Weekly Real Estate Recap 3.22.2020
I wanted to get this email out to you yesterday because being consistent in a time like this is very important. However, working from home on a Saturday proved challenging. Between being a short order cook to my kids, providing IT support for their devices, ensuring my neighbors have what they need from stores, and working by phone all day long, I didn’t find time to process and write. I feel it is important to share what I have learned throughout the week by reading and being on countless calls with real estate leaders, economists, commercial brokers, local business owners, and clients.
I know several of you in contracts must be wondering if you are going to sell your homes or buy homes. Please rest assured that if any person involved in any of our transactions feels ill or thinks they may have been exposed to the virus, they will not be performing their work duties or allowing people access to their homes or offices. As you know, this is a fluid situation and information is changing daily. I will continue to update you on the weekends regarding our local real estate market.
I always like to start with the facts, so let’s begin with what we know.
What we know:
- We still have our housing inventory, unlike post-Katrina where the inventory was damaged or washed away.
- A real estate transaction from showing property to closing involves no more than 3-5 people in a room at one time.
- As long as the Clerk of Courts office is open, even with their reduced hours, property can be transferred from one entity to another. Orleans Parish is the only parish where you cannot record sales electronically. I assume the leaders of the Clerks office will adjust their systems after COVID-19 and allow sales to be transferred electrically. http://www.orleanscivilclerk.com/
- Title companies are offering at-home or drive-through notary services to keep closings as scheduled.
- The City of New Orleans Safety and Permits Office is closed, but permits can be filed online or by phone. http://www.nola.gov/safety-and-permits/
- Banks are considered essential businesses and they employ mortgage brokers and appraisers to ensure loans can continue to be funded.
Tomorrow, I am attending a virtual call with a local title company for additional updates and will share any new details with you.
Whenever we discuss real estate locally, we must look at employment in New Orleans.
Our Economy and Workforce:
- Hourly wage employees will be let go and forced to apply for unemployment. My brother was let go on Monday as he was an hourly employee at an Uptown restaurant.
- The hospitality and oil and gas industries will lay off at least 100,000 people by the end of next week and these industries make up a significant portion of employers. https://www.nola.com/news/coronavirus/article_6f377a0a-6afb-11ea-9d61-c73e690f5659.html
- The healthcare, tech, and education industries are sustaining and growing at the moment. Tele-health workers, nurses, and doctors are all working non-stop. Tech companies have already mastered the stay-at-home business model. Most educators I have spoken to are working at home and paid through the semester.
Contracts, Open Houses, and Showings:
- Our local Realtor board developed an addendum on how to plan for extensions due to COVID-19. I will be sharing this addendum with clients currently under contract and discussing your contract with you this week. In the meantime, please review the addendum. Click for COVID-19 Addendum
- Our real estate state licensing entity wrote a great article on how the executive order impacts those of you who are currently under contract. In short, the governor’s executive order does not impact Louisiana real estate contracts. Buyer and sellers cannot just cancel contracts due to COVID-19. This is a time when communication among all parties is key. Click Here to Read the Impact on Purchase Agreement and Closings
- If you are a seller, your contract to close may be delayed, but we have not seen buyers requesting cancellations except for a few who were in the initial days of their inspection periods this week.
- If you are a seller and you have not sold your house, interest in your home will slow down as our local Realtor board is advising us to NOT host open houses or broker tours right now. However, 97% of all houses are sold through a Realtor and are usually first seen online by a buyer. www.nar.realtor
- Virtual open houses will be key. Our virtual tour last week has had over 500 views.
- Buyers just starting their search will take a pause from looking inside homes, but they will be browsing online, and most will want to buy.
What We’re Doing:
New Orleans’ real estate market has been sideways for a while and this experience will affect it negatively. Pricing and marketing will be key to get homes sold. Witry Collective will continue our commitment to our clients through excellent customer service, but the way we promote and sell your homes will change. Some of our proven processes will be adjusted as we find new methods for connecting buyers and sellers. We are rolling out these new strategies this week! We are an innovative real estate firm and are reminded of our core belief #webelieveinhousing as we shelter in place.
We will continue to reach out to every buyer who is under contract to see if their employment will be affected by COVID-19 and what their concerns are at this point in their contracts. So far, all of our inspectors, appraisers, title companies, and tradespeople are working with us. As for our sellers, you may not want to have people access your home for many different reasons, so we will discuss your preferences and make a plan with you.
Witry Collective has adjusted our monthly team meetings to 2 times per week so we can focus on how to execute best practices during this time. Finally, we are offering 2 online calls this week if you would like to talk with our team and other buyers and sellers. We will not discuss private details, but rather the current state of the marketplace, what we’re observing from our perspective, and the experiences of other buyers and sellers. Here is a quote from Henry Ford that reminded me of the need to offer an online community:
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is a progress. Working together is a success.”
In closing, I am working with other industry leaders to discuss how sheltering in place means something very different for individuals that do not have stable, safe, or secure housing. Individuals who are being abused or going through divorce, illness, or job loss need to be cared for during this time. We are working on a way to influence an outlet to help individuals who cannot shelter in place. Let me know if you want to be a part of the conversation and action or if you know someone who needs housing.
What I am Reading: