Selling a House During COVID-19
Is it a good idea to be selling a house during COVID-19? A lot of homeowners are asking themselves that very question, and for good reason. This pandemic has turned everything on its head and it’s hard to know what to do.
We believe it is a good time to be selling a home during COVID-19 for many people, but not for everyone. There are a lot of factors to consider, so let’s dig in a bit.
The first thing to think about is the real estate market. No one wants to sell their house or condo when prices are low.
There are many things that affect the real estate market, but in our opinion the biggest one are interest rates. Rates declined to record lows in 2020 and the Government is unlikely to significantly raise those rates for a long time as it tries to restart the country’s economy.
All that means borrowing money is likely going to be cheap for a long time, enticing many potential buyers into the market.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), sales activity improved more than expected in the second half of 2020, but new listings did not keep pace. That means that sales activity has been eroding active inventory. That is good news for sellers because there are fewer new homes to compete with them.
CREA projects annual prices increased in the Ontario housing market by 17% in 2020 and will increase another 16% in 2021.
Oakville recently earned the distinction of having the highest average house price in Ontario, beating out Toronto. Meanwhile, neighbouring Burlington with a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 88% (anything over 60% is considered a sellers’ market).
This is the wild card in the equation. If the economy takes a longer time to recover, and job losses continue, people may pause their house buying plans. The market could even see a flooding of foreclosure sales.
So far, government stimulus programs have prevented this, but none of us can say for certain what the future holds.
Selling a House During COVID-19
If you do decide to sell your home during COVID-19, you will find a slightly different approach than you may be used to.
First, there are no open houses. This can be a positive for sellers. It means fewer interruptions to your life by causal lookers just curious to see what the neighbour’s house looks like. Only serious buyers with a real estate agent are now viewing homes.
Many viewings are virtual. A real estate agent will do a walkthrough with his or her clients on a video call. Having 360-degree video tours as part of your listing is no more important than ever as well.
The closing may look a little different with everything being done virtually. Closing times may also be subject to change due to unexpected COVID restrictions. Be prepared to be flexible.
If you want to help expedite the process, consider getting a home inspection done yourself. You can provide the information to qualified bidders to save them time, and even get some tips for things you may want to take care of before listing.
All the old rules also apply. Think about your potential buyer and what they want. Visualize what you can do to your home to make it appealing. Whether it be simple decluttering, or some targeted renovations to meet the needs of a new reality of people spending more of their days in the home.
In the end, the decision whether or not to sell your home during COVID-19 is a personal one. It’s important to make that decision with all the information in hand.
If you want some tips about your house or condo, give us a call. We’d be happy to provide you a list of strategic renovations you could do to get top dollar when you sell. Oh, and did we mention you won’t have to pay for those until you sell?