These are extraordinary times: the coronavirus has brought the majority of the world to a standstill as we all navigate and adjust to the changes as a result. There have been many questions, worries, and confusion about what this means for real estate in the GTA. We wanted to take the time to help answer some of these questions and lessen any of uncertainty.
So, what does coronavirus mean for real estate in the GTA, and how does it impact you?
The most important thing here is for you to remain safe during this outbreak. That means listening and adhering to the advice and precautions provided by the medical community and the leaders in the fight against this.
With regards to real estate, that means taking extra precautions when it comes to how real estate transactions are performed, including avoiding open houses, practicing social distancing during any viewings, avoiding contact with surfaces, and thoroughly washing your hands.
Real Estate Is Still Operational
Real estate is an essential service and will continue to operate. Obviously, changes to how things operate have been made, such as a larger shift to online interactions (no open houses, virtual tours, sharing and signing documents online).
If you are a seller who had planned on selling your home, or a buyer who had planned on buying during this time, this is entirely possible. This is a time when it is invaluable to have a Realtor to help you navigate this unusual market.
The Move Online
As said previously, there has already been a significant move online when it comes to real estate. Most buyers begin their search for homes online, and good selling Realtors make sure to use all of the online marketing tools available to get a property noticed by the right people.
Social distancing and avoiding unnecessary contact has made online tools all the more useful. Realtors have adapted to these market changes by offering virtual tours in lieu of open houses. Additionally, while home visits are obviously a requirement before an offer is made, selling Realtors are ensuring that only serious buyers are coming to view the property. If you are just curious about a home and don’t want to make an offer in seriousness, this is not the time to be window shopping.
Rates, Inventory, And Buying
If you were thinking about buying previously and are still able to do so, this is a good time if you consider the current interest rates. You can qualify and secure a mortgage at one of the lowest interest rates on record.
While the amount of homes on the market is still relatively low, there are also fewer buyers making offers. Lower competition combined with lower interest rates make for a unique time to be a buyer in the GTA.
As a potential seller, you might be worried about what the possible downturn in the economy might mean for the value of your home. While the GTA has many factors in its favour when it comes to housing price stability, a recession in the market is typically followed by a drop in the real estate market.
While the opinions of the experts differ, it is safe to say that if you were considering selling already, this would still be a good time to do so:
Housing sales are still up year over year – there are still buyers out there
Housing prices are still up year over year
There is still low inventory, so it is a seller’s market
The key factor here is that you want to make sure that your Realtor is adjusting to this unique market and using all of the marketing tools (especially online) to get your home noticed. Which brings us to our last point:
It’s Time For Realtors To Step Up
This is a time when Realtors need to really show their value. If you are a seller, this is especially true when it comes to marketing your home and getting it noticed by as many buyers as possible.
At a time when open houses aren’t possible, and there just isn’t frequent foot traffic, putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign and getting a listing on the MLS just isn’t going to cut it.
The biggest value that your selling Realtor can be to you right now is to use all of the tools available to get buyers to notice – from getting your home on Google, Facebook, and other social media platforms, hosting virtual tours, and taking quality and informative photos.
All of this work leads to more interest from buyers, which results in the sale price and timing that you are looking for.
And if you are a buyer, you want to make sure your Realtor is doing their homework: researching property values, doing a proper comparable analysis to gauge whether the home is under or over-priced, having a clear idea of what you are looking for so they are only presenting homes that you would want to potentially make an offer on.
At a time when you should limit the number of homes you visit, you want to be sure that each home you tour in-person is going to be one that your Realtor is confident that you would like. And while they might not all be perfect (there is always some compromise with buying), you can be sure that a Realtor who knows there stuff can lead you towards the homes you want.
If you are in the market, and you are looking for a Realtor, we’re happy to say that since we work with such a limited number of Realtors across the GTA – teaming up with only those who have a consistent and solid track record, really know their stuff, and know the areas they serve thoroughly – we are well positioned to be able to help you get the Realtor you deserve and who will step up for you.
Additionally, each one of our Realtors has an award-winning marketing team by their side to make sure that, whether you are buying or selling, you get top-quality service.
As always, we don’t charge you anything to use this service of finding a Realtor – it is completely free for you.
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Stay safe everyone!