Three Ways COVID-19 is Changing Real Estate

April 16, 2020 By

As COVID-19 spreads around the country, more and more of us are feeling its impact. Many states and municipalities have mandated stay-at-home orders, causing companies to institute remote work policies and lay off employees. Here in Oregon, the current order is to stay at home – unless leaving for essential reasons – through April. If you’re an investor looking to sell a home this spring, you’re likely wondering how the home selling process will be affected by this crisis.

Here are a few observations we’ve noticed from our side of the real estate industry:

#1: Remote home tours are on the rise

As the country increasingly practices social distancing, you might be wondering how to conduct open houses and home tours. But never fear – thanks to technology, there are ways to give your beautiful home visibility while still being safe. Even though remote tours have been used for years, brokers are now conducting virtual tours more than ever. Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime are just some of the options that can let buyers see a home without stepping foot in it. The beauty of remote tours it that they actually open up a listing to a much broader audience. Plus, scheduling conflicts are practically eliminated as buyers can look at a house at any time, on their own time.

When there are in-person showings, they are generally private now. This provides buyers with more privacy and a stress-free experience, and the broker knows what exactly needs to be cleaned afterward.

#2: Patience is required, and rewarded

While there may be some delays in the closing process, there is still a market for both buying and selling at this time. Some steps that normally occur in-person — such as signing loan documents at the title company — may have to be delayed due to closures or you may be signing with a mobile notary. Other processes, like home appraisals, may be delayed due to high demand stemming from low borrowing costs. An increase in employees, like bank lenders, working from home can potentially cause delays too. If your lending partner is a large institution, you may need to think carefully about your closing date.

#3: Oregon’s housing market is still solid

How is the Oregon market looking? While we’re definitely feeling the effects, the Portland market is still considered strong. One study shows that during the last two weeks of March, homes “sold for an average of 102% of the asking price.” This leads us to believe that it’s still a seller’s market with low inventory. While there is waning interest in homes with asking prices above $800,000 (due to less-than-ideal mortgage options), homes in the $500,000 range are selling with few problems. Mortgage rates are in the low 3%, so homes are generally more affordable now than they were last year.

While the COVID-19 crisis is creating a lot of economic uncertainly, the Portland, Oregon housing market is currently chugging along. Although some private money lenders are not currently accepting loans, we here at AIC Loans are active in the market, taking project requests, and funding loans! If you’re seeking a lender for your real estate investment, contact us today.