Real estate insider Jenn Smira offers five insights about DC real estate during our national health crisis.
One thing is certain: During our national health crisis, we’ve collectively realized the value of home sweet home. We recently reached out to Jenn Smira, executive vice president of Compass to ask how she and her team are advising clients.
What's the number-one piece of advice you're giving your clients right now about buying a new home?
First, I'm telling my clients and friends to stay positive, healthy and safe. As it relates to real estate, my number-one piece of advice is to social distance to help flatten the curve. That means zero open houses, taking all occupied homes off the market and utilizing as much technology as possible. For those clients looking to purchase right now, my number-one question revolves around their finances, businesses and health. Real estate can wait. Your health cannot.
For all of our time indoors and on our screen, what do you recommend?
During these times, the consumer has the opportunity to view 3D virtual tours, which are dollhouse simulation of homes. Clients can "walk through" the entire home online. Next, they can review the floor plans and photos. If the property checks their boxes after review, we have dedicated agents who will arrange a private tour adhering to strict DC social-distancing mandated guidelines as set forth by Muriel Bowser on March 24.
Interest rates are historically low. What else should homebuyers know?
The buying power is so much higher now than it was just a year and a half ago, when rates were slightly sub 5 percent. For buyers who are upgrading, they may have the ability to get more home than they previously could.
What has the pandemic changed, if anything, about the buying process?
This is changing every day. For sellers, we want certainty. We are looking for a settlement under 30 days and a non-contingent offer. For buyers, they need to know they can perform regardless of any circumstances that’s put in front of them. Again, this is changing every day; my job as their advisor is to ensure our clients receive the best guidance and achieve the best results.
What do you think the future of real estate looks like in the DC market?
My first thoughts go out to the many people who were ill or lost loved ones or friends from COVID-19. We believe the spring market will arrive in late summer/fall. The third quarter will be very busy for real estate in DC. We have a pipeline of homes-sellers who want to sell, and a list of buyers who are ready to buy; we're using our networks to make matches privately. Ultimately, I believe the way we hold open houses may change. The way we show occupied homes may change; however, my gut is the real estate market will pick up where we left off.