Buying and Selling Denver Real Estate during Covid-19

Dated: 03/25/2020

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STRAIGHT FROM A Denver, COLORADO REALTOR: What I Have Learned During This Outbreak (so far)

The following is an email that I sent this week to my VIP email list.

I sat down over two weeks ago to do my normal monthly metro Denver market recap to email to all of you, but that was before the virus hit the fan. Although the February market was incredibly strong in Denver, as with nearly everything at the moment, what I knew before Coronavirus is less important (but NOT less relevant) than what I’ve decided to share with you today! I want to share my thoughts and what I’ve gathered and learned these past weeks about refinancing your current mortgage and also about buying and selling in our current market here in Colorado.

REFINANCING

My husband and I are in the middle of the refi process right now. I’m ecstatic that we locked in the rate during those nutty few days about two weeks ago when rates tumbled to the lowest point they have ever been, and if you did the same thing I'm very happy for you! In our case, securing the rate was a “perfect storm” combination of staying atop of news and trends (I’m a news junkie in addition to being a data geek, and these things are helpful sometimes!), being willing to call lenders and being ready to act quickly, and recognizing that the rates may quickly rebound. In the last couple of weeks they have rebounded, quickly and steadily rising. This is a function of many things, including the multiple fiscal stimulus packages the government is introducing, the bond markets, and the general overwhelm and lending limitations that mortgage companies are experiencing. My intent right now is not to tell you what you missed out on a couple of weeks ago, but instead to remind you that preparation is key. All of this temporary uncertainty will be worked through in the coming days and weeks, and no one knows what will happen with mortgage rates. If you plan to remain in your home and are interested in refinancing, my suggestion is to call your lender (or multiple lenders to compare services) and to complete the pre-approval process. That way if rates tumble again, you’re ready to act and in a strong position to lock.

This graph is meant to be comical. You get the idea!

 

 

SELLING, BUYING & INVESTING

Now onto buying and selling in our current market, if you do not plan to stay in your home. Or, if you are ready to expand your portfolio with real estate investments.

Let’s touch upon investing first. Real estate investors in America are in very, very good shape. Investors are not only those who hold tens or hundreds of rental units throughout the city. Investors are also your neighbors, friends and coworkers. Some hold one rental property, maybe others have a handful. But ALL of them started by purchasing their FIRST investment property. I’m speaking of investors who buy to hold for awhile. Not flippers, that’s super tough right now in the Denver market and I wouldn’t generally recommend it in our current environment. But if you have rentals (or you are ready to buy properties to hold for some years as rentals), you are confidently watching property values continue to rise year after year. This, plus historically low interest rates and an insatiable housing demand equals nice returns. If I can help you find your next investment, now is a great time to be paying attention while everyone else is comfortable at home. I’m paying attention! Get in touch with me, bring your portfolio goals to our socially-distant virtual meeting and let’s make a plan.

Buying and selling in the Denver market is hot. Even as I type this, I know some of you are reading it and wondering what I sprinkled into my Wheaties this morning. But it’s true. Let’s look at some numbers.

Last month, during the month of February 2020 and before Coronavirus was a widely-known name, 1,062 new listings hit the market and 1,925 properties went Under Contract in our market. This is all home types and all price points, across the larger metro region of Denver, Jefferson, Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties. During this same time period 3,437 homes closed. Meaning, sellers got their money and buyers moved into new homes.

THIS MONTH so far in March (from March 1 until today), 2,211 new listings came to market by sellers who are ready to sell a home. 3,460 homes have gone Under Contract (I can hear you now: “whaaaaaaattt?!”) and 2,593 contracts closed. That translates to 2,593 sellers who are still getting their money and 2,593 buyers who are still moving into their dream homes.

Yep, it’s been HOT. People are selling (although nowhere near enough people) and people are most definitely buying. If we look more broadly at the past year, you can see the forces of supply and demand very much at work.

 

 

So, what does it look like to buy and sell during the time of Covid-19?

1) As with the info about interest rates above, PREPARATION IS THE KEY. I can’t say it enough. Consider the extra time you have right now as an opportunity. Things are changing day by day, if not hour by hour. I tell my clients that we need to put one foot in front of the other, day by day. Do what YOU can do to best prepare and ready yourself. Take the extra time at home to get your home ready to sell. Declutter, clean, make repairs, clean some more. Let’s work out a calendar so that when this dust begins to clear in a few weeks, you are ahead of the game and ready to list before your competition is ready to list. And on the buying side, get pre-approved. Use the extra time to drive neighborhoods at various times of the day to familiarize yourself with the nearby amenities. Do your online research about communities, associations, and schools. Know where your earnest money will come from. And, most importantly, DO NOT SPEND A LOT OF MONEY or get behind in your payments. Prepare, prepare, prepare. So that you, too, are ahead of the game when everyone else is just emerging from their homes when the quarantine orders are lifted.

2) Of course, as I write this, my phone is dinging and see that Mayor Hancock of Denver has announced a stay-at-home order. A client texted because she also saw the order. She wonders what this means for her family. Real estate in Denver right now, as in many other major markets around the country is a day-by-day adventure in these unbelievable times. But people still move, and still need to sell and buy homes. The “how” of how that happens is what is dynamic. It’s incredibly helpful to work with local real estate professionals who commit to staying one step ahead. That’s me, by the way!

3) Everyone (buyers, sellers, agents, everyone) must go into transactions realizing that the normal timelines for real estate deals in our market will look different in the coming few weeks, at least. Everything will take longer than it used to take. It takes the involvement of so many individuals and companies to see a real estate transaction through from the beginning to the closing table, always, and in the best of times. Not only sellers and buyers, but agents, brokers, assistants, mortgage lenders, underwriters, contractors, handymen and women, tradespeople, inspectors, appraisers, landscapers, painters, house cleaners, movers, sometimes CPAs and attorneys, etc. etc. Each of these people are also affected, individually and in their own businesses by Coronavirus and what is occurring in our world. The process will very likely take longer than 30-45 days to complete. Everyone should expect this, and plan for it.

4) We are in uncharted waters. It’s a very different story than before, authored by a virus the world has never seen. Flexibility and cooperation is the name of the game. My job is to carry out my duties to you and, as your agent, to work in your best interest…always. Simultaneous, today more than ever, every party choosing to become involved in a real estate transaction is best-served to embrace the notion that we are all in this together. Every party in a transaction should share a common goal (see above above sellers getting their money and buyers moving into dream homes).

5) Virtual showings will likely become more of a thing in the immediate and short term, such as through FaceTime or Zoom or Skype or WhatsApp. There will be strict rules around physical showings and Open Houses (Open Houses are on hold for awhile for my clients), and strict practices around hygiene and sanitation.

6) Best Practices and City/Regional/National mandates change constantly. If you are willing to be flexible, the potential rewards are great.

To wrap up, I know that many things are uncertain right now. I understand that if there is a time when you most need various experts in various fields to calm your nerves or assist as you consider your options, now is one of those times. Allow me to be your expert, as well as a voice of reason and your sounding board. I’m here when you need me. With challenges and with change come opportunities. Don’t hesitate to reach out by phone/text/or email. If I get a lot of the same questions from friends, family and clients, I’ll answer it either through email or online video.

 And if you’re in need of one of these ^^^^ during these temporary periods of social distancing and quarantine, I still have a limited supply. Let me know and I’ll drop one in the mail.

Stay safe! All my best to you and to yours. And let’s talk about your real estate goals for today, and for after this pandemic is well in the rearview mirror.

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Jamie DeBrosse

My name is Jamie DeBrosse and I am a REALTORĀ® in the Cherry Creek School district and surrounding cities. My real estate expertise is partnering with Denver, Colorado area home sellers to strategical....

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