“We really need to be there for them.” COVID-19
Here is a great article on how COVID-19 is affecting the real estate market from Simcoe.com. Faris Team has adapted to help clients buy and sell at this time. Here’s what you need to know.
Mark Faris is already seeing the financial effect of COVID-19 on homeowners.
A few residents who have recently lost their jobs due to the global pandemic have approached Faris’s brokerage to help sell their homes.
“We’re there to help them through this,” the Faris Team founder told Simcoe.com in a telephone interview. “We have those calls that are coming in. If we’re not there for them, they’re going to be in a bind. We’re sad to get those calls. People need a place to live. The reality is, people are going through a relocation and they have to move. Financially, they just can’t facilitate mortgage payments.”
This is likely one of the reasons the real estate industry was recently deemed essential by the Ontario government, Faris said.
You might think the local market has dropped off a cliff over the last month, but thanks to a strong start to the year, there’s reason to believe properties will still sell amid this crisis. Multiple offers are coming in for many homes.
“We still see a strong appetite for purchasing,” Faris said. “There’s a decline in appointments and web traffic, but the buyers out there are better qualified.”
Barrie and District Association of Realtors (BDAR) president Robin Jones says there were about 200 active listings in the city as of March 31. Of those, 180 were available prior to the release of the province’s essential businesses list.
However, properties are still selling for close to listing price.
“The activity of new listings has slowed down,” he said. “The goal is to work with clients to hold the market steady and support the government’s initiatives by staying at home. Typically, it’s our spring market, and this is when we get a massive influx of listings. The realtors are working with clients to say that if it’s not urgent, let’s hold off or go virtual. We’re in a situation of deferral.”
Realtors are also taking several steps to protect themselves and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Faris Team staff work remotely and are encouraged to practice physical distancing. They’ve cancelled in-person open houses, but will offer virtual home evaluations and tours.
“You can purchase a home from the comfort of your own home,” Faris said. “You can do everything without actually leaving. We believe we’re providing a safe environment for staff and clients.”
Many others have headed BDAR’s advice and taken a similar path to Faris. Viewings have dropped by about 75 per cent in recent weeks. Some brokers are asking owners to leave the home prior to the arrival of visitors and setting up sanitation stations at the front door.
Jones hopes many listings pegged for the spring market will simply be pushed to later in the year.
“People are nervous because they don’t know how long this is going to last,” he said. “But there’s a lot that realtors can do to continue their business without actually showing and listing houses. This is an opportunity to shine and touch base with people they’ve dealt with in the past.”