Baby Steps Forward, While Learning a New Reality

Happy to know that the “dimmer switch” on the economy will start to head in the right direction starting Monday. Certainly good news for restaurants, retail and those scheduling elective surgery. It won’t be 100%, but baby steps are at least underway.

I’ve been spending my days like many of you—in tele-conferences, webinars and phone calls. I learned the art of propping up my computer to eye-level and letting natural light from the window stream in. Oh, and cleaning up the mess behind me in my office.

I keep thinking about an old quote that makes sense more and more these days: “There is opportunity in every crisis.” And in this case, we are talking about the opportunity to snatch up real estate at a lower price than during non-pandemic times.

Why?

Well, for one, interest rates are low right now. You can get a 30-year mortgage rate to nearly 3% –the lowest point in 50 years, since Freddie Mac started tracking rates in 1971, according to Florida Realtor magazine.

Another reason—less competition for buyers: Approximately 40% of sellers have taken their properties off the market. Those that remain are clearly motivated to sell, and consequently you can make some low-ball offers and get good deals, better than during “non-pandemic times.”

Virtual buying and selling

Make no mistake, people are still buying and selling—and they are doing it “virus-free.” You can virtually tour a house, make an offer and close on the property weeks later without leaving your desk.

Balancing the computer on books!

Back in 2004 during the Sarasota real estate boom, I actually bought my current home sight-unseen. It was such a hot development, my then-agent told me if I did not make an offer within a few hours it wouldn’t be available by the time I got home from work that night. I did it—and have never regretted it. (Full circle: I’m now listing a townhouse in the same development. Let me know if you want a place near downtown, on the Hudson Bayou for under $240k.)

Virtual transactions are just one of the many technological opportunities nudged forward by the pandemic. My brother is a doctor and he says-in the medical field—virtual appointments on the phone or on-camera have become much more prevalent.

So, with the stock market looking less appealing, perhaps it is time to take a closer look at real estate, whether investing or moving toward a larger or smaller home.

I leave you with a great quote from 20th century American philosopher Eric Hoffer, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Ray Collins is a former TV newscaster who now is a real estate agent and video marketing specialist for Coldwell Banker. For questions or suggestions for future columns, Ray.Collins@FloridaMoves.com. Check out his website at raycollins.cbintouch.com.

Editor’s Note: Here’s a great article about Ray Collins.

Photos from Ray Collins.

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2020-05-03