Reading ~ Berks Real Estate and Coronavirus

Reading ~ Berks Real Estate and Coronavirus
Posted By Jeffrey Hogue @ Jul 15th 2021 8:45pm In: Real Estate

What is happening now? What is likely to happen? Where do we go from here? These are questions people are asking worldwide as it relates to Coronavirus. I will attempt to offer answers on how COVID-19 may affect the real estate industry here in Reading, PA, and Berks County.

The recent news cycle is teeming with articles and information about Coronavirus, which is understandable. The goal of this article is not to offer any scientific explanations or political opinions. I will instead focus on my recent experiences with clients and how they are handling the news of the Pandemic. I will also attempt to peer into the future and offer some insight into how Berks County home buyers and sellers will prevail.


What's Happening Now?

Spring is right around the corner, and my phone has been ringing day and night ~ As a Realtor, this is a good thing! Home sellers who have been patiently waiting for winter's end have been following through with the desire to sell their property unabated by news of Coronavirus. Sellers are ready to take advantage of a Berks County real estate market that has seen a ten-percent year over year increase in the median sales price of homes.


Homebuyers who've been sitting by their computers waiting for the right home to pop up are eager to see the new listings with unwavering determination. These homebuyers understand they can get a mortgage that boasts the lowest interest rates in history. They are also aware of the low housing inventory and want to take advantage of every opportunity.


Quite frankly, I am proud of the determination and perseverance Reading, and Berks residents have displayed during this time in pursuing their life plan of homeownership. It is truly inspiring!


What is Likely to Happen?

As more testing for Coronavirus becomes available, it is likely more cases will come to light and thus more news reporting and articles on the subject. In my opinion, this is a critical juncture. I believe a well-informed public offered the facts, good or bad, are the greatest weapon against fear and anxiety, which solve nothing and cause many to make irrational decisions.


Some decisions may be made for us in advance. The government at all levels is enacting measures to keep us safe. These measures include closing schools, entertainment events, and non-essential services. At some point, they may shut down some government services. Some of these services may be part of the real estate transaction itself. It would be likely that these disruptions would be short-lived but cannot be discounted.


Depending on the circumstances, some likely will decide to put their plans to buy or sell a home on hold until they are more comfortable with what they believe to be the outcome of the Pandemic. I think Berks Countians will make the right decisions. We tend to question everything, and sometimes our glass is half full, but the full half is filled with all the right stuff to handle this or any situation that affects our neighbors. Simply put, we stick together!


Where Do We Go From Here?

Adverse events in history often create irreversible change. Think back to 9/11 and how that event changed privacy laws and the travel industry. Coronavirus is sure to change the way we do certain things. Today the technology industry offers many conveniences that we take for granted, like electronically signing documents, video meetings, and a host of other applications that allow us to conduct business from afar. The real estate industry takes advantage of many of these innovations, and I envision they will become a standard with clients.


I still cannot yet envision a future where someone can visit a house without actually being there. That said, I am sure the virtual holographic home is not far off, and situations like the one we are facing may expedite the innovation. Until then, photos and videos will have to suffice.


While we are still showing homes the old fashioned way, some new precautions may be considered. A buyer and their agent might see hand sanitizer available at the front door or even breathing masks.


Overall, I have the highest confidence in the real estate agents, homeowners, home buyers, and all professionals associated with home sales in Reading and Berks County. Together we will figure this out one day at a time. I have a friend that told me "do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." He is the same friend who told me, "He is with me always." I, for one, am going to listen. I invite you to do the same.


Knowledge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue

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