We are now about a month into the COVID-19 crisis in British Columbia. We’ve (virtually) caught up with Realtor Mark Koch, of Remax Nanaimo, to get his perspective on the current real estate market to assist separating couples navigate the turbulent times created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mark Koch: First off, I just wanted to extend my thanks to Duncan Allen Law for the opportunity to help provide some insight into the changing dynamics of the Real Estate industry. We here at Mark Koch & Associates and Remax of Nanaimo also want to extend our appreciation and gratitude to all essential workers and anyone who continues to help others through these uncertain times.
Q: Have you noticed any changes in the real estate market in Nanaimo and surroundings areas?
A: Yes, absolutely. As with all aspects of our lives the Real Estate market is no different and has been seeing implications of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Q: Are you seeing a significant decline in interested buyers?
A: Yes, there has been a decline in the number interested buyers. However, I don’t think it’s because people are no longer interested in buying or making transitions in Real Estate. I think the current state of affairs has most people on hold until things level out. There are still buyers out there and the industry is taking proper precautions to accommodate showings when reasonable. But the majority of buyers seem to be holding back a little.
Q: Are you seeing a drop in real estate values?
A: We haven’t yet begun to see a decline in values, although time will tell. Currently the slow down has not been a result of an economic decline but more from an inability to actually physically view properties or facilitate new listings. Depending on how long things take, and what the overall economic impact of the virus is, will ultimately influence the Real Estate market and values. For further insight as things progress, I’m always happy to provide updates and encourage anyone to reach out with specific questions.
Q: Is now a good time to list or should people wait (and how long)?
A: There are a few factors, but as things currently stand in the early stages of April, I would generally say it’s not the best time to be listing.
That said, there are still buyers out there and with limited inventory on the market there can still be some opportunities to sell. Real Estate is deemed an essential service we can still facilitate listing for those who need to move forward. With innovative technologies like our 3D virtual tours, narrative Videos, floor plans and professional photography we can qualify interested buyers better than ever, limiting the number of viewings down to only interested buyers.
Vacant properties are also an exception as they are generally easy to show with less hesitation from buyers and Realtors to accessing the property. And again, with limited options for the buyers who are out there, there is opportunity to achieve sales.
Q: If I don’t list now, is there anything I could be doing now to prepare to list my home later?
A: Absolutely, this is a great time to be getting the “Honey Do” list done in preparation to sell! This is an ideal time to be doing Spring cleaning and property clean-up to have the home and yard looking its best. Details can often make all difference in how a home presents. Depending on capabilities; fresh paint, flooring, trim work and yard maintenance can dramatically impact the saleability and value of a home. Decluttering and decorating are important parts of the process, so use this time to get ahead.
Q: Given the governments recommendations to stay home, how do buyers look at houses?
A: As Real Estate has been deemed an essential service, we are still able to still facilitate showings. However, we are generally requiring more time/notice to get things done, as well as a higher level of qualifying a property before it is approved for viewings. We recommend “drive-bys” and external showings of a property prior to going into the home. 3D tours and floor plans are also available and help to limit the number of houses that need to be accessed.
Q: What steps are being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in a real estate transaction?
A: The Real Estate industry is following all recommendations and guidelines provided by the BC Health Authority regarding social distancing and appropriate precautions. When showings do happen, good health is always confirmed by all parties and a request is put out to the sellers to wipe down and sanitize any high contact surfaces. The showing Realtor will generally wear gloves and be the only one opening doors, cupboards or turning on lights for the buyers. Appropriate distance is always maintained, and it is suggested that the homeowner re-sanitize any high contact surfaces following the viewing.
Q: What recommendations do you have for buyers during this time?
A: Connect with your lender to check current rates and enquire about any changing dynamics in the banking world to make sure you know exactly where you stand when it comes to financing. Precautions will continue to be followed and buyers can continue to make purchases. My belief is that things will eventually start to get back normal and there may be some pent-up demand so have your ducks in a row and be ready for when new listings start coming on the market. Reach out to your Realtor to answer any questions and develop a plan for moving forward when the time is right.
Q: What recommendations do you have for sellers during this time?
A: Everything takes a little longer these days so be prepared and give lots of notice. Contact your Realtor to talk about options and develop a plan for properly marketing the home and qualifying perspective buyers before allowing showings. As suggested, there may be some pent-up demand coming out of this so being ready and ahead of the curve when things do begin to level out could be an advantage.
To contact Mark for more information:
Cell: 250-714-6959 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: markkoch.ca
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