What home buyers and sellers need to know before making any moves during the pandemic

Posted at 6:00 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 19:22:43-04

CLEVELAND — Buying or selling a house is stressful enough without a pandemic looming overhead.

The housing game in Greater Cleveland is hot right now and that’s the case coast to coast.

It is a seller's market right now — with low inventory and buyers on the prowl.

“In some cases you have 20 people looking at a house, you’ve got half of them writing offers, it is intense out there,” said Mike Bankowski, branch manager at Cleveland-based mortgage lender Nations Lending.

It’s something Jennifer Arch knows well.

“Everything is just different,” she said, laughing. “Houses are going in a matter of hours. As soon as they’re going on the market, they’re flying off the market.”

Her family put in offers on nearly half a dozen homes in the Greater Cleveland area over the last few months before finally locking one down.

“And we weren’t the highest bidders, but I submitted a letter to the seller just explaining how much we loved the house. This house was THE house and they accepted our offer,” Arch said.

Arch said their lease was up and they had to move, coronavirus crisis or not.

And while they appreciated the virtual showings, they knew they wanted to physically walk through their future home before purchasing.

Her advice to potential home buyers: “I would say don’t be scared. Do not be scared. If it is something you really have to do, do it.”

Bankowski said some people who qualified for loans before the pandemic — before the loss of income or reduced hours — have definitely been impacted when it comes to approval.

He said he has also seen big banks put on more restrictions or raise requirements and lenders needing higher credit scores or increased down payments.

Still, he sees many people wanting to buy.

“It’s the American Dream right? Pandemic or not, it’s the American Dream. In 20-plus years, I’ve always seen people wanting to buy and always people needing to sell,” Bankowski said.

So here’s the Rebound Rundown for you:

  • If you’re a buyer — you need pre-approval letter in hand and your financing in order or you will lose out on homes in this hot market.
  • If you’re thinking of selling — you’ll be adding to a really small inventory right now, and can probably get top dollar for your home.
  • Often times here in Greater Cleveland these days, experts said homes are selling for thousands of dollars over list price.
  • A reminder that despite whats happening in the economy, interest rates are still at historic lows.