You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Spring is usually the busiest time of year for real estate. It’s when house hunters and home sellers come out of hibernation mode and descend on the market in droves. But this year—in the era of COVID-19—is different.

The coronavirus outbreak has rocked the economy and upended many industries, including real estate. As Americans across the country are sheltering at home, many home buyers are left wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait until quarantine measures loosen and the economy picks up again? The same goes for sellers wondering when they should list their home.

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Home Prices on the Rise

Kaushik Mukerjee and Preeti Vasishtha faced stiff competition when they set out to buy a home last spring. The couple, who live in Northern Virginia and have an 8-year-old son, were looking for a home in a good school district, but they lost out to other bidders on two houses before their offer on a townhouse stuck. “In one case we competed against 10 other offers, and the home sold for $20,000 above list price,” Mukerjee says. Ultimately, the couple paid $502,000—slightly above list price—for a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse in Burke, Va.

Kody Henderson, a 26-year-old first-time home buyer, also grappled with a hyper­active market when he looked for a home in the Seattle area. He struck out on three before he snagged a three-bedroom single-family house for $465,000 in Burien, Wash., last November. “I kept getting beat by cash offers that were usually above list price,” says Henderson. “It was frustrating.”

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Presale Renovations Take Off

A couple in Cambridge, Mass., were looking to sell a two-bedroom condo. The property had been rented out to three college students and needed work if the sellers were going to get top dollar for it, says Carol Kelly, a Compass real estate agent based in Cambridge.

“[The couple] didn’t want to reach into their own pocket to pay for the renovations,” Kelly says. “They didn’t want the stress of investing their own money into the property.”

So Kelly recommended Compass Concierge, a service the brokerage rolled out in 2018 to pay for presale renovations. Sellers pay back the money using the proceeds of their sale. Compass put $17,000 worth of improvements into the Cambridge condo, installing new flooring, painting the kitchen cabinets, and power-washing the house. It paid off: The condo, which was listed at $589,000, sold for $640,000, enabling the sellers to repay Compass and eke out bigger gains from their investment.

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5 Crucial Questions to Ask Before You Flip Your First House

Thanks to the seemingly endless glut of home improvement TV shows like “Flip or Flop,” “Masters of Flip,” and “Rehab Addict,” it seems like flipping houses has become America’s favorite pastime.

But for the inexperienced, house flipping can be a dangerous and costly game. Make one wrong move, and that “great investment” can turn into a monumental mistake.

Don’t want your first flip to be a flop? Here are five questions you might never think to ask yourself, but totally should, before you begin flipping houses.

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5 Secrets to Selling Your Home During the Slow Season

Late spring is the best time to sell your home: There’s a good chance you’ll make top dollar on your place and sell it more quickly since summer is the most popular time to move, according to research from the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, prices on homes sold in spring 2018 soared to a record high of $269,000 on average, up 5.3 percent from the previous year, the National Association of Realtors reports. But if you need to put your place on the market during another time of year—say, winter, because of a job transfer—how can you still sell your house for what it’s worth (and maybe even a bit more), even when the market isn’t as hot? Keep reading for five secrets for selling your home during the slow season.

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Should You Buy a New Home Before Selling Yours?

For many, it’s an enviable situation: You own a house and have the ability to buy a new home before selling your current place.

But even if you have the cash — or can qualify for a second mortgage — you’ll want to consider a few pros and cons before making the offer. One big consideration: In a seller’s market where houses are going for (or even above) list price, making an offer that’s contingent on the sale of your current home can make it difficult to compete against first-time buyers.

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5 Things Sellers Should Never, Ever Say When Closing a Home Sale

Selling your home, as we all know, Giving house keysis a process: months of hard work alongside your listing agent to primp your place, market the property, and reel in a buyer. So by the time the big day arrives to close the deal and hand over the keys, you’re probably so ready to be done—which is all the more reason to tread carefully during this final step of the process.

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8 Rookie Mistakes That Keep People From Selling Their Home

If your home is struggling to catch the Orlando-home-price-reducedeye of a buyer, it could be for an entirely valid reason. Maybe you’re stuck in a sluggish market or have the poshest place on the block (always a tough sell). But there’s another possibility, too—your home could be sitting on the market because of a rookie selling mistake. All of us can make ’em, even those of us who actually have a few home sales under our belts.

The good news? These basic slip-ups can be easily corrected or avoided. To help you out, we spoke to real estate agents to identify some of the most common mistakes people make in trying to sell their home. Sidestep these flubs to avoid sabotaging your own sale.

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How to Sell a House: 4 New Rules That Can Make or Break a Sale

These days, knowing how to sell a Selling_keyshouse isn’t as simple as sticking a “For Sale” sign on your lawn. Times have changed—and the good news is the market is largely tilting in your favor.

“It’s undeniably a seller’s market,” says Linda Sanderfoot, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Neenah, WI. In other words, buyers are demanding homes, but there isn’t much inventory on the market nationally. Plus, half of home buyers are worried about rising interest rates and looking to lock into a home soon. As a result, “there is pressure on buyers to submit offers quickly, and to offer full or even above list price,” says Peggy Yee, supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, VA.

All of this puts sellers squarely in the driver’s seat—which can be a lot of pressure if your GPS is broken and you don’t know how to navigate this new world. Consider this your crash course in getting up to speed.