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Thoughts About Coronavirus, Home Buying and Home Selling in Arlington, Virginia

As I write this post, my thoughts are with everyone in Arlington County and throughout our country – as we all grapple with the uncertainty, stress, and worry that Coronavirus has brought into our worlds.

We don’t know how long this will go on.

But we do know that this is a moment that will change almost everything. So I am trying to figure out how to change with it as a way to continue to help my clients.

It is my sincere hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy, and hunkering down as we all work together to get through this era of #QuarantineLife and social distancing.

I read somewhere that the term “social distancing” should be relabeled “physical distancing” because, during this time of self-isolation, it’s important to know we can STILL remain social remotely (rather than socially distanced) thanks to social networks like Facebook and Reddit, text, email, and video technologies like FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts.

It’s an interesting point and one that inspires the spirit of this post.

In an effort to be helpful, and provide advice to those who were actively selling or buying a home in Arlington County, VA, before Coronavirus descended upon our lives, this post is for you.

I want to help you navigate through the many questions buyers and sellers I have talked too are having about real estate in Arlington during the Coronavirus outbreak.

So let’s dive right in.

I’ve received a lot of calls from clients over the last few days asking whether they should proceed with their home purchase or sale. 

The answer *today* is yes (although that could change tomorrow, or even tonight).

Below you’ll find the reasons behind my today/yes answer.

While the number of new listings coming on the market in Arlington and the surrounding area has remained steady (as of today), I expect that the supply of homes for sale will eventually slow.

And, in talking with my clients and other agents it seems that, at this time, most buyers and sellers do not regard seeing a few individual homes with their agent as a significant risk.

In fact, a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors last week found that concerns about COVID-19 are not decreasing buyer interest – at least not yet. Just 16% said buyer interest had decreased due to coronavirus. And, nearly nine out of 10 (about 87%) said coronavirus hadn’t impacted the number of houses on the market.

However, I expect that to change rapidly for people who want to sell a home they are living in.

Here’s how I am currently adapting my real estate practices:

3 Changes For Home Buyers

  1. Seeing homes for sale: Rather than me driving you to look at a home, we will visit homes in separate cars. And while at the home, we will wear disposable gloves and shoe covers and remain the recommended six feet apart.
  2. Exclusivity: I will ensure that we’re the only ones touring a home at a given time.
  3. Protecting you & making efficient use of our time: I can tour and video homes just for you to make sure that you only physically visit homes that are of real interest.

3 Changes For Home Sellers 

  1. Virtual listing presentations: Before I can sell a home, I need to sell myself to you. Instead of an in-person meeting, we can conference call, Skype, FaceTime or Facebook Live or Zoom teleconference. I will also send my presentation and other relevant information via email prior to our virtual “meeting.”
  2. Virtual open houses and tours: The real estate tradition of attending Sunday open houses must end for now. To replicate that experience, I will conduct Facebook Live tours of the house for potential buyers where I can answer questions in real time. I will also continue to provide my sellers with amazing professional photos, 3D virtual tours, and a unique website just for your home.
  3. Buyer visits to your home: Buyers will want to see your home in person before making an offer, so I will provide disposable gloves and shoe covers for potential buyers to wear while they tour your home.

Additional considerations for home buyers and home sellers

For buyers:

Interest rates are the lowest they have been, ever

Over the 50 years rates, have been tracked they have never been lower.

And you may face less buyer competition, as some people will put their search on hold. If you feel confident that your income will not be affected by this health crisis, and you have your down payment ready to go, this could be the perfect time for you to jump in!

Conversely, if you are worried about your finances, now may be a time to step back. 

For sellers:

There is a huge shortage of inventory in Arlington and the housing market is still going strong. 

Buyers still need to live their lives, whether it is making room for a new family member, retiring, or moving closer to loved ones. Needs and the demand for homes will not change.

For both buyers and sellers: 

Remember that, except for the actual closing – which buyers and sellers have now been doing separately – the rest of the home buying and home selling transaction process like finalizing the sales contract can be all be done electronically and virtually!

Final thoughts

We’re going to get through this, and when we do, I want you better prepared to make wise real estate investments.

In the meantime, I encourage you to be smart and follow the health guidelines through the CDC, WHO and Arlington County and take the recommended preventive actions for yourself and your families!

Please let me know if I can answer any questions or be of any assistance.

Thank you all and please stay safe.

~ Meg

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5 Tips For Buying A Home In Arlington, VA’s, Seller’s Market

If you are looking to buy a home in Arlington, you are competing in the hottest seller’s market in the country, according to Realtor.com and the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

Why is the Arlington, VA, housing market so challenging for homebuyers? There were 18 percent fewer homes for sale in January versus a year ago. There are a number of reasons why there are more buyers than sellers, including:

  • The effect of the new Amazon headquarters (HQ2).
  • Continuing low interest rates on mortgages.
  • One of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
  • Homeowners are staying in their homes longer.

Read more