Not Business-As-Usual: Winnipeg Real Estate Market Update, Wendy-style
Winnipeg’s real estate market kicked into high gear a couple-few weeks ago as it seemed increasingly inevitable that the CO-VID 19 virus was on its way. Every seller who was even close to being ready to bring their home to market, did, and many buyers who felt they had the financial strength to make a large purchase amid the economic uncertainty doubled down on their search so that they could take advantage of falling interest rates.
Even today the Winnipeg market seems to be chugging along fairly well, with houses being bought and sold, but the window for safely being out and about as normal is closing, if it hasn’t already.
Starting last week, and on the advice of real estate lawyers, Realtors began attaching CO-VID 19 clauses to offer-to-purchase contracts in order to safeguard the sale should it fail to complete by the contractual deadlines because of something CO-VID-related.
Also starting last week, buyers and sellers alike have been racing against the clock to sign all of the legal and mortgage paperwork finalizing their sales because real estate lawyers, who were processing more deals than usual with less staff than usual, were warning that they were close to shutting down - Manitoba is one of the provinces where legal documents must be signed in person or not at all, so no lawyer, no deal. Without a finalized deal, no money changes hands and everyone gets stuck in limbo.
In the past few days, I have been seeing showing instructions for active listings that include safety instructions like “buyer’s agents, make sure your buyers have not travelled in the last 14 days…” However, we know that not everyone is taking these new safety protocols seriously yet, and until everyone is solidly on the same page, it is my opinion that there is no truly safe way to practice real estate.
And because carriers of the virus are contagious days before they develop any symptoms – if they develop any at all - even Realtors and clients who religiously follow current safety protocols have no way of knowing how safe – or not – anyone is even in the absence of travel or a fever and a dry cough.
Pressing Pause on Business-As-Usual
Our national thought-leaders in the area of infectious disease are telling us that we are at a critical phase in our epidemic. The bottom line seems to be that the contact we have with one another now is directly related to how many of us will contract the virus, how many of us will get sick and how many of us will die.
Progressive governments around the world, as well as here in Canada, recognize this and are quickly putting unprecedented financial supports in place so that we will all be more-or-less in a position to press “pause” button on business-as-usual.
Not forever, of course.
A month or two from now we will be a lot closer to a more nuanced understanding of the virus and then we will waste no time in putting that infamous human ingenuity to work on creating new ways of getting things done safely, including the buying and selling of our homes, which, I suspect, will different from what we have become used to.
For listing clients, I can see myself creating 30-minute videos for each property where I lead a tour of the home, Wendy-style, followed by an inspection tour and rounded out with segments hosted by the various other key professionals such as mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, real estate lawyers, etc. who have something of relevance to say about the property - by the time a potential buyer thinks they’ve found “the one”, all that should be involved is one very careful trip to the property, that, if successful, leads to taking possession according to an established, proven-safe protocol.
For buying clients, I see myself developing an entirely new protocol for the safe viewing of homes, and, for all clients, I see us moving our meetings on-line via Skye or Zoom.
However, I am getting ahead of myself. All of that is for later.
Advice for Listing Clients
For now, if selling your home is even just a twinkle in your eye, this time can be very useful to you. My suggestion is that you lavish your time and attention on your home, inside and out. Here’s my thinking:
if you’re planning a move, decluttering, pre-packing, cleaning , repairing, painting etc. is all stuff you’re going to have to do anyway, so sell it to yourself as making clever use of your time getting ahead of the game (consider checking out the KonMari method at https://konmari.com/)
the closer your home and property is to show-ready, the more a buyer will pay for it – this is true no matter what kind of market we end up with on the other side of this. Getting your home close to show ready and then maintaining it in that condition means that you will be able to move quickly to take advantage of opportunities as they come up, and
even if you don’t end up selling your home any time soon, you get to enjoy living in your cleaner, newly repaired/upgraded and more aesthetically pleasing home. Have you ever just about killed yourself getting your home ready to sell just so the new owner can enjoy it in a way you never did? This could be your chance to break the cycle.
Advice for Buying Clients
If buying a home is in your future or your search has been interrupted, I also recommend sprucing up your nest so that it loves you up as you shelter in place.
You are also in the position of having more time and energy at your disposal to KonMari your home and possessions so that when it’s time to move, you will be a lot lighter on your feet, moving only what you really want to take with you. You’d be surprised at the number of new homeowners who spend their first couple-few weeks curating all of the stuff that they just hauled over from their previous home.
My Butterfly Plan
I myself have just wrapped up the last transaction I intend to be involved in for the time-being and have already started fluffing up my living space and sprucing up my little command center/window-on-the-world.
My plan involves emerging from this cocoon having studied for and written the exams to become licensed as a Real Estate Broker and having mastered the technology that will facilitate a new way of conducting the buying and selling of our homes so that when the time comes, I can hit the ground running, safely.
What’s your butterfly plan?
I plan to keep in touch with everyone that I have been working with either in the preparation of your homes for market or in your preparations for house-hunting and finding the “one.”
But don’t wait on me if you have a question, concern or idea that you would like discuss - I’m always up for consultation regarding all things real estate, from home renovations that increase value – and those that don’t – to preparing yourself to hit the ground running when it is safe to resume your search.
Oh, and by the way, I have had the pleasure of adding a few excellent tradespeople to my network of late, so if you are looking for a recommendation for a carpenter, electrician etc., please let me know – I love to recommend people who have proven themselves top-drawer.