**Update: As of Thursday, May 7th, 2020 real estate is back to work with new safety restrictions**
Since the governor extended the stay at home order, it will be a while before we get back to functioning normally. If you were planning to buy or sell soon, you are probably curious about how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected real estate.
Real estate agents are not allowed to travel for work and can only work remotely. Buyers looking at homes is considered non-essential travel. This means no meeting clients in person and no looking at houses. The good news is that inspectors, lenders, and title companies are still functioning normally, aside from modifications for proper social distancing. Transactions in process had minimal interruptions as long as buyers were still working. Layoffs have caused some problems though.
Realtors can still list houses for sale and buyers can still buy them. Many things in real estate can be done online and remotely. The main restrictions are that buyers and agents cannot see houses in person and sellers cannot have professional photos done. Sellers can take their own photos and video with guidance from their Realtor. They can even do virtual showings of the house through video chat. The governor just recently clarified that buyers may attend a home inspection, but not travel to a house for any other reason. This means if someone has an urgent situation, transactions are still able to be done.
Because real estate activities are limited right now, our new listings comparing to the same time last year are down by about 80% in the greater Grand Rapids area. Since buyers cannot see homes in person (except at the inspection) and sellers cannot have professional photos done, many are opting to hold off on buying and selling, not to mention the concern of safety.
Traditionally, March and April are two of the busiest months of the year, the peak of the spring real estate market. Although some buyers may fall out of the market due to income or job loss, most local agents are predicting a strong seller's market once we get past the Corona virus outbreak. Being shut down at our peak selling time of year is building a lot of pent-up demand. Higher price ranges may be more affected and see less demand, but the most in-demand ranges won't notice much of a difference.
In summary, if your situation is urgent, you can still sell your home with some restrictions. If your situation is not urgent and you prefer to wait for restrictions to ease, now is a great time to prepare. Sellers can clean, organize, and still consult with an agent for advice and questions. Buyers can still get pre-approved, do online research, and consult with an agent. Be prepared when we can finally go places freely again. Hopefully, our environment will be safe enough by the beginning of May and we can move on to our new normal.
For more details on how the stay at home order affects real estate, check out the Michigan Realtors website https://mirealtors.com/Industry-Resources. Scroll down to see what selling and buying in the current market would entail.
Great info on everything real estate.