Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 5% for the week and were a remarkable 33% higher than a year ago.
Home prices gains continue to accelerate, so low mortgage rates are giving buyers much-needed help.
Homebuyers rush back into the market as mortgage rates hit new low
After a brief pullback at the end of June, homebuyers rushed back into the mortgage market last week, taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 5% for the week and were a remarkable 33% higher than a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s index, which was seasonally adjusted, including for the Fourth of July holiday.
Buyer demand has been incredibly strong since mid-May, after the coronavirus shut down most housing activity in April. The only thing standing in the way of more sales is the record low supply of homes for sale.
Home prices gains continue to accelerate, so low mortgage rates are giving buyers much-needed help. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of up to $510,400 dropped to 3.26% from 3.29%. Points, including the origination fee, for loans with a 20% down payment decreased to 0.35 from 0.36.
“Mortgage rates declined to another record low as renewed fears of a coronavirus resurgence offset the impacts from a week of mostly positive economic data, such as June factory orders and payroll employment,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “The average purchase loan size increased to $365,700 — also another high — as borrowers contend with limited supply and higher home prices.”
Applications to refinance a home loan, which are generally more sensitive to weekly interest rate moves, rose just 0.4% from the previous week but were 111% higher than one year ago. Because interest rates have been low and refinance demand has been strong for so long, only a limited number of borrowers can still benefit significantly from even the new record low rate.
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 60.1% of total applications from 61.2% the previous week.
Mortgage rates continued to drop at the start of this week, especially after the stock market sell-off Tuesday. Mortgage rates loosely follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury.
“Prediction is tough, but what I can say is that a lot of us who watch the market very closely are on high alert for signs that the low rate environment is under imminent threat,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily. “While that could change with even one major coronavirus headline, we’re not seeing that threat as of today.”
After plunging to nearly the lowest level in its history in April, an index measuring consumer sentiment in the housing market bounced back significantly in June. Renters were especially optimistic about homebuying.
The share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home increased from 52% to 61% month to month, according to the Fannie Mae survey, while fewer Americans said it was a bad time to buy. Renters drove much of that improvement.
“The share of renters who say it’s a good time to buy a home is now at its highest level in five years, suggesting favorable conditions for first-time homebuying, consistent with the recent rebound in home purchase activity,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief economist.
Current homeowners are also getting slightly more optimistic about the sales market, especially given the lack of housing supply. The percentage of respondents saying now is a good time to sell a home increased from 32% to 41%, although nearly half still think it’s a bad time to sell.
Home sales jumped dramatically in May, after grinding to a halt in March and April. While new listings are coming on the market, the total inventory of homes for sale at the end of May was 19% lower than May 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors. Pending sales in May, which represent signed contracts on existing homes, jumped a record 44% compared with April.
“However, this activity may cool again in the coming months, depending on the extent to which it can be attributed to consumers having chosen to delay or to accelerate homebuying plans due to the pandemic,” said Duncan. “We believe the continuing uncertainty regarding the coronavirus’ containment suggests an uneven and potentially volatile course toward economic recovery.”
Consumers are still very concerned about their job security, even as the employment picture improves slightly. Renters and homeowners with a mortgage are particularly worried, according to the survey, given the sudden record-high unemployment brought on by the pandemic.
More Americans now think home prices will strengthen, which is a double-edged sword in the market. Home prices were already elevated going into the pandemic, and affordability was weakening despite record-low mortgage rates.
On that front, more respondents said they expect mortgage rates to rise over the next year.
What does this mean to us? First, it may a good time to re-finance. Second, Real Estate will continue to be one of the best investments available for years to come.
What is striking is lack of inventory in Nevada County
607 houses for sale June 2019 vs 343 houses for sale June 2020, a significant 43.5% decline. That’s a reduction from 4.3 months of inventory to 2.1 months of inventory and presages a SELLER’S MARKET.
The average SOLD price per square foot is stable year to year ($251 vs $248). Units sold were 140 in June 2019 and 160 in June 2020, an increase of 14.3%.
Units PENDING are up 100.8%. While Nevada County has long been a magnet for buyers from the SF Bay Area, and to a lesser extent, the Los Angeles region, we believe the relative safety of our area is significantly driving interest and sales. The pending numbers belie that.
If you are contemplating selling a property, we have rarely seen a better time!
Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.
A MARKET MINUTE perspective from CA Association of Realtors
July 9, 2020
The California and national economies and housing markets continue to show improvement across a broad spectrum of indicators
However, we continue to face both ongoing and new challenges that we, as real estate professionals, need to be aware of to best serve our clients. Business has been improving, consumers are feeling better, and we are still enjoying all-time low interest rates. However, uncertainty has also increased in recent weeks, so we need to continue to hustle and avoid the temptation to celebrate the recent improvements because we still have a long row to hoe in California.
California home sales exceed pre-COVID levels:
Despite the short holiday week, home sales in California home sales ticked up last week. On average, 801 homes closed on the MLS each day last week—up from 795 the previous week. In addition, closed sales have now been above the pre-COVID levels of early march for the past 4 weeks consecutively. This largely owes to the rebound in pending sales that began in mid-April.
Labor market recovery continued in June:
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a larger than expected drop in unemployment. Although there remain some issues with the classification of temporarily unemployed workers, the decline to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May represents the second consecutive monthly decline. The payroll survey of employers also showed a second monthly gain with the U.S. economy adding back another 4.8 million of the 20.8 million jobs lost in April.
Buyer demand remains strong:
New purchase mortgage applications actually declined last week by 5.3% from the previous week. However, that was solely due to the short holiday week. In fact, last year the 4th of July decline in mortgage applications was much larger such that the year to year increase in new purchase applications surged by 33%—the largest increase since before shelter in place orders were issued. In addition, the growth in buyers requesting showings through ShowingTime.com remains ahead of last years pace by more than 11% as rates remain at all-time low levels.
California REALTORS® saw business improve during short holiday week:
33% of California REALTORS® surveyed over the weekend reported holding a listing appointment last week despite the short holiday week. That was steady from the week before and continues the consistent improvement from 27% in late May. 26% of members listed a property last week—up from 23% the previous week and at its second highest level since May. 32% entered escrow on a transaction last week—a 4th consecutive weekly increase. Finally, 26% of respondents closed a transaction last week—the highest percentage since we began asking this question in mid-May.
Discounted home sales decline for second consecutive week:
Last week, 54.2% of closed sales were below their original listing price on the MLS. That is down from 55.1% the previous week and marks the second consecutive decline showing that low rates, strong buyer demand, and a lack of available inventory has prevented significant discounting or price impacts to California’s housing market in the wake of the pandemic.
Many remain on unemployment despite recent improvement:
Although labor markets continue to make progress nationwide and in California, many workers continue to face difficulties. Between May and June, the economy added back 7.5 million of the 20.8 million jobs lost in April, but that still leaves U.S. payrolls roughly 13 million jobs shy of the pre-recession peak. Thus, even as things continue to improve, there is still a lot of healing left to be done.
Lack of supply limits momentum of recovery:
In addition to ongoing economic fallout associated with job loss, California’s housing market also has to contend with tighter inventory—particularly as demand and sales have grown in recent weeks. The number of new listings being added to the MLS each week has been declining for the past month, which will limit the momentum of the current rebound. Buyers who are still employed are attracted to the market by historically low rates, but a lack of available supply will mean fewer get into homes than would like to.
Buying season appears to be winding down “on time”:
One question about the effects of COVID-19 was whether it would extend the buying season due to pent-up demand accumulating as families and individuals sat home under shelter-in-place orders. However, data on both mortgage applications and requests for home showings, while remaining elevated compared with last year, does appear to be showing the typical slowing that is observed in July. Many of the homes that will close between now and the theoretical beginning of the school year are the result of transactions that have gone pending already or will go pending very shortly, and that seems to be consistent in 202 as well.
Recent rise in COVID cases threatens recent progress:
The big wild card for the economy and the housing market is the recent surge in new COVID cases. Like many other states, the number of new infections has increased as the economy has reopened gradually over the past month. This increases the uncertainty about how much momentum the nascent recovery will be able to maintain and whether businesses will be able to remain open and the recovery will be able to continue, or whether we see economic activity drop off under another round of more stringent restrictions.
There continues to be many positive signs in the economic data, whether it pertains to the labor markets, consumer confidence and spending, REALTOR® sentiments in California, signs of buyer demand, of the housing market data itself. However, the economy still had a lot of healing left to do even before this recent rise in new infections. For the past few months, we have said that a second wave of the virus would likely result in a slower recovery period and greater impacts to the economy and housing market so we will be monitoring this closely and making any necessary adjustments to our forecast so that we can share them with you. We’ve made tremendous progress so far, but we’ve still got a long road ahead.
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s June summary of economic projections released Wednesday shows interest rates near level zero lasting the rest of this year and the next couple of years to support economic recovery.
“What the June [summary of economic projections] shows is a general expectation of an economic recovery beginning in the second half of this year and lasting over the next couple of years, supported by interest rates that remain at their current level near zero,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday during a press conference.
“Of course, my colleagues and I will continue to base our policy decisions on the full range of plausible outcomes, and not on a particular forecast,” Powell added. “This risk management approach is the best way we can promote our maximum employment and price stability goals in these unusually uncertain circumstances.”
No rate hikes — along with the continued purchase of mortgage-backed securities — could mean interest rates for a 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage stays near 3 percent, or record lows, according to National Association of Realtors Chief EconomistLawrence Yun.
“The Federal Reserve’s view that a rate hike will not occur for three years is a signal to the market to expect an all-in accommodative monetary policy,” Yun said. “It is also very likely that the Fed will be aggressively purchasing mortgage-backed securities behind the scenes.”
“That means mortgage rates will be at or near 3 percent and near record lows for an extended time.”
Yun doesn’t believe consumer price inflation will be an issue with the amount of money printing, adding that it’s the right policy for the current economic climate.
Credit: Inman News
What does this mean to us?
First, it may a good time to re-finance. Second, Real Estate will continue to be one of the best investments available for years to come.
Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in.
We are here for you, and Alisa always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.
It’s getting a little warm! This is June after all, and who wants to slave over a not stove? Cucumbers are in full glory…so how ‘bout a yummy, super simple Cucumber Salad. From our friends at Kitchn.
The Ridiculously Good Cucumber Salad I Keep Coming Back To
Every year as the weather warms and summer inches closer, I make a mental list of the seasonal favorites I absolutely have to make. My list always includes classics like burgers, lemonade, and buttery corn on the cob, and fresh fruit desserts like strawberry shortcake and blueberry crisp. But at the very top of the list is always my mom’s creamy cucumber and tomato salad. It was a staple of my childhood, and so to me it’s what summer tastes like.
Mom’s Cucumber & Tomato Salad
My mom has been making this salad for as long as I can remember. It was a summer tradition in our house — not a special-occasion tradition, but a weekly (and sometimes nightly) one. No matter what she served as the main course, this salad was always eaten up first. We devoured every fresh and creamy bite, going back for seconds, then thirds, vying for the very last slices of cucumber and chunks of tomato in the bottom of the bowl and spooning them onto our plates along with every last drop of the creamy, tangy dressing. In fact, it’s the punchy tang of that light and creamy dressing that’s kept me coming back all these years.
Yes, Mayo Really Does Make the Best Dressing for Cucumber Salad
This salad is somewhere in between a tangy, vinegar-based cucumber salad and a rich and creamy one made with sour cream dressing. And that’s all thanks to the mayonnaise-based dressing. Mayo has a delightfully sweet tang that’s different from the tang of sour cream or Greek yogurt — and a little goes a long way. This salad needs just a little bit of dressing to coat the vegetables. When left to sit before serving, the liquid from the cucumbers and tomatoes thins the dressing and mellows it slightly.
How to Make My Mom’s Cucumber and Tomato Salad
My mom isn’t really one for following recipes, a quality I was reminded of when I asked her about the specifics of this dressing. “It depends on the amount of cucumber and tomato,” she told me. “Just a big spoonful of mayo, a pour of red wine vinegar, and a small splash of milk to taste. I’ve never measured it.” If you’re skeptical about the milk, I was, too — until I learned that it boosts the creaminess factor and works to thin the dressing without adding any extra acidity.
To create this salad at home, whisk together 1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, (an optional) 1/2 teaspoon milk (preferably whole or 2%), and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add 1 large peeled and thinly sliced cucumber and 1 large (or 2 small) ripe, chopped tomato and toss to coat. Let the salad sit at least 30 minutes (although the longer the better) before serving
The last 2 months have been challenging in different ways for most people.
As an appraiser, I’ve had to navigate through the real estate market, analyzing the data in both a pre and post COVID market. In the beginning, it was too difficult to say what, if any, impact the virus would have. After 2 months of data, here are some of my observations.
Watch active listings and pending sales.
This tells us what the market is “currently” doing, while a sale is a historic event. A percentage of closed sales went into contract before the COVID crisis and may not have be an indicator of the future. Most data I ran for my assignments did not show any significant changes in prices overall when comparing pending sales/active listings vs. closed sales. Volume, days on market, etc. categories may have shown some changes.
Confirm if a low sales price is indeed the market or an anomaly.
I did observe a couple anomalies on purchases early on with some contract prices far below market trends.I spoke to the agents to determine why. One was due to seller who was honestly uncertain of the COVID impact on the market and wanted to sell asap to move on. Now if this became the norm and a majority of the comps were selling at this lower price range, that would suggest that the market adjusted and the new market range. But I didn’t observe that.
When looking at data from March until May 2020, don’t compare the data in this period to the data from the few months before (ex. Jan-Feb 2020). Go back and compare to the same period in 2019. Real Estate can be seasonal and seeing what impact COVID may have is best to look at the same period the year before especially during this spring period. Overall, many areas showed total volume down due to listings being placed on hold and/or withdrawn/cancelled, but was seemingly offset by a percentage of buyers seemingly sidelined due to shelter in place guidelines. If we have a shift with more listings and buyers remaining sidelined, then a shift in prices may be more likely.
Recently, pending sales are picking up.
Over the past month, I’ve seen many markets increase in pending sales. Some buyers may be bargain hunting and looking for a good deal. Other buyers or sellers have just been on the sidelines waiting and comfortable moving forward now. It will be interesting to see if the summer becomes a delayed spring market. This will be something to watch.
As we progress back to normalcy, we must remember that data can shift at any given time with a setback in the economy, COVID, and other external factors not yet known. There is a psychology factor as well. We are in new unprecedented times currently and going forward, some of our prior normal will be shifted. As real estate professionals, we have to be willing to adapt in this market.
Bryan Lynch Certified Real Estate Appraiser
What are we seeing?
The team is busy helping clients list and purchase homes. While we had a brief lull at the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdown, real estate activity has been robust for us, with new listings coming on market and buyers interested in finding homes in Western Nevada County.
Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in.
We are here for you, and Alisa always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.
The Chart below shows Active and Pending listing in an upward trend. This is the MetroList MLS data that covers several counties contiguous to, and including Nevada County.
Prospector MLS Residential Statistics From March 18th to May 20th.
The MetroList team continues to monitor its systems and real estate data as our region, state and country begin to reopen. The latest Prospector MLS statistics are telling us the real estate market has started to rebound in the areas served by MetroList. As illustrated in the chart below, Active and Pending Residential Listings have begun to climb upward. These two indicators (Active and Pending) tends to bode well as showing guidelines have been developed to allow real estate brokers and agents to show properties. Click here to download the chart in PDF format.
The Nevada County Real Estate Market In the Time Of Covid-19!
What’s up with the Market?
We’ve talked to many folks recently who give thanks that we are fortunate to live in Nevada County for lots of reasons, among them the low number of COVID 19 cases here and our ‘natural’ social distancing since we are already spread apart much more than urban environments. So, we give thanks!
Here is a snapshot of Nevada County RE activity:
What do those Numbers Mean!
Homes for sale are up 7.8% May vs April, but down 25% against a year ago. Homes Sold are flat May vs April, but down 38% vs a year ago and Homes Pending are up 180% May vs April, but down 19% vs a year ago.
We think, given all the challenges of the shutdown, those numbers look pretty good. The reality is that Real Estate in Nevada County is relatively healthy. Full time hardworking agents are busy. We are working with sellers to prepare homes to go on the market now and in the coming months.
And we are showing homes to prospective buyers, who, in this environment are not out there unless they are serious. No looky-loos!
What about prices, you say. Prices are up 10% May vs April, and up 3% this April vs a year ago. Prices are supported somewhat by less inventory, but we think it is the attractiveness of Nevada County especially during the time of pandemic. Our county is simply a safer place than others.
Days on market are a bit better, with houses selling 8% quicker this year vs last year and 19% quicker May vs April. Average of 81 DOM.
What about the future outlook?
It seems a no-brainer that Nevada County is more attractive than ever. We have seen for quite a while lots of Bay Aea folks moving here for the stellar lifestyle Nevada County delivers. Couple that with attractive home prices relative to the Bay Area, and now heightened sensitivity to safety, we are ripe for a significant boom as conditions normalize.
Johnson’s Sierra Lifestyle Team is working, here the assist you, and practicing safe social measures consistent with government, county and National Assn. of Realtors guidelines.
Open House will be virtual until safe conditions pertain. Showings will be conducted two clients at a time in the house, masks/gloves worn and we will utilize sanitizer on surfaces we cannot avoid touching (such as handrails, doorknobs, etc. We will travel in separate cars to maintain social distance. No tha1t does not mean we don’t like you ☺ We look forward to hugging days again!
Alisa Johnson writes about coping positively with significant change afoot:
Oh, how you have shifted our way of life. Although we had heard Covid-19 was coming, I am not sure any of us understood exactly how this would play out. I am a mother of two. One of which has an autoimmune disease. She receives infusion therapy treatments on a regular schedule and is considered “high risk”, so the news for me started a month or more ago coming up with a plan to keep her as safe as possible. In fact, I was coordinating short term independent studies at home once we heard Covid-19 was headed to the US. But just one day after that the schools started to close and new information was coming at me. It felt like a whirlwind between being prepared and being panicked. So, what I did is what I know how to do best. I started planning. I got some extra supplies for my home. Nothing over the top, just enough for a few weeks. I made a plan for my kids to be home and limited contact with friends and family to safe distance. Then I moved to my business. I started putting things in place to continue business as normal. I had nine homes in escrow at the time, seven active listings and nine new listings prepping to come on market. Although plans were in place and I was taking precautions, I am known as the cautious or protective one, so preparing was not a challenge. Some things we started immediately: Lysol door handles and light switches, carrying gloves and hand sanitizer, keeping safe distances while touring and keeping doors open for fresh air in homes we toured. Then, out of no-where, we got the information handed down, “Stay Home or Shelter in Place” per the State. This was not an issue as I thought Real Estate would be essential. It is currently not. Escrow teams were moving to home offices and mobile signings only, county offices were going to E recording only and so many other little details that would likely bore you.
I had a choice.
Either stay home, watch movies and eat popcorn, or figure how to continue to serve my clients the best way I could while respecting the governor’s orders. So here I am working from home, having now closed four of those escrows successfully during this time and preparing to close the others. All our listings other than vacant land are in escrow and we are carrying on. We have made changes how we do signings for escrows and so far, that has been great. We have changed how we “hand off keys” to new owners and handle property access for inspections. 100% of our work is handled online. I have started working with upcoming listings, providing online consultations, using technology to meet via video calls, or having owners upload me videos or pictures of their home so I can continue to offer market value reports and take listings that will go live later in April/May. Sellers also have extra time to get their home in top shape to be the best -looking property online when we do list!
What do I miss the most?
The interaction! I had to say good-bye to clients moving out of area over the phone, or over six feet apart with no hugs goodbye. I miss my team being in the office chatting almost daily and collaborating. Going forward our service to our clients might be coming across on a different platform but the core of who we are and how we do business is not changing. Technology is our friend and every day I am learning more tools to best serve my clients in the ever- changing world we live in.
HomeSmart & Our Team Institutes Significant Protective Measures!
Real Estate Update –
Real Estate is now listed as an essential business. Some tasks can be accomplished out and about, including showings, while observing the strict guidelines below. We are working primarily from our home offices, working on real-estate listings and buyer activities virtually as much as possible. In instances where it is necessary to show homes in person, we are observing state and local, CDC & HomeSmart guidelines detailed below:
The Big Question: May I Go Back to Work?
The Short Answer in The Counties We Primarily Operate as of 04/03/20:
El Dorado County:NO
***Operating in the unrestricted counties are on a AS-NEEDED, LAST RESORT basis.
See below for more details.
A MAP TO GUIDE YOU:
What are the recommended best practices that must be followed in all circumstances?
Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible.
All activities should be completed electronically, if at all possible.
Only a single agent and no more than two other individuals are to be in a dwelling at the same time during a showing. If other persons are necessary for a showing, they should wait outside or in their vehicles to observe the social distance guidelines.
Sellers are to be advised that they should not be present within a dwelling at the same time as other individuals. Sellers are to be advised that they may remain on the property or in the common area of an HOA but not in the dwelling unit itself while agents, buyers, inspectors or others are viewing it. If a seller insists on remaining on the property, that seller is to agree to the terms and sign the declaration (see below) that is required for persons entering the property.
Agents should read and understand the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to protect yourself. This is critically important!
Any persons on the property must agree to adhere strictly to the social distancing guidelines at all times by remaining at least six feet apart per the recommendations established by the CDC.
Any person entering a property shall provide by declaration that to the best of their knowledge, they are not currently ill with a cold or flu; do not have a fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, or exhibit other COVID-19 symptoms; have not been in contact with a person with COVID-19; and will adhere to and follow all precautions required for viewing the property at all times. All persons visiting a property will agree to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer prior to entry, and to wear disposable rubber gloves and a protective face mask, if one is made available. In addition, sellers must disclose to all persons who enter the property if the seller is currently ill with a cold, flu or COVID-19 itself, or has a fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms, or has been in contact with a person with COVID-19. Further, if anyone who enters the property is later diagnosed with COVID-19, the person who is diagnosed must immediately inform the listing agent, who will then make best efforts to inform everyone who entered the property after the person diagnosed, of that fact.
Sellers and buyers must be expressly made aware of the risks of showing and visiting properties: that it may be dangerous or unsafe and could expose them or others to coronavirus (COVID-19). Sellers and buyers must be advised of their responsibilities pertaining to COVID-19 protocols regarding social distancing and other CDC guidelines.
The agreement of the seller allowing any person entering onto the property or into the dwelling must be expressly obtained from the seller. Apart from marketing and pre-marketing activities, a standard purchase agreement grants the buyer broad discretion to conduct various inspections and investigations. The seller should be apprised of their obligations under the purchase agreement so that they enter into such agreements with a clear understanding of the attendant risks.
To the extent possible, the use of various third-party services providers for non-essential services must be avoided and, where unavoidable, the providers must agree to sign an agreement to follow CDC guidelines.
REALTORS® should follow the above protocols when conducting any in-person interactions, but should refrain from any non-electronic unsolicited marketing during the COVID-19-related declaration of emergency.
Brokers should consider extending listings and putting a hold on marketing activities or other accommodations for those who, for health or other reasons connected to the COVID-19 virus, wish to stop actively marketing their property for the duration of the governor’s stay-at-home order.
Unless absolutely necessary, communications with clients should be done via electronic means or by telephone. In person conversations should be minimized unless absolutely necessary.
Best practices related to entering a seller’s property:
Listing agents should not leave brochures and flyers in the property but instead utilize any showcasing or other marketing features available through one’s MLS system to highlight the property.
All showings are to be held by appointment only.
Discourage anyone who does not need to view the property from attending a showing.
Agents conducting the showing should meet clients at the property and not drive the client to the property, so as to minimize risk. Information relevant for the showing should be provided in advance to the clients electronically. Keep in mind that MLS rules generally require agents to have obtained seller’s permission for client to enter without the agent being physically present.
Consider limiting in-person, non-virtual showings to “serious” potential buyers, who are those who have provided verifications of funds and lender prequalification letters to show they are able to purchase the property that is the subject of the showing.
Let the seller know well in advance that there is an appointment for a showing.
If using a lockbox, be sure to disinfect the key, the box, and the doorknob prior to utilizing.
When using disposable gloves, be sure to put them on prior to entry and to dispose of them after leaving each property.
Ask seller to turn the lights on and leave interior doors, drapes and blinds open. If the property is vacant, agent should ensure these tasks are taken care of prior to the showing.
Refrain from touching any surface during a showing.
As indicated above and following the CDC guidelines, maintain a safe distance from anyone in the property by staying a minimum of six feet apart.
If the size of the residential unit makes it difficult to maintain the six-foot distance for all parties attending the showing, individuals may need to wait outside and come in the property one at a time, at all times maintaining proper social distance.
Bring your own sanitizers, and gloves — don’t rely on others to bring them. If hand sanitizers are unavailable, liquid hand soap for hand washing should be made available.
Follow suggestions in the CDC’s Cleaning & Disinfecting Guide and provide this information to your sellers, advising them to disinfect the property according to those guidelines after the showing is complete.
Discussions after the showing with the seller or clients should be conducted through electronic means such as email, telephone, Zoom or FaceTime, rather than in person, as maintaining a conversation while adhering to the social distance guidelines is difficult.
For HOAs, have the seller obtain a copy of any new rules that may govern showings of common areas or entry to the property.
The following activities are permissible within these guidelines if all of the above best practices are followed:
Listing presentations should be done virtually if at all possible.
Planting for sale signs or have a sign company install the sign at the agent’s direction.
Having contractors or workers make improvements to the property.
The written approval of the seller for all pre-marketing activities must be obtained by the listing agent. No third party can enter the property if they have not agreed to follow CDC guidelines. Even for contractors and workers, gloves and other protective gear are mandated, as is the declaration that they are asymptomatic and agree to follow CDC guidelines.
To assist you, C.A.R. has released two new forms: One is a Listing Agreement Coronavirus Addendum or Amendment (RLA-CAA) for sellers and listing agents to sign, and the other is a Property Viewing Advisory and Declaration (PEAD) that is to be given to and signed by the seller, buyer, agents and anyone else who will be entering a property.
Taking photography using a video-based system. Keep in mind that the usual copyright considerations governing photographic images still apply.
Staging and de-staging should be virtual, not physical.
HOA site inspections. The seller should check with the HOA to see what, if any, new rules may have been put in place as a response to COVID-19 and make sure that any inspections conform to those rules, or that consent of the HOA has been obtained for any exemption to those rules.
Showing properties by appointment only (including rentals) to individual parties, one set of clients at a time.
No open houses, broker tours or broker previews. A virtual open house or showing scheduled for a specific time may be permissible with the approval of the seller, however sellers should be advised not to be present during such a virtual open house, or agree to sign the declaration regarding being asymptomatic and to follow CDC guidelines during any such showing.
REALTORS® should NOT BE conducting any face-to-face marketing during the COVID-19-related declaration of emergency.
The written approval of the seller for all marketing activities must be obtained by the listing agent. No third party can remain unattended at the property. For all persons entering the property, gloves and other protective gear are mandated, as is the declaration that they are asymptomatic.
26 Mar Covid-19 and Market Comments
BRYAN LYNCH MARKET OBSERVATIONS – THE VIEW FROM PROPERTY APPRAISING
This past two weeks has been a whirlwind to say the least. Early on, it was simply at times a shock and overwhelming as the corona virus pandemic news became a reality. As we’ve settled into our new environment, I’ve been impressed by the resolve of so many people to adapt and adjust. I hope all are doing the best they can through this. If need anything at all, please reach out. We all need to support and rally around each other.
For those obtaining a loan, this week Fannie Mae provided some temporary alternatives to a traditional full appraisal. These include either a desktop and/or 2055 Exterior Drive By. This new information has many scrambling to determine how this will go in the near term. For the most part, I’ve continued completing interior inspections following the inspection screening guidelines that have circulated among my profession. I’ve been and will continue being proactive with safety precautions at appraisal inspections (keeping social distance 6 ft away from parties (occupant(s) have congregated in one room or waited outside in some cases), gloves/masks/booties, etc. Before any inspection, I’ve discussed the above and screened clients so all parties are comfortable before meeting. If this is not a viable option, an exterior inspection is option as well.
Regarding the markets, it’s far too soon to gauge how the corona virus will impact the real estate market (both short and long term). Some properties have been placed on hold, taken temporarily off the market, showings limited, etc. This is new territory for us all and only time will tell the story of the impact (if any) on prices, marketing time expectations, buyer pool, etc. It will be very important to analyze active listings and pending sales post crisis date to see if that begins to indicate the market direction. Closed sales prior to Covid-19 may not be the best indicator for current trends. Again, the crisis is a fluid situation and very important to monitor the most recent market data as real estate professionals. Time will tell.