After the first recorded community spread of Covid-19 in this country in March, local lockdown orders across much of America made the idea of inviting strangers into your home not only illegal but terrifying. Now those lockdown orders are being relaxed in some places, but the virus is still spreading uncontrollably, increasing unemployment is cutting consumers' spending power, and there may be more shutdowns coming. You may still be asking yourself, "Is now a good time to sell a home?" We're going to break that question down into parts and see if we can answer all your economic and health-related concerns.
Is now a good time to get the best price to sell a home?
In general, it's always a good idea to sell a home when inventory is low — that is, when not many other people are selling. So the good news, from a financial point of view as a seller, is that no one is selling houses right now, and prices are on the rise. Of course, if you're thinking of moving, you also have to consider the other side of the coin: lower inventory is bad for you as a buyer. However, expect that problem to be mitigated by the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut, which is going to help you negotiate favorable terms on a mortgage. There's also one more downside to lower inventory: while buyers are still outnumbering sellers, fewer people want to move at all right now, so expect your home to stay on the market longer.
Another thing to consider before you sell a home is where you're moving and why. A year ago, you might have dreamed of moving to another city for more opportunities. Now, the economic map of the country is changing, and those opportunities might not be there once you move.
Can I sell a home safely?
That's a more complicated question. Like so many questions about pandemic safety, it depends on local conditions in your area and the level of risk you are willing to assume. However, real estate is considered an essential industry by the Department of Homeland Security, so you'll be able to get in touch with an agent who can guide you through the process even if your area is in lockdown.
If you don't want to show your home, you don't have to! Just make sure your listing is full of appealing photos and videos, and make sure you're on hand to answer any relevant questions via email, Zoom, or any other secure forum you choose. Real estate agents have been using remote showings as a tool for long-distance buyers for years, so they've perfected the technique.
Of course, for some people, selling a house without letting the buyer see it in person feels a bit dishonest. If you do choose to let people into your home, practice the same precautions you would in any enclosed space. Have them wear a mask and gloves, stay six feet apart, and make sure to disinfect any surfaces they touched afterward. Make sure you're following the CDC's guidelines for safe socializing. And if a potential buyer balks at your requirements, never be afraid to put your foot down — a good deal isn't worth more than your life, and you don't want to do business with an irresponsible person anyway.
If you're comfortable with the idea of selling your home, you don't have to wait until next year. Just be safe and take precautions, and you may find that selling your house now was exactly the right move!