By the time you read this column we Realtors will hopefully be legally allowed to be out in force once again showing homes, condos, coops, and commercial properties with proper guidance and social distancing, masks and hand sanitizers in use as the new norm. I also see the onslaught of willing and able purchasers and sellers, aware of being properly prepared by using the same precautions, staying as safe as possible to avoid any uptick in Covid-19 infections.
During the shutdown of onsite real estate showings with only virtual tours or live open houses allowed, the majority of buyers have been actively going online to view what is available and to possibly determine which ones they will put offers on once they have a physical viewing. Inventory is currently at a 30-year low and finding your first time or dream home has had its challenges, especially since most buyers are not purchasing based on virtual tours or videos. Those who are ready to pull the trigger are lining up at the starting line and are truly ready to go out by June 10 as per the beginning of Phase 2, which allows real estate agents and buyers to come out of hibernation.
I predict that inventory will potentially decrease further since I am not sure what the mindset of sellers will be to put their homes on the market and have buyers come in to take a look. If they see neighbors selling, then that might trigger the motivation to begin the process of decluttering, painting, fix-ups, etc, unless they have prepared while being at home. I have talked with many buyers and there are those who have a lot of furniture and are searching for that home that they can fit it into or others who had bought new furniture before the pandemic and also want to find a home for their possessions.
The problem is finding an adequate home with good bones that has a great location, decent schools, (if you have children), within your price point (assuming your budget hasn’t been affected by the pandemic) as your pre-requisite is challenging enough and now in addition locating one that will work with your furniture. Many times it is a very difficult decision, so I would advise that if all those parameters are non-negotiable, then my advice is to measure all your furniture’s height, width, and depth as I have seen a few do every once in a while and be prepared well in advance of going out (just like having the all-critical lender’s letter in your possession). However, children (if you have any) are always more important than furniture, but there are situations where people treat their furniture like it is their children and will never give them up. I totally understand and I get it, but in this low inventory market, with what I believe will be a rush to a grab home, condo and coop, especially by those who will be exiting Brooklyn, Queens and other areas in the city where people live in close proximity, time will be of the essence in finding your home and getting into contract.
Many companies have come to the conclusion that employees and business owners in the tech and social media field no longer need to travel and be in an office space to work and have become somewhat comfortable working from home. My daughter, her husband (consulting for a hedge fund) and my daughter-in-law are prime examples of individuals working within major companies who have been told to work from home through the balance of 2020. There will be much greater competition for the limited supply of property so for those with cherished furniture and possessions who are adamant about finding that somewhat spacious and perfect home, my suggestion is to think twice about what is really crucial.
Sit down and make a list of what is most important to you and your family. if you could see selling your current furniture as a trade-off, then visualize shopping for either new dining room or living room furniture. Then just do it! I have seen people who have passed up great homes that I felt met the majority of my buyers’ “must-have” requirements, but, yes, the furniture wouldn’t fit exactly where they wanted it. I sympathize with them, but what’s worse, some come back and ask if the home, condo or coop is still available and most of the time the sad answer is no. So that is why I want buyers and sometimes sellers who might be downsizing to think twice about their furniture to see if that is something that would prevent them from passing up a home that they truly fell in love with.
There is a small minority, however, who has plenty of choices because their checkbooks and qualifications are such that they can pick and choose the home that fits everything they need and want. With interest rates at 50-year lows, inventory still very low and probably going lower and competition possiblyh heating up, will you let your furniture get between you and the home that you spent months or luckily even a short period of time in finding? Will it be easier to find a home for your furniture or finding furniture for a home that you love? The bottom line: The choice is always yours.
Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). Just email or snail mail (regular mail) him with your ideas and suggestions on future columns with your name, email, and cell number and he will call or email you back. For a consultation, he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com to answer any of your questions or concerns