House hunting during COVID-19

By Lynsey Hsieh, Staff–

During a pandemic, there are pros and cons to buying a home. Some pros include easier and smoother transactions and virtual tours without leaving your home. Cons include a highly competitive market and hard-to-get loans, as unemployment levels reach 14.7 percent.

According to Zillow, the median pricing for single family homes and condos is $718,568. The median cost of houses have risen 2 percent over the year, starting with a median price of $708,000 in January.

This upward trend began at the end of 2012, with a median price of $455,000 in October.

According to Geoffrey Snow, a realtor for Lyon Real Estate, open houses are not a possibility during the pandemic. Houses are currently being showcased through virtual tours and in-person tours, available by appointment.

When scheduling these appointments, the buyer must sign a document stating that they do not have COVID-19. These documents are typically sent through email which the visitor will sign through a virtual signature. 

Upon arrival to the home, there are rules the buyer must follow to be granted entrée to the tour. The basic rules consist of the tourist wearing masks and gloves, but there may be additional rules upon arrival to the home. It is a minor con for both the buyer and realtor since it is more work for both parties to ensure safety. 

In the real estate industry, there have been a lot of changes. According to Snow, some of those changes include heaps of paperwork, extra sanitization when touring, and no open houses. “The biggest blow to the industry, in my opinion, is the lack of agents being allowed to have open houses where passersby can enter a home to view,” Snow said. 

Davis’ college town feature means high housing prices. The safety and culture in Davis is desirable for students and families alike. “People live here for quality of life, the small town atmosphere, the parks, the greenbelt,” said Judy Jones, a long time home owner and tutor. 

Davis stopped housing expansion in the past, causing a drop in housing options despite the high demands. Now, Davis is expanding by building the Cannery and Grande Village.

Some long time home owners vote and pay for special parcel taxes to keep the school highly ranked. In turn, the property value is larger. With high home values, owners could potentially make a profit once the homes are sold, according to Jones.

Amanda Joe, a first-time buyer, struggles with the limited options in the home inventory and the cost in Davis. She states that wherever she finds something nice, it is very expensive compared to other cities.

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