Michigan Coronavirus: The impact of buying, selling homes during the pandemic


MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – With Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, realtors are having to find different ways to show homes to clients.

The National Association of Realtors reports that sales of existing homes fell 8.5% in March compared to the month prior. These figures are expected to worsen as the COVID-19 pandemic affects the economy.

Stephanie Jones, an associate broker for Select Realty in Marquette, said realtors cannot list or show homes in person, according to the governor’s orders.

“Platforms are the first challenge. Are we going to do a showing through Zoom, does everyone have an iPhone? Is it going to be Facebook messenger? The consumer is at a variety of levels of comfort with those. Although I do think that the consumer this month, as opposed to last month, is much more familiar with online video teleconferencing,” said Jones.

Some sellers are doing walk-throughs of their home via teleconferencing with potential buyers, the buyers’ agents, and the listing agent.

“What we’re seeing is that buyers want to get a feel for the home. So what we’re seeing is buyers and sellers right now are in conjunction with their realtor, working on positioning themselves to be ready to go when we are allowed to show homes,” said Jones.

While the national outlook for sales is down, Jones expects pent up demand will explode when restrictions are lifted.

“I will not be surprised to see multiple offers. If I’m a listing agent and I have multiple offers coming in and someone isn’t even prequalified yet, that offer will probably not be considered very highly,” said Jones.

If you are trying to sell your home during the pandemic, Jones offered advice to first declutter your home to prepare it for selling; to consolidate with a realtor and a banker; and to not go unrepresented by a realtor, as sellers could face a fine by trying to do physical showings during this time.

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