Should You Put Your House on the Market Amid COVID-19?

It’s spring, the season when the Lake George, Bolton Landing and surrounding Adirondack real estate market really hits its stride, but given the current health crisis, the escalating financial crisis, and social distancing restrictions, you may be wondering if now is still a good time to put your home up for sale.

The answer is not straightforward, in fact, it’s a very personal decision, but it can also be an educated one. Here’s what we, as local real estate agents, know about the pros and cons of selling a home this spring.

Why You Should Still Plan on Listing Your Home

Many financial experts predict mortgage rates will drop even lower in the coming weeks and months, and homebuyers will be eager to capitalize on those rates. Combine that with the fact that the amount of houses on the market is lower, and you’ve got a textbook case of demand exceeding supply. Ultimately, that means it may be easier to find a buyer, and get the asking price you want, should you decide to move forward with your home sale this spring.

Another reason to list your home this spring? The threat of future uncertainty. We don’t know what the economy will look like 3, 6, 9 or 12 months from now, so if you wait to list your home until later, you run the risk of the housing market collapsing, making it difficult to find buyers and secure a good price.

And, of course, if you’re already under contract to buy another home, or you’re relocating for a job, then it probably makes sense to move forward with your home sale regardless of COVID-19.

Why You May Want to Delay Your Home Sale

Despite historically low mortgage rates, a good portion of would-be home buyers may no longer be in the market due to job loss. Even if their income has not been impacted yet, many people are worried about their financial future and, therefore, reluctant to commit to a home purchase. Unfortunately for sellers, this means it may take longer to find a buyer, especially one willing to pay the asking price.

There may also be fewer buyers in the market due to health and safety concerns. While the real estate industry has put new procedures in place to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and adhere to social distancing guidelines, including virtual tours, buyers may not know these options are available, or they may be unwilling to shift the way they shop, ultimately postponing their search.

Other Factors to Consider

Health and safety is also the most common reason noted by sellers who are wondering if they should put their home up for sale right now. After all, now is not exactly the best time to invite strangers into your home for private tours and open houses.

Currently, real estate agents in New York State are not even allowed to host showings, open houses or attend closings as a result of the social distancing guidelines. However, even when the shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted, you as a seller have the right to limit in-person showings to pre-qualified buyers, or to prohibit in-person showings and open houses altogether. In this instance, your real estate agent should offer you other marketing tools, such as video tours and real-time virtual tours.

Alternatively, if you choose to allow buyers into your home, your real estate agent can screen individuals for COVID-19 prior to showing your home, and require the use of face masks, shoe coverings, hand sanitizer or gloves.

More Help for Home Sellers

Are you still unsure about listing your home? Do you want to know more about how the new social distancing rules and regulations have changed the home selling process? Are you curious about the current state of the Lake George and Bolton Landing real estate market specifically? I’m happy to help talk through all of this with you and more. I can be reached by phone at (518) 321-1870, or you can contact me online to arrange a video conference.

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