Call them predictions or preparations. What will the impact be of the Coronavirus on the Santa Clarita real estate market in the coming weeks?
In all seriousness, it's going to depend on how many people will be affected and for how long.
I see this as a two-part problem.
First Problem - the workforce out of work
If the powers that be keep people out of work long enough then the impact will be much worse on the housing market.
It will include people not being able to make their mortgage payments. Homeowners will also be unable to keep up with the basic upkeep on their residences.
If you have not called your financial institution to ask if there are any forbearance arrangements that your bank has put into place to provide relief. There are also some other banks that are offering deferment agreement for the homeowners that they serve.
The money they do have, if any saved or as part of the relief package, will be used for ultra essential items - such as food.
Second - the infected affected
This is going to be more of a time issue. While those who are going to get the virus will become carriers and they themselves may get sick and even worse, there will be those people in Santa Clarita who are not going to be impacted.
However, overall, with the quarantine, we are all impacted to a point. Those of us with our own businesses, even us Real Estate agents, feel the impact because most people are not focused on buying or selling homes at this time.
In fact, the real estate market has slowed down to a crawl. While we do see listings entering the housing market for sale, there is a definite slowdown of those who had their focus on housing and real estate.
I can see this by the lack of phone calls received and the traffic to the top Local Santa Clarita real estate website slowed.
This pandemic is a massive problem. The government put into play a massive Coronavirus help bill at 2.2 Trillion Dollars.
And - there is another bill on the horizon to help.
It's a nice thought and I sincerely hope all of this taxpayer money goes to the best places and not in the politician's pockets - but I digress.
The Santa Clarita COVID19 market predictions
Currently, open houses have been stopped altogether in the City of Santa Clarita and Greater Los Angeles Areas.
Virtual Tours of Santa Clarita homes have become much more common. Also, we are seeing that agents are embracing better technology to meet with clients while viewing residences - such as Facetime and other platforms.
As of late, the showings of homes are on a case by case basis. Public showings have altogether stopped.
Vacant Santa Clarita homes are being shown at a much more frequent rate than those homes which are owner-occupied.
In the case of showing both those homes which have people living in them and the vacant homes, precautions are being taken.
In the past, in some cases with new carpet or new hardwood floors being present, booties were placed by the door and the mandate to use them when viewing the home was in place.
Today, gloves, facemasks, disinfectant wipes, and other PPE are being provided to those who are viewing homes and real estate in person.
Some are touting that iPads are used for registration when viewing homes - but those devices can hold onto a virus for a while. Unless they are disinfected between each individual use - it does not make sense to "show off" with this type of applied precaution.
Social Distancing when showing homes in the Santa Clarita Valley is what our showings have become at this point. The greater Los Angeles Mayor has put a halt to all in-person showings of real estate at this time.
The Santa Clarita Valley is still allowing the in-person showings of homes and real estate. However, there are a lot of precautions that are being used when we are showing our client's homes and estates.
We don't drive in the same vehicle with our clients. We have not done that for a few years. However, some agents still make it a point to ensure they are driving clients in their same vehicle. The Reason Is to increase confidence and in some cases, so they can force a decision on their home buyers. (I have never liked the high-pressure approach to selling homes)
Santa Clarita home sellers and homebuyers
Currently, in the Santa Clarita Valley, we are per capita having fewer homes enter the market for sale than in a traditional year at the same time.
However, the Coronavirus will continue to slow this over the coming weeks as well. Listings will not come onto the real estate market in Santa Clarita Valley in the volume we had during the last few years.
If the fewer listings coming onto the market continues, which it will, then the sellers are going to be in an even better position to sell at their homes at a premium.
The home sellers have been in a seller's market in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Coronavirus will increase their position further into the Seller's Zone which will give them an even better advantage.
During this time we will also see many more showings by appointment only in the Santa Clarita Valley cities. This is because it's going to take time to prepare for the showing by the home sellers. Also, they need to plan where to go during the showing. Maybe a walk will work or if they need groceries, that'd be a good time.
However, homebuyers need to prepare also. They need to consider what they may be walking into. What if the home seller has been exposed and is a carrier of the Coronavirus?
The home buyers need to prepare as if every single home they are going to be viewing is a potential COVID19 contaminant point.
Virtual Santa Clarita home showings
Most homes that are listed for sale will have some type of virtual tour posted online. If you don't see something of that nature, there may be one, just hit us up or your agent to send it to you.
However, virtual tours don't cover everything that an in-person showing will. Walking through a home that you are interested in is totally different than viewing photos online.
Most agents are touting how they are now showing homes virtually. That's great, but I want to give you the exact procedure utilized so you can best be prepared.
We facetime with our clients or have a zoom presentation. I will arrive at the residence and will be connected with my clients via facetime or other apps that allow me to be on a video call with them while walking through the residence.
I talk about what I'm smelling, seeing and touching(less of this happens during this time - as you can imagine). I also do my due diligence to look under sinks and in other places that most people want to look deeper into.
Also, in the kitchen, for example, I open the cabinets to see if there are pullouts installed or soft close drawers. These are items that may be mentioned in the commentary but are best seen and tested in person.
IN the kitchen also, I'm able to open the oven and other appliances to see their interior condition and allow my clients to see the same. The interior of the "mandatory" appliances rarely are pictured on the virtual tour.
In the bathrooms, I'm able to share the condition of the sink basins and the bottom of the tub or shower pan. These are essential items and can equate to thousands of dollars to repair.
Bubbling paint on the ceilings, touching those locations to inquire later on if my buyers are interested in making an offer.
Maybe we see some sort of fancy light that was installed. Knowing that installed items are typically "included", JIC, it's something that we will want to ask for directly in our offer. Further protecting our home buyer from having the item swapped before the close of escrow.
The garage is a big point of contention or can be. During our virtual showings, the garage and any and all items are discussed in the video. I bring with me an additional light source because some garages lack adequate lighting and my facetime camera is not super illuminating.
The back yard, property boundaries, and fence line are also some items that are very important to discuss. The view from the back yard of the subject property into the neighbor's yards and views of homes that can see the back yard of the subject property is worth noting during my facetime showing.
Rentals and Lease impact of COVID19
Something that has been talked about by some of my clients are escaping the city to somewhere that is not as Populus as living in the city.
Like renting a home that is in a more remote area than being in a denser area of town.
We don't handle rentals and leases, at least directly, but we do help. If you are interested in doing this, reach out to me and I'll get you the intel you need.
On the reverse, I have received calls from people looking to be closer to the city hub and healthcare centers just in case. They want to be closer than 60 minutes from the nearest hospital or medical center.
With the rental and lease front, we must mention Airbnb. I heard on the news recently a southern California city that is stopping all Airbnb activity during this pandemic. That must be creating havoc on those which an Airbnb listing.
School - Children at home
This is a fun topic. My kids, 26 and 18, are still at home, that is another story for another time :)
But, those that have school-aged children are now at home and not in school.
They are feeling how limited their home space truly is.
They are calling and exploring the option of upsizing. Asking the question of how much they can get for the home they own and what a larger one would cost.
This Coronavirus quarantine has convinced them they need more room.
That is going to continue to play out and the longer we are forced to stay home the more we will want to obtain more elbow room.
I spoke about the "NOW" here are the potential long-term effects
This pandemic, the Coronavirus, is also going to have an effect on the student housing next to local colleges. In the Santa Clarita Valley, we have College of the Canyons and CalArts. Both of those schools have a large number of students needing local housing.
We get contacted by those who have kids going to those schools looking to buy a rental or investment property in close proximity for their collegiate youth.
That is going to come to an abrupt stop and some of those "leases" maybe broken. On the rental front for those who bought them instead of leasing or renting the housing, they may be looking to see if this continues for longer than a couple of months.
In addition, the owners of those homes may want to find other renters or have us look for other tenant opportunities for them. We are still early in the pandemic, I'll keep you posted on the top Santa Clarita Blog on this point and others, I promise.
The bank rate - interest rates are low but could be lower. This may be used to stimulate the housing market when the time comes. The last two great rate reductions created a re-finance market. If the rates are cut again in the future, I foresee the refinance market taking a back seat to the re-sale market.
Investors coming to buy Santa Clarita real estate
With the advantages that may come about out of this pain, some may consider investing in real estate depending on the state of the real estate market in the coming months.
Here is the issue currently, from a short-sighted view, we don't have the excess inventory that creates a good investor market.
However, we do see that home prices are static, if interest rates are reduced, then it may be a good time to buy, hold and flip for Santa Clarita real estate investors.
On the other side of that same coin, it may turn out to be a better option for the investors to buy, rent then sell at some point in the future. Time will tell and I'll keep the Santa Clarita real state market updates coming to you here at our Blog.
New Homes and New home construction sites and builders
New homes and new construction sites are still moving forward with their sales at this time. We guarantee to save our new home clients money when they have me represent them when buying a new Santa Clarita home.
Just make sure you don't go without me on the first visit. If you do, don't put your name or email anywhere, on any device, on any piece of paper, or on a cocktail napkin with a blot of your lipstick. (doing so tells the new home builder that you want to opt-out from the ability to use your own realtor when buying a new home and forfeit my guarantee to save you money)
Safety is paramount at these times
Be careful. There are a lot of scammers coming out of this pandemic. People stating that they represent entities that they do not. Wanting money that they don't have the right to and falsely representing themselves.
If someone is asking you for money or telling you something that seems fishy, call the local law enforcement officials and ask them if "so and so" is legit.
Maybe it's a scam they are already aware of and they have been waiting for your phone call.
As far as where you are living. Take your time before leaving your home. Sit in your car before pulling away. The same applies when you reach your destination.
Sit in your car for a while before getting out and walking into wherever you are going.
This gives those out there that may want to do you harm time for pause and to reveal themselves.
Just watch and be diligent. Now is not the time to rush into anything, including real estate.
I'm Connor with HONOR and I'm glad to be your real estate agent when you are ready. I appreciate you reading this update about the Coronavirus predictions in Santa Clarita real estate.
I'll be here when you are ready. Just call me at 661.400.1720 and I'll be a great resource and real estate representative for you and your family. If you are not interested in Santa Clarita real estate. Call me anyway.
If I'm too far or deem me not being able to represent you to a 100% market due to market familiarity, then I will utilize my vast referral network and make a reliable connection between you and a local professional Realtor.