If you’ve been wondering about the possibilities for selling your house during Covid 19, it’s a good question to ask. The whole economy continues to be shaken up as businesses limp along at limited capacity and the government pumps money into the economy.
What is happening this Fall with Covid 19?
The typical Spring seller’s market has been pushed into summer, and the expected fall uptick should continue as per usual, unless we have additional quarantine restrictions. We usually see a lull in the Seattle real estate market prior to a presidential election year, so now is the time to make things happen if you are thinking about selling your house this year.
How Does Your House Work With Kids and Adults Working From Home?
September is usually a “back to school month” in the King County area, but with all of the new issues in Seattle and surrounding school district as schools are being shut down into the fall, distance learning being the “new norm” for many elementary and high schools, colleges being closed to students from across the country and people working from home, many families are asking themselves questions about the suitability of the house where they are currently living.
Riots and Germs and Job Loss, Oh My!
Some people are worried that their house is too close to areas we are protests and riots are taking place (such as the Chaz/Chop zone in Capitol Hill and near the Mayor’s house in Windermere) and they do not feel safe in their homes.
Some people are worried about the spread of disease and population density in their town or county. In fact, earlier this Spring, real estate aggregator services were reporting a good deal of “urban flight” and interest in homes in suburban and rural areas. This was a reversal of a previous trend toward ubanization and higher density shared living and working spaces.
And others unfortunately, are going through difficult financial times. With children at home it is not always easy to get your job done, especially if you are forced to work outside the house or your job has been cut or hours reduced.
Many jobs are not able to be performed remotely, and some businesses have gone under or have less work to go around and the whole thing is creating a lot of hardship. With no school and limited child care options, working parents are being squeezed.
Will The Work-From-Home-Trend Continue After Coronavirus Goes Away?
Some lucky folks have been enjoying working from home for the last five months and wonder if they can keep their job on remote access long-term and move out to the countryside or another part of town that may be closer to family, less expensive, or better suited to a lifestyle that they would like to enjoy. I know an attorney in the Seattle area who just had a baby and he and his wife are both having to work full-time from home. They vacated their place in Seattle and are renting a house in Montana to be closer to his parents to can help take care of the baby.
If big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft become more tolerant of long-term, large scale remote workforce, there may be a decreased demand for homes close to the urban core with their high prices, high taxes, and long commutes. This is not evident yet, but if it happened, could result in a softening of the Seattle real estate market.
Many Situations Could Prompt Need For Selling Your House During COVID-19
Nobody saw this coming and it’s certainly a difficult situation for many people. For this reason you may be wondering if selling your house now makes sense. Is it feasible? Is this a good time to sell or is it better to wait and sell after the corona virus crisis is resolved?
Reduced Supply In Housing For Sale Keeps Housing Prices High
There are actually very few homes for sale in the Seattle area relative to what we would expect at this time of year because of this unusual situation. However buyers are out shopping and interest rates are at historic lows. This makes it an especially good time to sell your house because it is a sellers market and the buyers who are out looking don’t have very many homes to choose from.
Sellers Ask: If I Sell My Home, Where Will I Buy My Next Home?
The flip-side of the housing supply shortage is that after you sell your home and you become a buyer, you may have a harder time finding and securing your next home.
When The Seller Becomes A Buyer: How To Secure Your Next Home During The Coronavirus Crunch
One option would be to sell your house, put your things in storage, and rent for a while until you are ready to buy. This could help you save on costs and get out of an area that is no longer desirable for you. If you were planning to move to a different location this could help you get to know the neighborhood before finalizing a purchase decision.
We had family friends in Lake Forest Park who sold their home their last year and ended up taking their family of four people and two dogs to an apartment building in Baltimore for the summer. It worked out very well and when they were able to close on their new property they just got their things out of storage and the whole thing was very smooth.
However not everybody is sanguine about the prospect of living in an apartment these days, especially when the risk for more quarantining and stay-home orders is looming. If you are sheltering in place in an apartment, access to shared common areas may be limited.
For this reason another option would be to do a contingency sale which is where you say, “We will sell you our house when and if we are able to buy our next home.” This is common practice for buyers who need to sell a home before they can buy, and it can work in the opposite direction, too.
Another option would be to lease back your home after it’s sold. For example, if the new buyers close on the purchase of your home in September but you will not be able to close on your purchase of your next home and till October you could ask for a 30 or 60 day period to lease back your current home before the buyers take possession. Many buyers will be flexible on this because they will be happy enough just to have gotten their offer excepted.
Clearly we are all having to change the way we do things during covid-19. Whether it’s change the way we work, change the way we educate our children, or change the way we live, many of us are taking the opportunity to make changes to our lifestyles that we can control and perhaps that means selling the house you’re living in now and moving into something that is more appropriate to your current lifestyle. Sometimes change can be uncomfortable and it takes an outside impetus to motivate us to make it happen.
What Is The Actual “Process” For Selling My Home During Covid-19?
If you have been thinking of selling your home, or if you have been wondering whether it’s a good time to buy or sell, or even if you have been wondering if real estate business can even be done during the coronavirus, the answer is yes. (Although I will say the “buying” part is mostly good because of low interest rates – be prepared for aggressive fast bidding and multiple offers, as is not uncommon in Seattle, anyway).
It’s currently a seller’s market in Seattle and thanks to technology, the real estate market is getting a boost into the 21st-century and we can do almost all parts of the transaction remotely. With the help of superb photography and video tours (which must be captured in person) and zoom meetings/ video conferencing, potential buyers can take a “virtual tour” of your property for sale and get a great idea of what it’s like, without ever having to step foot into your space. Some people are even putting in offers sight unseen, indicating they are willing to wait and see the home in person until after the offer is accepted.
If you request offers be submitted in this manner, you can eliminate the hassles of open houses and cleaning or vacating the property while you are trying to stay away from germs keep things clean as well as get packed for your move. It’s a huge simplification, and one that I’m sure many home sellers would like to see continue even after the covid-19 crisis is over.
If You Want To Sell Your House This Year, Now May Be The Best Time To Do It
In summary, if you’ve been thinking about selling your house during Covid-19, this is a great time to consider taking action before the anticipated Fall lull. We do expect some slow-downs as we get closer to the presidential election in November, as this is common in every presidential election year.
The typical Seattle spring seller’s market has been pushed out to be a strong summer seller’s market, and due to lack of homes for sale the buyers who are in the market are very serious and are having to compete with each other for available inventory. Often sellers are enjoying a multiple-offer scenario from buyers bidding on their home. This is a good recipe for maximizing the price you receive for your home sale.
If your home is no longer suiting your needs in this post-coronavirus world, I encourage you to get in touch with our office and let us see how we can help you.