Buyer vs Seller Behavior Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Dated: April 17 2020

Views: 651



No one needs to be told that COVID-19 affects every aspect of life. From daily routines to major projects like buying or selling a home, everything has changed.


Two polls show how real estate agents see the housing market differently from February to March

Top agent insights for Q1 of 2020 had originally been optimistic about a healthy spring seller’s market, with low mortgage rates encouraging buyers to get out there. Now the picture is less rosy. In February, only 5% of these 600 top agents thought spring 2020 would be slower than spring 2019. By March, almost half the agents thought this spring would be slower. 


They’re right. Over 40% of agents are reporting declines in seller activity and buyer activity is down for over 45% of them. Over 50% have seen buyers simply hit the Pause button on searching at all. 


People who are still trying to sell or buy a house are changing how they do it.

One big change, of course, is that sellers are cancelling open houses while any type of social gathering is dangerous. Private appointment showings continue, but even here, sellers are becoming more careful, with many insisting potential buyers remove their shoes, wash their hands, skip showings if they are sick, etc.


More buyers are requesting virtual open houses and showings via FaceTime or other video call technology. Although buying a house sight unseen is never very popular, the #1 reason people do it is they cannot travel to see the home. That fact is relevant during COVID-19 lockdowns, so this spring may see more buyers taking a chance and buying a home they haven’t visited.


There are still ways to sell a home in the current situation.



It’s important to research and find a top local real estate agent who is smart and experienced with virtual touring, video call showings, and using social media to replace the open house you’re not having.


If your sale is stalled because real estate is “inessential” in your locked-down area, ask your agent about useful DIY projects that will bring return on investment. Most of us can’t handle a kitchen renovation, but you can get paint delivered to create that fresh, neutral look buyers prefer. You can declutter any areas that still need it, remembering junk drawers, closets, and garages. Even virtually, buyers want to look everywhere! Stuck at home, you can also deep clean from ceiling to floor and maintain that clean. Learn about staging techniques so that every room has an appealing, simple look that shows off the home’s features. Buyers, however they tour, want to see the lifestyle the house has to offer.


Buyers should have a clear wish-list ready for the agent. Also make a list of questions to cover things you can’t see, feel, hear, or smell for yourself. Be ready to ask detailed questions and to ask to see anything you haven’t been clearly shown. That includes the neighborhood and landscaping as well as the house, since you are not driving to the home yourself.


There is a lot we can’t control right now, and some things we can.

Buyers, sellers, and their agents all have to work in this unprecedented situation. Coronavirus casts a shadow of uncertainty over the whole real estate process. But everyone can adapt and make smart choices to improve the situation as much as possible. Home-buying and home-selling goals are still achievable!


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Pam Smith

I love real estate and since 2001 have been committed to my profession and my clients. I work very hard to live up to my slogan: "Common name...Uncommon service!" Year after year, I am a consistent to....

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