Bellwether for Housing: Car Sales

“If your parents don’t have kids . . . you won’t either.


“Speak openly and honestly with your seller about the pros and cons of holding an open house. Assess the risk based on your specific location and direct your clients to local and state health authorities for specific information about the severity of the risk in your area. You could also propose alternative marketing opportunities for your seller’s consideration, such as video tours and other methods to virtually tour a property. If you do hold an open house, consider requiring all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the home, and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the entryway, as well as soap and disposable towels in bathrooms. If you decide to do any cleaning at your client’s home, be sure to check with your client in advance about any products you plan to use. After the open house, recommend that your client clean and disinfect their home, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles.”

–Excerpt, National Association of Realtors.

[Note to Readers: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway (“Berkshire”), or any other entity referenced. Edina Realty is a subsidiary of Berkshire.]

If prospective Sellers are reluctant if not unwilling to let strangers into their homes now, it goes without saying, both showings and open houses are likely to drop dramatically.

And, if prospective Buyers can’t view homes . . . they’re unlikely to buy them (unlike during frothy market peaks, I don’t see Buyers clamoring to buy homes online, sight unseen, during a national emergency).

Of course, with many schools closed nationally (or about to be), families with children at home simply aren’t in a position to let strangers thru — never mind cleaning, staging, and doing other necessary home prep.

Household Priorities

People’s priorities now are safeguarding the health and safety of their families and loved ones; making sure that their homes are adequately stocked with food, water, and medicine; and, if they’re civic-minded and have the bandwidth, helping their communities do the same.

Buying a home comes way down the list.

I’m sure that truly motivated homeowners could sell now.

But, given the likely short-term collapse in Buyer activity and hence demand, the price would likely have to be deeply discounted.

Which is why, at least in my opinion, prospective Sellers who have the option should strongly consider waiting now . . .

P.S.: If big ticket items like car sales aren’t selling — and the most recent economic data indicates they aren’t — even bigger ticket items like houses aren’t likely to, either.

See also, ““Buying a Home During a Pandemic”: The NYT Interviews 2 Minneapolis Couples“; “Coronavirus and the Housing Market“; and “The Opposite of “Make Hay While the Sun Shines.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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