What Is It Like To Be Living in Fear is an Oxymoron?
“How’s the real estate market been since the entire world has been turned upside down? You must be like, totally out of business.”
Nope. Not at all.
In fact, I’ve very insensitively (but jokingly) made the statement to anyone who will listen, “I’ve been so busy I haven’t even had time to enjoy the quarantine.”
During the first couple months, the buyers and sellers in the market were constricted to a select, motivated few. Those with job security and an imminent need to buy never exited the market. And they were wise not to. Rates were low and supply was…just hiding in a “temporarily off market” status.
I’ve had clients submit offers in the last few weeks where there were multiple offers and escalations. I wanted to say to the other bidders “Go away! Don’t you people know there’s a world pandemic?”
But no, I felt like we were all part of a special club. The “this virus will not relegate me to my house in panic” club. That’s more than fine with me as I was (and still am) in good company.
One new twist, though this was always the case but even more so now: The highest offer isn’t always the best offer. The psychology that drives competition among buyers has always been flawed. The mere fact that someone else wants a home always made some buyers more competitive, resulting in them “bidding to win.” Pre-pandemic, I saw many cases where the winner suddenly walked away for what seemed like no reason. Did they get caught up in the excitement of winning the offer or was it not as fulfilling once they got what they wanted? It’s anyone’s guess.
I’m seeing this a lot now. As things were changing daily – hourly even, people were bidding on properties, winning and then bailing out within days – sometimes hours. This is still happening. As a listing agent, it’s very tricky to accept an offer because you don’t know which buyer will get “cold feet” and use the “C” word as the reason. No, not that C-word.
We have also always said that real estate is about “location location location.” For hundreds of years, that has never changed.
Well, it’s about to. Remember all those crappy employers you all worked for who wouldn’t let you work from home because they thought you would goof off? How do they like you now? Working harder and more efficient than ever! Will office rents take a dive? Will people start commuting only a day or two a week? Will living downtown not be as important as it once was?
A likely yes to all of the above. That “home office” that people always “need” but never use is now going to become a legitimate thing. Couple that with a new work schedule for many that may only require one or two days a week in the office and people will start moving further out of the city.
In many ways, I am so fascinated to see how real estate will change. I’m not as fascinated to see how the rest of the world will change, however. People and things I formerly thought of as normal have gone full crazy. Make no mistake about it – Living in Fear is NOT Living.
I’m still keeping things as normal as possible for the girls. Even if they are just watching kids on YouTube play outside instead of actually, gasp, going to play outside.