Mortgage rates just dropped in the week ending August 6th to 2.88% for 30-year, fixed-rate loans, possibly making this period the best time to buy a house for many buyers who have been waiting. This is the lowest rate on record since being tracked by Freddie Mac in 1971. Meanwhile, home prices are not expected to decline due to the ongoing housing inventory bottleneck. In fact, they’re expected to continue rising, due to increased demand that brought June home sales to their highest level in 13 years and 100 straight months of national year-over-year gains.
Jim Dropps, a realtor at Northeast Real Estate Group in Minneapolis was quoted in a recent Money.com article about the market situation that mirrors patterns seen in most other markets. “Homes spent a median 100 days on the market before selling in 2010 or 2011; now it’s 23 days.” For the past several years, the percentage of homes that sell at or above list price has been at 90 percent or more.
All of this is despite the current economic uncertainty. What does this mean to buyers if you’ve been on the sidelines and waiting to buy? It may mean it’s time to get serious about your search, choosing an agent, and making your move. You don’t want any surprises, so it’s best to work with an agent with the expertise to help you understand the process in your desired location, make recommendations for strategic offers, and generally assist in making the overall transaction as smooth as possible.
Real estate has been moving to an increasingly online experience for many years, so overcoming obstacles presented by the pandemic crisis is a natural evolution within the real estate industry. Even before the crisis, many agents were offering virtual showings. Now, many more agents have quickly adjusted to offer scheduled virtual open house events or personal virtual showings. They may even highlight listings with Virtual Tours and Virtual Opens on their website so you can stay on top of upcoming virtual showings. If you’re working with a good agent, they can usually fill in the gaps that you might experience from not being onsite with the agent, such as traffic noise, suspicious odors, and other things you won’t experience through a virtual tour.
In a virtual showing, an agent will walk through a property by themselves while using the camera on their mobile device for viewers to see the property as if they are present with the agent. Any tools that offer video sharing can be used. FaceTime and Facebook Live are commonly used by agents, for example. If your agent isn’t planning scheduled virtual open house events, ask them if they can offer a personal virtual tour so you can see properties together with them and ask questions.
Resources For Agents
Technology has led real estate agents through the current crisis in ways that may not have been possible even 10 years ago. From virtual showings to online documents and transactions, tools are being used to address the temporary changes imposed by the crisis, helping transactions to continue. If you’re an agent looking for guidance in navigating the challenges brought to your day-to-day business by the pandemic crisis, check out Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS® for lots of practical information.