Humor is a good way to cope. And, yet these are uncertain times causing people anxiety. Many people are asking me what is going on with real estate. How has it been impacted? News, just as the virus, is changing rapidly. And, just as you would expect; and not I, nor anyone, has a crystal ball. Many people are worried about a repeat of the 2008 housing crash, but I have some good news on that front in my next email.
Caveat: News is changing rapidly and this is updated as of the time of writing. More updates to follow as things change.
But first, let’s talk about what’s going on right now in Washington State.
As you know, on Wednesday of last week, Governor Inslee enacted an overdue two (2) week stay-home order except for essential services to help flatten the curve. Are real estate services considered “essential services”? The answer is, not as of right now. For some states it is, but not right now for Washington State. (See FAQs from the Northwest MLS) While real estate services are considered non-essential, Governor Inslee has issued an updated order on what limited functions real estate brokers can accomplish. Read more.
JUST IN: Memorandum from Governor Inslee Dated 3/27/20 Re Real Estate and Mortgage Guidance – Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation
BREAKING NEWS from Washington State Realtors Association: Daily Update 3/28/2020 Packed with Tons of Housing Updates / Reading
Pending transactions, escrow, title and banking are considered essential services. As is the support for those services - like mobile notaries, etc.
Within the last 24 hours, Governor Inslee has loosed restrictions on allowing real estate brokers to complete some of the functions associated with buying and selling homes with very strict rules on health and safety. Here are the newly implemented rules regarding buying and selling in Washington State to be able to continue to minimally operate with the least amount of contact and with most stringent safety precautions fully and strictly honored by all:
Can not have homes professionally photographed but brokers can take photos. Or, the owner can take photos and video.
Can not have yard post and signs installed by third party vendor.
Can not have stagers stage nor destage homes.
Home owners can list homes with real estate brokers.
Brokers can put Supra key boxes on homes for sale.
Brokers can preview and virtually tour homes for buyers AND/OR personally show homes 1-on-1 providing that social distancing and sanitizing protocols are strictly followed. (This provision allows only two (2) people on property at once as long as 6 feet apart).
Buyers can have homes inspected (providing there are only two (2) people in the home and within at least 6 feet apart at all times). Buyers may not attend as that would make 3 people at least and the owner must vacate the premises for the duration of inspection.
Brokers can take a buyer (one at a time) through a home for a final walk-through prior to closing (providing that there are only two (2) total people on the premises at all times and social distancing is honored.)
Brokers can provide keys for closing as long as social distancing measures are strictly observed (again only two (2) people allowed on property at the same time).
ALSO UPDATED: Appraisers can appraise homes but the occupants/owners must vacate home.
Lastly, previewing and showings must have appointments scheduled so not to back up agents (and potential buyers) on top of each other. Forms need to be filled out as to buyer’s and agent’s health prior to showing.
So, with everything in mind, is it a good time to list your home for sale?
With the newly revised order on limited real estate transactions, I have a new perspective on this. IF agents are able to preview and virtually tour a home or provide 1-on-1 tours with buyers, then I believe that listing now could be a good idea, depending on your urgency / need to sell. Homeowners are still listing and still going into contract here in Pierce County. I’ve been hearing that there are still multiple bid scenarios happening - as of Tuesday / Wednesday of this last week. Given pent up demand, and the inability for many buyers to actually get into contract with multiple bid situations, this might be a good time for them to get into contract while other, more cautious, buyers sit on the sidelines. Supply and demand is still at play as there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. Inventory is still at record lows (-32% from last year same time).
Timelines could take longer to sell and longer to close. Patience is going to have to be the order of the day.
So, with everything in mind, is it a good time to buy?
Coming up in next email.
Keep your hopes and spirits up. We will get through this. We will overcome. Let me know if you need anything!
I’ll be sending more updated information on home values, history of housing crisis and why this time is different, and more resources - hopefully providing rays of hope and some information to help keep you ahead and informed.
With great respect and care,