Spring is a popular time to list a home, and now that we’re officially there, you may be gearing up to put your home up for sale. But given the health and financial crisis COVID-19 has created, you may be wondering whether now’s a good time to deal with the headache of selling a home, not to mention the potential danger of having strangers come in to view your property. The answer? It’s really a mixed bag.
Though mortgage rates have zigzagged in the past week or so, they’re currently quite competitive, and many experts predict they’ll drop even lower in the coming weeks. With that being the case, many homebuyers will no doubt want to capitalize on those rates, in which case you may be in a good position to find a buyer easily should you decide to move forward with your home sale.
Furthermore, though there’s talk of COVID-19 slowly but surely spurring a full-blown recession, that hasn’t happened yet. But we don’t know what the economy will look like three, six, nine, or 12 months from now, and so if you hold off on listing your home, you run the risk of doing so at a time when the housing market as a whole is down and you’re less likely to get the asking price you want.
On the other hand, there’s one very good reason to hold off on listing your home right now: your personal safety. With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warning Americans to socially distance to avoid exposure to germs, now’s really not the time to have people traipsing in and out of your home, touching your furniture, and breathing in your general vicinity.
Also, it’s generally a good idea to vacate your home during open houses or while real estate agents are showing it to prospective buyers. But given the self-isolation mandate, there’s really nowhere to go, which means picking up and leaving for hour-long stretches at a time is suddenly a much bigger ask.
Finally, many people are worried about their financial prospects even if their income has thus far held steady. As such, if you try to sell your home now, you may struggle to find a buyer or one who will give you the price you’re looking for.
If you have a specific reason for selling your home — say, you’re already under contract to buy another one, you’re relocating for work, or you’ve been struggling with your mortgage for quite some time and want to get out before you get underwater — then it could pay to move forward with your listing, albeit with caution. On the other hand, if you’re not desperate to sell, then you’re probably better off waiting for a host of reasons, your health and safety being the primary one.
Even if you’re not particularly worried about catching COVID-19, the fact that it’s stunted life as we know it is jarring enough. And the last thing you need during a period of nationwide upheaval is the hassle of having to deal with a home sale and move.
By: Maurie Backman, Contributor