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How Will COVID-19 Affect Your Real Estate Plans?

We are all feeling a level of uncertainty as the COVID-19/coronavirus has started to impact our daily lives, with many of you working from home now, with students facing school closings, and with most of us making grocery store runs to stock up on essentials.

First and foremost, let’s all do our part to keep our communities safe and that you and your families remain healthy and well. (See the chart below.) And if you have the capacity to help an elderly or immunocompromised neighbor or family member in any way, then please consider reaching out to them.

In addition to any health concerns, the coronavirus will have an impact on our financial lives, including our real estate decisions. We wanted to give you some information that could help you at this time.

Since the situation is evolving and likely will continue to change as time goes on, we plan to update you as needed through our weekly emails and on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DwellRB/. However, never hesitate to directly contact us at any time with your questions or concerns.

As Always, We Are Here to Help You

We have been selling real estate since 2002, helping clients buy and sell in DC, Maryland and Virginia during the best of times as well as during several dips, and two major recessions.  Our recommendations and strategies change based on how the market is performing, what our client’s goals are, and what their financial capabilities are for them.

During our 18 years of helping clients make the best real estate decisions possible, one of the core values that is always at the forefront of our business, no matter how the market is doing, is that buying or selling a home “right now” isn’t always the best course of action.

We carefully look at the reality of what the local real estate market is doing and the direction it’s trending, and we pair that with what our clients tell us about their life and financial needs and goals.

There is not a one size fits all, “yes, you should buy now!” or “yes, you should sell now!” answer for everyone, even when the market is booming, and especially in times of volatility and uncertainty.

Recommendations for Buyers, Sellers, and Homeowners

The recommendations below are based on today’s current situation (March 17, 2020) and it will most definitely change.

Our recommendations are not for everyone and anyone specifically, but rather they take into account what certain groups of clients, both past and current, can consider right now that could help them with their real estate goals.

In order to adequately help you make good decisions for your own particular situation, please reach out to us so we can give you the best personal advice possible.

We are also proactively reaching out to our clients to make sure they have a plan for moving forward, including how to take precautions at this time during their search or listing.

Mortgage Relief: If you are unable to pay your mortgage for any reason due to the coronavirus and its financial effect, you can ask for mortgage relief from your mortgage servicer. Let us know how we can help or if you have questions.  This is one reason we are advocates for homeownership, there are no programs that protect or help renters that we are aware of.

Stock Market Volatility: News of the spreading coronavirus has caused the stock market to decline, causing record low mortgage rates.  The lenders we are talking to all say the same thing—interest rates are very volatile right now.  One day we are seeing historical lows, the next day they are back up again.  Continue to expect volatility in interest rates, while still experiencing historic lows.

What does this mean for homeowners and/or home buyers?

  • If you own a home, we recommend contacting a lender to discuss refinancing to get a lower rate. This could save you hundreds of dollars a month and thousands over time.  If you have an interest rate above 3.5%, please be in touch with us and we can recommend lenders that can work with you.  Many lenders are waiving appraisals if you have enough equity in your home, and this can speed up the refinancing process for you and lower costs.
  • If you are a buyer, the lower rates can make it more affordable to purchase a home. However, many sellers may be holding off listing their home or holding open houses at this time. We are here to help you navigate the current market and take any necessary precautions if you want to pursue a new home.
  • The volatility of the stock market could affect your portfolio and finances, affecting your plan to purchase a home or sell your home in the coming year. We understand if there is some hesitancy on your part but we are here to help you determine a plan to make it happen.  Timing will be critical and we can discuss our recommendations based on your particular situation, so please reach out to schedule a call or meeting.
  • Whether you’re a homeowner, buyer or seller, we want to offer some reassurance about the economic strength of the DC metro area. As we’ve experienced in the past, Washington, DC leads the nation in continued economic growth, even during times of a recession. We are always one of the strongest local economies in the nation; and even through the worst real estate market in history, we fared well compared to other cities.

Looking Forward and Being Prepared

The news is changing daily on the coronavirus, and its effect on our local real estate market could fluctuate in the coming weeks. We will continue to monitor the situation and its impact on the real estate market. We will keep our clients updated, but don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.

Life is always full of uncertainties but if you have specific goals or even upcoming life events that are prompting you to buy or sell a home in the coming months or year, you should move forward with those plans without fear.  Even in the worst real estate market in history during the mid-2000s, our clients successfully bought and sold, and prospered greatly.

Being prepared is essential no matter what, and together we can create a strategy that will work with your schedule and budget, and consider any financial changes to your portfolio.  It’s about making smart decisions, timed correctly, and still accomplishing your goals.

It’s understandable that some things can’t be delayed in life — people will continue to have babies, get married, relocate, or retire — and we are here to help you make the best real estate decision for you and your unique situation.

Now more than ever, you need to surround yourself with professionals who have weathered these kinds of economic storms in the past and have not just survived, but thrived, and helped clients do the same.  That is who we have always been and will continue to be for you.