, we are now installing “perma-flyers” a poster board weather resistant flyer on each signpost. In most cases we will still give shoppers the option to grab a paper flyer as well.
Prior to any showing, it will be our mission to ensure that the buyer fully understands the property via the MLS stats, floor plan, professional photos, full screen virtual tour, and that they are pre-qualified. Once the showing is scheduled, our sellers will be coached to open doors, turn on all lights, and open some windows, to do everything to minimize the buyers need to touch.
Let’s Set Up a Zoom Meeting Today
Finally, our clients are calling and asking questions that pertain to their specific goals. We would like to encourage all of you to reach out to your ELEETE agent and be proactive. Through Zoom Meeting technology we can share our screen and set you up with our ELEETE SCOUT tool to be “in the know” on all real estate activity in your area. This is a fun way to collaborate with you and ensure you are fully plugged in to what’s going on around you. We are all in this together and for now in our little slice of the business world, homes are still selling and perhaps much of that is due to the fact that many of you now have a lot of time on your hands to surf the net.
While it all seems to be functioning as of today, both California and Washington have suspended agents from showing homes. It is our hope that due to our good behavior, our hopefully cresting numbers, and far lower population density, that we will be able to continue to serve you.