Q: What’s Happening in Our Austin Market?

Here’s what to know about how our Austin market has fared recently.

How has COVID impacted my local market?

Where is the market going?

  • Since we have just over a couple of months of inventory, it’s still a great time to list. A few of our clients over the last two weeks have been in multiple-offer situations, and six of our buyer clients are under contract for a home this week.
  • Buyers still want to take advantage of the low interest rates.
  • While I don’t have a crystal ball, with over 30 million people filing for unemployment, we are in a recession already. I hear people say that after the pandemic we’ll be in a recession—no, we’re already in a recession. Real estate prices do not go up during a recession, so sellers are still benefiting from where values have been most recently.
  • Austin is a weird bubble, but 90 days from now, property values could go down. And, if interest rates go up, fewer buyers will qualify for homes. 

So how do you buy or sell a property virtually anyway? Are houses still being shown? How in the world does real estate happen in this climate? 

Real estate is now done virtually. 

We will cover this list and start with:

Virtual Buyer Consultations

  • To assist in maintaining social distancing, virtual buyer consultations can be held via video conferencing as an alternative to in-person meetings.

Digital Pre-approval

  • You’re able to get pre-approved online or with a virtual consultation. 

Virtual Showings and Safe Showings

  • For about one week when our shelter-in-place ordinance was initially enacted, we were only permitted to show vacant homes. After that initial week, Governor Abbott deemed residential real estate an essential business, and as long as we take safety measures, we’re allowed to show owner-occupied homes. For our company’s listings, we’re having Matterport tours done, as this allows buyers to walk through homes virtually. The buyers must visit the virtual tour first to confirm they still want to view the home in person.  We then require every visitor to wear a mask, gloves, and shoe covers, and the sellers leave the lights on and all blinds open so that nothing is touched in the house. 
  • For buyers that do not want to tour homes, we FaceTime with them or use a similar app for them to tour the home.

Virtual Listing Consultations

  • Brokers can tour potential sellers’ properties via video conference. 
  • Specific selling strategies will be discussed for today’s market; it’s more important than ever to have the right marketing plan to get top dollar in the least amount of time. 
  • It’s also important to have the correct expectations. There will be fewer visitors than there would have been two months ago, but the buyers looking are serious. They’re not looking for home decoration ideas. 

Home Valuation and Pricing

  • It’s important to price a property correctly in this market where fewer buyers are shopping.
  • We can’t predict where values will be in a couple of months; we know they certainly won’t be up with over 30 million people unemployed. 
  • Values, though, so far have remained steady.  This is because even though there are fewer buyers, there is also less inventory. 
  • This is what happened in 2008 when the rest of the country experienced a downturn in real estate values. Austin values instead plateaued, and that’s what is currently happening.   

Virtual Offers and Signing (and then when someone is buying or selling, paperwork needs to be signed) 

  • Technology allows buyers and sellers to digitally sign offers and paperwork, so no meetings must occur. 
  • When it comes to closing, there are a few options, and the most popular our clients have been choosing is to park at the curb at the title company. The closing officer keeps her distance at the car window, provides a never-been-used pen, and the signing occurs this way. In some cases, closing documents can even be signed digitally from home. 

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