By Frank May

Last month I wrote about how to try on a neighborhood before you buy. It was simple; rent an Airbnb and stay a few days. Check out the nightlife, food, and shopping… If you are like me and have a running dialogue in your head with sound effects, you just heard the record scratch. The world went silent in one short month. This is all we are seeing on the news, in our social media feeds and now, in my article to you, loyal readers of hyperlocal news.

Real estate was deemed essential as people still need to move for a myriad of reasons. But what does that look like for the sellers and buyers? How are they actually supposed to ‘try on’ a neighborhood or home in this climate where you don’t want to drop into multiple homes in one day, potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19? Successful realtors are great at pivoting. Small Home = Cozy Home, Needs Updating = Waiting For Your Personal Touch! You get the point. This time it is different. Now we enter the world of virtual showings and virtual open houses.

Virtual showings have been done for a while now – we FaceTime you and walk the home. You can ask any questions you may have regarding the place and can hopefully get enough of a feel of the home that you know if it is a bust or a winner.

Virtual open houses have been a little harder to do because most of the real estate world loves to talk to people but not sit on a live video for two hours hoping you will pop in and ask questions. It was hard to navigate at first. But we made it work because ultimately this is how we will survive this pandemic.

What does the real estate market look like in the midst of COVID-19?
Based on data from the Cromford Report, the number of new listings for single-family residents dropped by 19 units year over year through April 15. The month isn’t over yet as I write this, so the data could change.
As of April 15, we are slated to have a great month for closings in April. Granted, all of the contracts were likely written prior to the shutdown or shortly after, but what is important to read into is that homes are still closing. Contracts are still being written either for new listings or for home purchases.

The market did not come to a screeching halt. It is still a viable market for both sellers and buyers. The only things that may be different are how we show homes, what is written into the contract and how you pick your agent, (do they pivot in a crisis?)

While all of this may not matter to you because you have no plans to move, it does matter because if the market is strong, your home value goes up – which in turn gives you more wealth. Unless you have made a vow of poverty, I am pretty sure you want to be wealthier, especially if you get to do it with your neighbors’ efforts.

If you want more information on the market and whether selling or buying is right for you, please give me a call.

Frank May grew up in the valley, graduating from Northwest Christian School and NAU. He is a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty and has been helping both buyers and sellers for 18 years. Frank May is a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider.