On March 30th, 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan implemented his most recent Executive Order limiting personal travel and business to those individuals deemed “essential businesses.” Only a few days prior to this, the federal government provided new classifications of businesses and included real estate in this essential classification.
However, there was quite a bit of ambiguity in how the Executive Order and classification guidelines would be interpreted and how they would impact real estate agents on a day to day basis. Were we still able to list homes, or show properties to clients, or assist in finalizing transactions already in process?
Clarification came on March 31st, 2020, as the Maryland Association of Realtors provided guidance on how this Executive Order is to be implemented across the state. Though real estate agents are still considered essential employees, our clients in the act of buying or selling properties are not. In practical terms what this means is that real estate agents are still free to travel for business purposes (i.e. – touring properties, attending inspections, etc.) but our clients do not have the same ability.
This will have a dramatic impact on the real estate market but, with the new policies in place across the state and country, is not out of line with the guidance and regulations now in place for other industries. However, it is important to understand just how this might impact you as a potential home buyer or seller.
For buyers, you will no longer be able to tour properties to further your home search. This means your only avenue to choose properties for purchase will come from digital media (pictures, video, etc.) and the guidance of your real estate agent who can preview homes for you during this time.
Fortunately, Red Cedar Real Estate agents, who frequently work with military clients stationed abroad, have long since implemented a system of home shopping for our clients. Using our stable of 360 video cameras and other technology, we are able to virtually walk our clients through homes and give our clients the ability to see every inch of a home they are interested in, from the safety and comfort of their homes.
Obviously, this type of process is not ideal and not for everyone. We anticipate clients with urgent housing needs will take advantage of this process, much like our military clients who don’t have the luxury of touring homes in person. Most others will opt to wait until the market (and life) return to something closer to normal before resuming their home search. This is completely understandable, but please know we are here for you if your need for housing necessitates a virtual home buying process.
For sellers, there will be a dramatic drop-off of potential buyers of your home. As many buyers will opt to pause their house hunt, this is going to put downward pressure on demand for properties as there will be more properties on the market than buyers willing to buy without seeing a home in person.
The best available solution to this issue is to provide the most in-depth and realistic representation of your home digitally so the buyers who remain active can confidently choose your home over the competition. While buyers are unable to tour properties, there has never been a time when your home’s online presentation has been more important.
Again, at Red Cedar Real Estate our years of marketing experience and focus on technology has, thankfully, kept us well ahead of the curve. We were one of the very first companies in Maryland to purchase a Matterport camera and have been utilizing this technology since it became available five years ago. In fact, we have included these virtual tours for all of our listings since. With years of experience with this platform and hundreds and hundreds of homes captured and scanned, no real estate company is more equipped to virtually present your home to the world in the best light possible.
These are obviously difficult times for all of us, and navigating the near daily changes in policies and liberties is increasingly confusing. We are here to help as best we can and will happily answer any questions or concerns you have. Stay safe and be well, and we’ll all pull through this challenge together.
In our first Coronavirus update we want to stress the complete uncertainty of how this unprecedented event will impact the real estate market today, tomorrow and in the future after the pandemic has passed. As of now we are starting to see significant signs of how the virus outbreak will affect the home buying and selling processes. Many sellers who either had their homes on the market, or were about to list their homes for sale, have postponed or removed their listings from the market for fear of having possibly contaminated strangers in their homes.
Similarly, the graph below is gathered data from requested home tours by agents representing buyers. The 2020 market was slightly outpacing 2019 (which was a brisk year for home sales) but there is a sharp decline in the last few days indicating many buyers are halting heir home search.
General sentiment from both buyers and sellers is that many people who are not in dire need to buy or sell would prefer to wait until the pandemic has subsided before resuming their search or sale.
We'll keep you posted as frequently as needed as the real estate landscape is rapidly changing.