COVID’s Effect on Real Estate

The pandemic has had a significant impact on almost every industry in the country, and the real estate market is no different. Here is how COVID-19 has affected the real estate market and what that means for buyers and sellers of Burlingame homes.

How it Has Changed the Market

In nearly every part of the country, a hot seller’s market developed soon after the pandemic hit. This was due partly to the lack of inventory on the market, as potential sellers were hesitant to allow strangers into their homes or make a big move while their future was uncertain. The low mortgage interest rates dropped to stimulate consumer spending and give the economy a boost, drove buyers to look for homes, further reducing inventory. Though the market has become more balanced in many parts of the country, the Burlingame real estate market has remained competitive. Homes are selling for an average of 3.49% over the asking price, and the median sale price is $2.49 million, up more than 40% from the previous year.

Another trend that occurred shortly after the pandemic hit was that people began leaving metropolitan areas to settle in suburbs or smaller communities where they could afford larger houses with more outdoor space. This trend was prompted by the fact that millions of employees had the opportunity to work from home and no longer had to live within commuting distance of their offices. Burlingame homes became very popular with those who wanted to leave the high prices of San Francisco behind and take advantage of the more laid-back suburban lifestyle that comes with a town of only 30,000 people.

How it Has Changed Home Buying

Buying a home has changed in a number of different ways since the pandemic hit. While many buyers already looked at houses online during the buying journey before COVID, that number skyrocketed during the pandemic. In 2020, more than 43% of buyers looked at properties online as the very first step in the home search process before they even contacted a real estate agent. Two-thirds of buyers in 2020 made an offer on a home before they’d even seen it in person, something that was far less common pre-pandemic. Buyers are also conducting many of the necessary meetings involved in the home-buying process, such as those with their Burlingame real estate agent and mortgage lender, virtually rather than in-person to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.  

Of course, the strong seller’s market has also changed buying behavior in the past year. To compete for Burlingame homes, buyers have been making offers well over the asking price, waiving more contingencies, and making larger down payments. They’re also going on more home tours to find a home that fits their needs, though most of those tours are virtual in nature.

How it Has Changed Selling Homes

Sellers have had a bit easier time than buyers in this real estate market, but many of their behaviors still had to change. Those listing during the pandemic have had to budget for extensive professional photography and videography of their homes so they could be marketed online to buyers who chose the homes they were interested in based on online ads or listings. Those who did show their homes in person have limited the number as much as possible by requiring preapproval letters or other qualifications and required protective gear such as masks and gloves for all those who entered their homes.

Sellers have also begun to rely heavily on technology to complete the selling process with as little in-person contact as possible. This included virtual open houses and showings, curbside and no-touch closings, and meeting with real estate agents and other professionals via Zoom instead of face-to-face.

Sellers have also had to learn how to deal with multiple offers and bidding wars between interested buyers—something many of them had never experienced before. Working with an experienced Burlingame real estate agent is the key to stress-free negotiations and ultimately choosing the offer that best suits the situation.

How to Buy Homes During COVID

What do all these changes mean for buyers who are still interested in purchasing Burlingame real estate? Here are some tips for successful buying:

Get preapproved

Many sellers in this market will not even consider an offer from a prospective buyer who has not been preapproved for a mortgage. Make this one of your first steps in the process before you even begin looking at homes for sale.

◾ Make quick decisions

Homes often sell just a few days after being listed in a hot seller’s market. If you take some time to think about your offer, you could lose out to a more motivated buyer.

◾ Get access to listings early

When you work with an experienced agent, you can get access to homes that are not yet listed for sale (or won’t be listed at all.) This can give you a jump on the competition.


How to Sell Homes During COVID

Ready to sell so you can relocate or buy a bigger home in Burlingame? Here are some tips that will help:

◾ Price your home fairly

Yes, it’s tempting to inflate your asking price in this market, but setting a fair price is the best way to drive traffic to your listing and encourage offers. Ask your agent to do a comparative market analysis to settle on the best price for your home.

◾ Be ready to move

Your home could quickly sell within a few days of being listed, so make sure you have a Plan B if you’ve not yet purchased a new home to move into.

◾ Invest in online marketing

Make sure you budget for high-quality images and video so you can create an online marketing plan that will effectively show off your home to those viewing it virtually.

Though the real estate industry is different than it was pre-pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t still successfully buy or sell a home. Work with an experienced Burlingame real estate agent like David Tapper to ensure your transaction is stress-free.

 

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