Buying and Selling in Los Angeles During Coronavirus

Thinking it might be time to begin shopping for a home? Or selling your current one? But, maybe, like so many would-be house hunters and home sellers out there in Los Angeles right now you have concerns and questions about how Covid-19 has affected the real estate market and how to stay safe and healthy during the home buying and selling process.

The real estate market essentially all but disappeared after the stay-at-home orders in March, and has since slowly, but surely, made a big comeback. Today, in Los Angeles, homes are selling faster than ever before. In fact, the week ending August 1 saw homes selling eight days faster than the same week in 2019. Experts in the industry say changing changing needs during the pandemic and low interest rates have remarkably driven homebuyers to rush to the market. After staying home for months in 2020, many first time home buyers decided it was time for them to take the home ownership journey, while many current owners realized they needed a bigger home, a larger yard, an additional dwelling unit, or that they missed their friends and family back home.

But house hunting might look very different than it did before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Here are a few changes and surprises to anticipate if you are planning to buy or sell during Covid-19 era, which may last into 2021 and beyond.

No Open Houses

The fun of casually touring multiple homes during a Sunday afternoon is all but a thing of the past. The California Association of Realtors has enacted a very specific plan to limit the number of guests who can be at a property at any given time. This helps to protect both you the purchaser and the home sellers, especially if the home is owner occupied. Most sellers are now blocking off twenty or thirty minute slots for private tours with you, a second guest of your choice, and your agent. It used to be that getting a dinner reservation at Bavel was the hottest ticket in town, but today during coronavirus, some properties time slots for private tours seem impossible to secure. So, how to get one of these special – and, in Los Angeles at least, very rare time slots?

First, both you and your agent should stay on top of what is new to the market and very quickly request one of these time slots. The next step is getting a document, the PEAD-V (Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration-Visitor), acknowledged by all parties entering the property. Your agent will send you this document for signature electronically. The PEAD-V outlines the safety precautions that need to be adhered to by all entering the property, and is also initialed by the sellers:

  1. Masks to be worn at all times
  2. Hands washed and sanitizer available before entering the property.
  3. NOTHING is to be touched.
  4. No paper is allowed at the property, so no brochures, nothing to be signed in person.
  5. Only you, a partner or second guest, your agent, and the seller’s agent should be inside the home at any given time.

In certain cases, some agents are leaving properties on lockbox or Supra for your agent to access and be able to show the property at your convenience without the sellers and their agent present.

Pre-Approval and Proof of Funds Up Front

In addition to the PEAD-V, many sellers are now requesting and requiring the buyer’s proof of funds and a pre-approval letter prior to granting access to the home. This helps the home seller, who may still be living at the home during the time of sale, guarantee that only vetted, serious, and potential buyers will be touring the house. And also, unfortunately for some, it may mean you are not able to tour that famous Neutra or Lloyd Wright home that may be a million or two over your budget. I know, for us agents at well, we are not able to see nearly as many properties we used to view during our caravans. Weeding out casual browsers before they reach the threshold may have lasting appeal for home sellers, even if it disappoints some house hunters.

Arriving on Time and Keeping Things Clean

Private appointments are typically 30 minutes, but some agents can and do decrease that private tour time to 15 or 20 minutes to allow for more guests or to add extra time for cleaning. If you’re a buyer, plan to arrive on time. If you miss your appointment window, that may be it.

If you’re a seller and you are feeling wary of allowing so many guests to enter, you can feel reassured that the listing agent you’ve hired is adhering to strict cleansing rules such as:

  1. Providing guests with masks if they have forgotten theirs.
  2. Providing paper booties, hand wipes, bottles of hand sanitizer, and rubber gloves.
  3. Allowing just t two prospective buyers and their agent allowed inside at one time.
  4. All doors and windows remain open for ventilation (even if AC is on).
  5. Once a tour is over, your agent should clean all surfaces, doorknobs and handles with Clorox wipes. Only then will another party be allowed inside, following the same very strict guidelines.

Also, at the end of a day of tours, your listing agent should prepare for your return if you are continuing to live at the home during its sale by, again, cleaning all surfaces and doorknobs, and removing cleaning materials and any used gloves or booties.

Homes Sold Incredibly Quickly in September, Regardless of Price — Defying Seasonal Norms

September used to be our slowest month for real estate listings and sales. That’s not true any longer. After a rise in the number of days homes sat on the market in April and May, June numbers dropped and continued through July, according to an ABC7 analysis of Zillow data in the Los Angeles metro area. The week ending August 1 saw homes selling four days faster than in May and eight days faster than same week in 2019.

Home prices in Los Angeles are also rising. According to Zillow’s Home Value Index numbers, single family home values have risen steadily by about 4% from $697,000 in June of last year to about $728,000 this year.

What all this means is very different for buyers and sellers. If you need help navigating the home buying process during this pandemic, would like to add another layer of protection to your home as you prepare for a sale, or would like to talk about what you might expect to happen to the housing market in 2021, I would love to safely and effectively help you get the house you want or the sale you need.

Jacqueline Tager | CalBre#: 1476997
jacqueline.tager@sothebyshomes | (323) 697-3040
Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage
1801 N Hillhurst Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027

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