How to think about buying or selling now

Dated: April 11 2020

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In case you’re wondering whether it’s possible to do real estate transactions in a COVID-19 world, I can assure you that it’s as possible as you want it to be. Not long ago I helped my sister-in-law to buy a home in Oakhurst, CA (just outside Yosemite) while she was living in Oregon. She wasn’t able to visit the house in person until it was time for the final walk-through, and the property was a four and a half hour drive from my home. With extensive photography, Web-based document signing and careful communication, we completed the transaction without a hitch or regret—and I only drove up to the property one time. Managing a transaction in the time of Coronavirus is less demanding than that. The way that I currently manage showing a home is less risky than taking a trip to the grocery.

If you don’t want to sell or buy until things feel normal again, that’s up to you. Just be aware that it might be quite a while before the Coronavirus stops affecting us in significant ways, and the market will be changing for at least the rest of this year. Right now interest rates are extremely low, and property values have not yet moved downward—but they will. An unemployment rate over 17% (with at least 28 million people out of work) will certainly lead to more distressed properties and foreclosures. Homeowners who want to sell should act quickly. If you are thinking to sell and then buy, this could be a chance to do very well in both transactions. Buyers might benefit from a bit of delay, but those who do well will be the ones who keep an active eye on changes in the market.

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DAVID DUNLAP

As a residential real estate executive with an extensive background in corporate marketing, I am able to apply unusually strong skills in marketing communications, e-marketing, strategic planning and ....

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