This Chicago coronavirus update discusses what “essential service” means (and doesn’t mean) for Chicago real estate. And how we are helping our clients in this challenging time.
Best Chicago Properties is following guidelines established by both the City of Chicago and the National Association of Realtors®.
How coronavirus COVID-19 is impacting Chicago real estate
As we all now know, the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak will likely last months not weeks. The economic impact will be significant and we will feel it for the remainder of 2020.
Chicago’s “stay-at-home” order
After the Mayor issued the stay-at-home order, the Chicago Association of Realtors issued strong policy recommendations to Chicago brokers.
First, real estate is deemed an “essential service” so real estate brokers can continue to assist their clients.
BUT, while licensed real estate brokers are “essential”, our buyer, seller and renter clients are actually not deemed essential. And so per the City of Chicago, they should really stay home.
Our approach now:
- For buyers, we offer personal 1-1 online video walk-through tours where possible.
- For sellers, we use technology to manage all aspects of new listings without any face-to-face contact.
- As is our normal practice, listing agreements, offers and contracts are being executed electronically using DocuSign.
- Home inspections, appraisals and closings can all be successfully managed with no face-to-face meetings.
- No face-to-face client meetings, in-person showings or open houses and our office remains closed.
- BCP Brokers are available to help customers and clients via phone, text, email, FaceTime, Zoom or Skype.
- While licensed real estate agents are “essential”, our buyer, seller and renter clients are not. And per the City, they should stay home.
How are buyers and sellers reacting to the Coronavirus stay-at-home order?
Some sellers are pausing
Some sellers who have a choice are waiting to list their homes. Others who have listed are temporarily taking their homes off the market.
This means available inventory will decline.
For those who decide to sell in this market, you may have to take your own listing photos but many of the other aspects of listing can be done without meeting in person.
Some buyers are jittery
Many buyers are unsure of their economic future and are staying on the sidelines. Some have lost their jobs. Some have lost their down payment nest egg to the declining stock market.
Those with more certainty about their economic situation are still game.
They are jumping to take advantage of attractive mortgage interest rates.
Today the 30 year fixed rate is hovering at about 3.9%. Rates have been in flux more than usual but they remain very attractive. Here’s a good place to check today’s mortgage and refinance rates from Bankrate.
Once we flatten the COVID-19 curve, and Chicago lifts the “stay-at-home” order we will gain some clarity.
At that point we expect pent-up demand to result in a steady resumption of normal buying and selling activity. We hope this happens by June.
For the latest Chicago real estate trends and statistics check out our Chicago Market Report.
Coronavirus and Chicago real estate – conclusion
For the remainder of 2020, the impact of coronavirus on Chicago real estate will be significant. We are hopeful that by June the market will begin to return to a more stable footing.
Everyone’s situation is of course unique. We are available to help navigate your unique real estate situation, talk with us.
And to keep track of what you need to know about the virus, read the coronavirus updates from the NYTimes.
Most importantly, we hope that you and your families continue to be safe and healthy as we all deal with the uncharted world presented by COVID-19.