Is Listing Your Home During the COVID Outbreak a Bad Idea?
Normally, spring is an excellent time to list your home for sale.
It’s the time of year when people are ready for a new beginning and planning big life changes.
Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic has lead to government orders that range from social distancing to sheltering in place, which has changed life as we know it. When the streets are empty and you haven’t even seen your neighbors in weeks, a big question for would-be sellers remains: Should I even bother to list my house for sale? Here are the pros and cons to consider in these unusual times.
Pro: Right now, mortgage rates are very low.
In an effort to stimulate the economy, mortgage rates have dropped to new lows — and they could fall even more in the coming weeks. This is good news for potential buyers who were on the hunt before the pandemic hit and might help them continue to feel confident about a home purchase. For sellers, this also could mean that the buyers who do make offers are the most serious about making a purchase.
Pro: There’s more certainty now than there is about the future.
Economic reports are enough to make anyone feel anxious. However, what we know right now is that there’s a stimulus package coming, many are still working (albeit remotely) and that social distancing measures will be in place for at least the next month. Things could get better, or they could get worse and lead to further restrictions (or trigger a recession). Delaying your home sale runs the risk of missing the window and ending up having to list when the market is down.
Pro: Open houses are available virtually.
Virtual showings may be a great option for sellers and buyers who are serious about social distancing. An excellent agent will be able to make your home’s virtual presence as compelling as it is in-person. Whether it’s via FaceTime, a 3D virtual tour, or a Facebook Watch Party, a virtual open house may just be the perfect answer to showing off your home during the COVID19 crisis. Not only is it the safer option during this time, but it can also be more convenient for those not being able to make the short window that open houses typically offer.
Con: An open house is not compatible with social distancing guidelines.
Even if you decide to have individual showings, you’re still running the risk of having strangers in your home who may be asymptomatic. On top of that, there aren’t many places for you to go while your home is being shown to potential buyers. However, there is a silver lining: Virtual showings. This may be a great option for sellers who need to move (for work or personal reasons) but are serious about social distancing. An excellent agent will be able to make your home’s virtual presence as compelling as it is in-person.
Con: You’ll have to also find a new place to live.
You’ll have the same issues facing your potential buyer, because you’ll be a potential buyer, too. Even if you do line up a new home, there are possible delays that might necessitate temporary housing (renting an Airbnb, a seasonal home or a short-term rental if you’re even able to) which was much easier to find pre-COVID than it will be right now. Then, there’s the actual practical considerations of moving: Will there be movers available to help you out? Will you be able to easily shop for moving supplies (especially if there are travel curfews in place, or if home improvement stores experience delivery delays)? However, there is a silver lining: Some rental owners may be inclined to offer significant rental discounts as their short and long term income has also been affected.
The bottom line is that putting your home on the market right now is a calculated risk where the need to sell outweighs any anxiety you may feel about how COVID is affecting the market. With an experienced agent, you can find creative ways to keep your home sale running smoothly (and safely, observing all precautions).
While we tried to cover all of the pros and cons of listing your home during the COVID-19 pandemic… There might be info relevant to your market that can further affect your potential sale. Whether you need a sounding board or advice on how the market is adapting in real-time, we’re here to listen to any and all of your concerns.