Interest in home selling, buying wanes as coronavirus effects drag on

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7)-- We're all being ordered to stay at home to help flatten the curve. But what if you are looking to buy or sell your home?

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New data indicate some Virginians, looking to sell the homes they're in, are reconsidering. This is while realtors are working to determine exactly what the Governor's executive order means for them and how it will affect their clients.

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Friday, we caught up with local teacher and dad Chris Dowdy from across the yard of his new home.

“Renovating the house and trying to get the other house ready to be sold in three weeks," he told us. "So that’s kind of our life right now, summed up.”

Dowdy is waiting to close on the house he's selling, but said he feels like his family made the right move when they did.

“If we were selling our house right now I think we’d probably put it on hold just to let the economy recover," he said. "Let some buyers and sellers just kind of get a better piece of mind.”

Dowdy says before he'd do anything, he'd consult his realtor Josh Dix. Dix told us Friday he's not exactly sure how he'd respond.

“Questions have definitely been asked if people should pull their house off the market or delay putting it on the market," he said. "Problem with that question is we don’t know the answer to it.”

Dix told us he's continued to put homes like a new one in the Walnut Manor neighborhood of Fincastle on the market. But he's opted for more virtual tours of homes, no open houses and says he's added an addendum to contracts - offering some safety nets for buyers who can't close because of the effects of the pandemic. That could include a job loss because of the coronavirus or a closure of the clerk's office.

"I haven’t lost any listings or lost any buyers," Dix said. "It’s been more so of maybe a little less traffic in my listings.”

A survey done Friday by the Virginia Realtors group showed of the 1,700 realtors surveyed, 80 percent reported business had decreased because of COVID-19. Plus, interest in buying and selling has waned more each week since the initial decline.

But with Governor Ralph Northam's new executive order, Realtors are now trying to determine which doors will close and which will remain open.

“You just don’t know when it’s going to end," Dix said. "So you can’t give them all the right answers.”

Monday, following Governor Ralph Northam's announcement on his new executive order, Dix said he'll continue to be able to travel for work - as long as he maintains social distancing and groupings of less than 10 people.

The head economist with Virginia Realtors, Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, said she encourages home buyers to be flexible in this market. She anticipates the business usually seen in the spring to now happen later this summer.

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