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The last year has been one of the most unusual, extraordinary, and unforgettable in our history. COVID-19 took the entire world by storm and, in the beginning, it seemed like the whole planet might come to a terrifying halt. We couldn’t see our loved ones, travel, or go to restaurants - and many of us spent a good deal of time cooped up inside. As REALTORS®, we pondered how this would affect the housing market. Fortunately, the market flourished – and it hasn’t looked back!
Now that the number of COVID cases are decreasing and daily life is beginning to normalize, we thought we’d share some of the things we learned about real estate during the global pandemic.
Despite real uncertainty and the importance of social distancing, people were still very interested in buying and selling homes. The pandemic began to affect the U.S. just as spring arrived - and while there was a brief pause in real estate activity, it quickly rebounded as agents, buyers, and sellers began to leverage technology to make transactions possible via virtual tours and socially distanced closings. If anything, the pandemic fueled the real estate market as “home” became more important for those who were suddenly tasked with working from home and/or virtual learning for kids.
If you’ve been planning on selling your home, NOW is a good time. Interest rates and inventory are low, meaning that buyers are taking action quickly on homes that list. Houses for sale that are in reasonable condition and are appropriately priced sell very quickly. Buyers are competing to land the deal. Know the value of your home and its location - and don’t sell yourself short. If you’re looking to sell, we can help you navigate this unprecedented seller’s market.
At the beginning of the pandemic, REALTORS® everywhere were concerned that we might see a dip in housing prices. However, home prices continued to rise. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the price for single-family homes rose by an average of almost 8% in the first quarter of 2020. In fact, residential housing prices were growing faster during the pandemic than they had before it began. This is mostly due to the fact that housing inventory has been very low and the demand for homes has risen. So make those repairs and updates, and list your home for sale with confidence! It will sell.
Social distancing and staying safe have been at the top of everyone’s minds. In March of last year, many companies had completely suspended in-person viewings. But as we learned more about how the virus spread, REALTORS® and agencies began following strict guidelines for sanitation and discovered that scheduling an in-person viewing could be done safely. Seeing your future home in person can be an important part of your decision-making process, and agents will do everything they can to keep themselves, their buyers, and their sellers safe when showing a home.
READ MORE: Buying and Selling a Home During COVID-19
In addition to in-person showings, it quickly became apparent that having a strong digital presence was important. As more buyers began relying on virtual housing tours and popular real estate sites, we learned that we needed to shift our strategy to help our buyers and sellers. This involved agents investing more in professional photography and videography, using email to update our clients on new listings and the various services our agents offer, and other techniques that bolstered communication between all parties during a time when we couldn’t come together as often.
As REALTORS® we’ve seen a lot of housing trends come and go over the years, and the pandemic has put an emphasis on select areas of homes in which buyers are showing a greater interest, and for some obvious reasons. Everyone is spending so much more time at home. That creates an emphasis on upgrading areas that make home life a little more enjoyable, including
If you’re considering upgrading one aspect of your home to prepare it for the market, we recommend focusing on your outdoor spaces. Enhance your patio with new pavers, install a fire pit or a fireplace, hire a landscaper to help you add greenery, or consider building an outdoor kitchen. Of course, these upgrades can be as big or as small as your space allows, but creating inviting outdoor areas that potential buyers don’t have to spend time building themselves has been a big selling point in the past year.
A vast number of people are still working from home and have been choosing virtual learning for their children which has made in-home offices and learning spaces some of the most sought-after features any home can have. If you’re considering selling, you might also want to consider converting a free bedroom into an office space to show buyers the potential your space holds. Bookshelves, good lighting, and other organized, calming elements will go a long way in a buyer’s mind when they’re contemplating your property.
Home gyms have always been an extra luxury that many homebuyers desire. These days, as we continue to socially distance, a home gym is almost essential in some form or another. A place where people can get up and be active without having to leave their homes is a huge selling point. If you don’t have a home gym, an experienced REALTOR® can help you stage your home to show buyers the potential of an unused or bonus room.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home while we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to work with a REALTOR® you can trust. We’re real estate experts, and have years of experience helping families across the Mid-south sell their beloved home or find the home of their dreams. To learn more about how a Marx-Bensdorf agent can help you, reach out today and find an agent who will welcome the opportunity to serve you.