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Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Real Estate Market During the Coronavirus Pandemic Main Photo

Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Real Estate Market During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: March 27, 2020 by Marisa Koepp

The Coronavirus pandemic has created a severe global disruption creating uncertainty for many on what is to come. Here in the state of Wisconsin, a "Safer at Home Order" was declared by our Governor Tony Evers except those engaging in "Essential Activities." Real Estate and affiliated businesses including but not limited to appraisers, home inspectors and title services fall under this category. Also included are services such as plumbing, HVAC, electricians, carpentry, etc. All needed to move a real estate transaction forward. 
Even though these services are marked essential, we are all advised to continue maintaining social distancing wherever possible including using technology to avoid meeting in person. Here are 5 things you should know about the real estate market during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

1. Mostly everything involved in a real estate transaction can be done remotely. 

If you are a buyer in the market right now, contrary to what you may believe, mostly everything can be done without meeting anybody in person. From virtual tours, to getting pre-approved, most companies have systems in place for these services to be done electronically.

- A few face to face interactions you may encounter include seeing a home you are only seriously considering. Your agent may be able to show you the home in person as long as the seller's are allowing in person showings. Currently, sellers who have their home listed in MLS do not have to allow in person showings, however, if that is the case, you should see this noted in the public remarks.

- Once you get an accepted offer, if your offer is contingent on a home inspection, instead of attending the entire inspection, your inspector may advise you to come at the end so he/she can summarize the inspection while practicing safe social distancing.

- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are allowing desk top appraisals (no site inspection) for Owner Occupied purchases up to 97% loan to value and 2nd home/investment purchase up to 85% loan to value. Appraisers will determine if the standard interior appraisal is not prudent during this time when credible results can be obtained by a lower scope appraisal.

2. Closings are still happening! 

Closings are still taking place and in most cases, closings are not delayed due to the coronavirus. During the closing, only the signers, along with the closing agent are allowed in the closing room. There may be an extended wait time as they work to sanitize the room prior to your entrance. Agents and any additional persons may be asked not to attend. Sellers are encouraged to pre sign at this time. 

The state of Wisconsin is working to simplify the closing process. Governor Evers signed the remote online notarization marketplace bill on March 2nd, 2020. The bill was influenced by the MBA/ALTA model legislation that has become the national framework for online notarization adoption. This bill will change how we close our real estate transactions moving forward giving people an opportunity to close remotely. 

Remote Online Notarization (RON) Marketplace Bill

3. Yes, you can still list your home. 

It can be tricky to determine when the best time is to list your home, especially in todays world. If you must list your home, do it knowing that in person showings will be limited only to those who are seriously looking. It may take more time to find a buyer, but there are certainly still many buyers out there. At Coldwell Banker Elite, we will do everything we can to market your home through great photography, online video tours and aerial footage.

If you are not in a rush to sell your home, it may be in your best interest to wait until the pandemic stabilizes, especially if you have a compromised immune system. It may be a great time to tackle some of those projects you've been putting off to ensure your home is show ready when you are ready to list. 

4. Yes, it's still a great time to buy. 

As I am writing this, interest rates are still at an all time low. According to bank the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 3.75%. These numbers are expected to decrease in the coming months, however, nothing is certain. 

Lenders are being extra cautious when it comes to verifying income and are also being cautious if your main source of income is not from an "essential" career as determined by Governor Evers. 

With this in mind, competition from a buyer's viewpoint can be appealing. With less buyers out there, that means there is overall less competition for you when submitting your offer. 

5. At the end of the day, make sure to work with an experienced professional!

The real estate market is always changing and that's why it's always best to work with an experienced professional. When choosing your agent, make sure to choose somebody who has experience with downturns. Somebody who can help you navigate through this turbulent environment and somebody who has your best interest in mind. Do your homework and seek experienced agents! 

Additional Resources:

US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus Website

Bank Rate Website

Governor Ever's Covid-19 Safer At Home Order

WRA Covid-19

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