Historically, spring ushers in most real estate agents’ busiest season. But the COVID-19 crisis emerged and dampened housing markets across the country. For most, the daily reality looks drastically different than the beginning of 2020. Though every real estate agent’s situation differs, several scenarios have become common for many, and a typical day in the life of a real estate agent during the pandemic might unfold like this…
Since most states have some form of stay at home orders in place through late April or mid May, about 97 percent of the United States population currently wakes up to another day of sheltering in place. Less than 20 states with stay home orders exempt real estate agents as essential businesses. So most real estate agents will not go to an office for work or to a house about to be listed for sale. In the two weeks ending March 29 and April 5, the volume of newly listed properties declined by 34 and 31 percent over last year respectively.
With uncertainty in the housing market and worry for health risks and financial losses, real estate agents are dealing with unprecedented stresses. A national poll by the American Psychiatry Association reveals the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on mental health: more than one-third of Americans say the coronavirus is seriously impacting their mental health, nearly 60 percent of adults are concerned that the virus will have a serious negative impact on their finances, and more than two-thirds of fear that COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on the economy. An important part of everyone’s day during the crisis should be attention to one’s mental well-being and self-care.
The typical real estate agent probably will check various market reports and industry insights to assess the state of the real estate market and learn of relevant changes. For example, agents might learn more about how the average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.31 percent the second week of April, putting it three basis points away from setting a new all-time low. Or, they might learn that though construction started on new homes in the United States dropped 22 percent in March, the biggest decline since March 1984, the number of new starts was still higher (1.4 percent) than a year ago.
Existing and potential clients likely are wondering whether to buy or sell their homes. Clients in the midst of closing could be nervous about delays. Consumer sentiment and confidence levels steadily declined over the month of March and continue plunging to historically low levels. One index that tracks’ consumers expectations on the economy and personal finances dropped nearly 12 points in March, the fourth largest one-month decline in almost 50 years. The typical day for a real estate agent during the crisis involves answering client questions and easing anxiety where possible.
Keep Existing Deals Moving Along
When possible, real estate agents complete paperwork and home buying steps as much as they are able, given most of the associated businesses necessary for closing, such as appraisers, home inspectors, and others, are closed for now or operating with restricted resources.
Real estate agents with properties still listed on the market might not hold a traditional open house due to social distancing measures in place, but they might take advantage of technologies available to conduct a virtual showing. A virtual tour shows viewers a pre-recorded or 3D layout of the property that allows interested buyers to explore all areas of the space remotely, with or without an agent available to answer any questions live.
The right fit between home buyers and real estate agents always has been important, but now more than ever, perhaps, connections matter. Let LemonBrew connect you (remotely, of course, for now).