Buying or selling during a pandemic

Published Monday, October 19, 2020 8:30 am

While the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed real estate transactions for some people, housing markets in many areas of the country, like middle Tennessee, are showing a strength and resiliency unimaged earlier this spring. It’s critical to understand the pandemic’s impact on real estate, from deciding where to live to the ability to close transactions.


Whether you are new to homeownership or have been a homeowner for years, this is an unprecedented time that offers unique opportunities in both what and how people buy. We want to ensure that we can provide essential tips from Realtors for buyers and sellers; during this pandemic, no matter what side of the transaction you’re on.


Below are some essential tips on buying and selling a home during this quarter of the pandemic: 


Home tours still look a little different – Where in-person showings are still offered, potential buyers can expect quicker tours. They may be asked to continue precautions, such as removing shoes, using hand sanitizer and refraining from touching items in the home. Other changes include having to decide on a home more quickly as the lack of inventory continues to push buyer demand. 


Many sellers have offered virtual tours of their homes through pre-recorded videos or live video streams. In fact, according to a recent National Associations of REALTORS®, (NAR) survey on the pandemic’s impact on real estate, three in five Realtors said they are guiding buyers through virtual home tours as the only tour before buyers decide on their home choice.


Interest rates remain low – While new social distancing measures change how buyers view potential homes, interest rates are near all-time lows and are projected to hold steady.

However, as people continue to file for unemployment, mortgage lenders may tighten lending standards in the future. Appraisals are another part of the lending process and have seen delays, as refinances continue to grow in popularity prior to the projected financial increase in fees early next year. Increasing homeowner refinances and shorter contract closing times for new home purchases may cause either party delays.


According to NAR, don’t expect a discount – Nationally, home prices are holding steady, with the majority the same or higher from one year ago. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $310,600 in August 2020 – up 11.4 percent from August 2019 – and marked 102 straight months of year-over-year price gains as the number of homes sold hit the highest level since December 2006.


Expect delays – Those terminating a lease should leave some wiggle room, even an extra month or two, between moving out of a rental and into a new home in case of an unexpected delay. Hiring moving crews may prove challenging, so buyers should give movers as much notice as possible ahead of their scheduled move.


Remember, more than an app, your Realtor is prepared to interpret current market trends and anticipate delays that could occur. Your Realtor spends countless hours preparing to be the very best they can be for their clients. If it’s time to buy or sell your home, it’s time to contact a Realtor.

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