From 1964 by Sam Cooke, the iconic song, “A Change is Gonna Come,” has been on my mind since the Coronavirus changed everything about our day-to-day lives. This was amplified by the brutal death of George Floyd and the movement that followed, which brings me to today’s Post-COVID topic. A change HAS come. But it may not be the change we were all expecting when it comes to local real estate. We reopened our company doors this past Monday, June 22, after nearly 91 days of state-mandated closure. Our state did the right thing in its rigorous approach in dealing with the virus, subverting an overzealous reopening and the subsequent uptick of infection like those we see in the South, Southwest, and California. I am convinced that this strict adherence to ethics and the law is what has afforded our area to have the resurgence of real estate activity that we are now experiencing. Here are the properties that I had had the privilege of selling, specifically putting these homes IN CONTRACT since May 14, when I began asking sellers to show me their homes virtually and video conferencing with sellers and buyers to sell homes successfully:
PLEASE NOTE: some agents are misleading the public, touting their closed sales during COVID when those sales were actually sold before the virus was even in our thoughts; the homes I am referring to were sold to buyers who decided to buy after the virus had already changed their lives, and they were ready, willing and able to buy anyway. So the sales above were established after Coronavirus, and are not just closings of sales before the changes we have all experienced.
CHANGE FROM MARCH 2020:
May and June proved to be a surprisingly strong Spring to Summer market in our area. Despite 17% higher home availability in Northeast Queens than the same time last year, fewer post-COVID buyers, and stricter bank requirements, houses are selling well. As a careful student of the Queens market, my sellers are experiencing negligible price shifts from early 2020 closed sales.
Many agents are doing it right! This is my personal favorite, and I hope it lasts. As a veteran realtor in my neighborhood, I’ve sold homes here since 1987. I now call myself an old lady (in real estate only). Over the years, I have lamented that agents stopped cooperating with each other, hurting sellers and buyers. Agents were pocketing listings, not returning calls, all to the industry’s reputational detriment. One of the after-effects of the COVID shutdown appears to be a more conscientious mode of doing business, a more convivial environment, better buyer qualifying, the list goes on. And bravo for that. I hope it continues. Of course, the real estate bullies are still out there. Often they are the sweetest, most poised looking ones to the public’s face, only to incessantly ignore a colleague’s call. They disparagingly present other agents’ offers. They merely contact their clients sporadically, and often only to badger them to reduce their price or take a too low offer. Texting has become the preferred mode of communication for a client’s most valuable asset. I have witnessed it all. But for the most part, things are better than they were. And that will be good for all of us, especially our sellers.
People are taking Fair Housing laws more seriously than ever before in my career. Perhaps this is due to the attention the Black Lives Matter Movement has brought to our lives when we are more in tune with what is happening in our country, as we have just recently become unglued from the media reports on the Coronavirus’ impact. Maybe it has to do with an innate understanding that communities must be more tolerant and respectful to thrive, as we see storefronts shut down and eerily empty streets for over 118 days. Or maybe it is because there is and has always been, more good than bad, and now more than ever, we are reminded of another famous anthem, this one from 1969, “Teach your Children Well,” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
Never before in our history has been comfortable at home been more critical than it is right now. A pandemic and the isolation that goes along with it can do that. The fact that so much unexpected and unwanted change was thrust upon us in mid-March is what I believe is now strengthening the resolve of New Yorkers to create change on their terms. They take their lives and where and how they want to live, into their own hands. So the CHANGE, to live in a home that works for your lifestyle NOW, in a community that works best for YOU, is what will keep us moving forward.