Buying & Selling in the Midst of a Pandemic


March 2021 Issue — Life in Order Special Section
by Charles Sampson

There is no question that the real estate market bounced back in an unsurpassed way after COVID-19 first took hold last spring. The result led to demand far outpacing supply. Bidding wars were commonplace, and we closed multiple transactions without the buyers ever having set foot in the property until after it closed. None of us could have anticipated that this would be a part of the real estate narrative for 2020. 

In retrospect, it is easy to see what drove the market: the pandemic provided buyers an opportunity to assess where they would prefer to raise their families. They took a hard look at the Lowcountry lifestyle and liked what they saw.

Additionally, many companies re-evaluated their work-from-home policies, giving employees far more options on where they could live. Financial markets remained strong, and interest rates remained at record lows, even for jumbo loans, which is a mortgage loan over $548,250 in all states, except Alaska, Hawaii and a few federally designated high-cost markets. 
So what does this mean for 2021?

The lack of homes for sale remains an impediment for buyers and sellers alike. However, we can report that just weeks into the new year, the market is experiencing even greater demand than we did in the second half of 2020. Work-from-home policies are becoming permanent for many employees, and interest rate projections indicate they will start to rise in 2021, albeit nominally. While states wrestle with vaccine roll-outs, the pandemic may be with us for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, we cannot say for certain how 2021 will wind up, but we believe that the high current market activity will continue at least into the latter part of this year. 
Homeownership has alway been important.

It is one of the largest purchases most people will ever make, and it is seen as the foundation for emotional and financial stability, which provides a sense of security, success and family wholeness across the country. In addition, buying a home is an investment, as most real estate values appreciate as years go by. As Covid-19 impacted each of our lives in 2020, we all came to realize the true value of homeownership and the safety it provides.
However, homeownership isn’t just personal.

It also helps build a strong and stable community, a good property tax base, pride of ownership, and remains a driving force in our economy. Surprisingly, in 2020/21, real estate became the shining light of the economy. It is said one job is created every time two homes are sold. Because of the uniqueness of Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry in general, the numbers are higher and it is suggested that more than one job created for every two homes sold. 

The current real estate market dynamics mean that REALTORS are all the more valuable.
With rare exception, negotiating the transaction is the most complex part of buying or selling real estate, and it is where money can be won or lost and deals can fall apart. At the same time, it is the one factor that can involve the most creativity and take the emotion out of the negotiating process. For these reasons, it is important to have an experienced professional on your side who has the knowledge of the local market, the patience to listen and has successfully worked through many different transaction scenarios.

CharlesSampson0321 headshhotCharles Sampson, Partner and REALTOR with Charter One Realty, has been successfully marketing and selling real estate in the Lowcountry since 1985 and has been a Hilton Head Island resident since 1972. In 2020 Charles and his team, The Charles Sampson Group, participated in 140 transactions generating nearly $50,000,000 in sales volume, placing the Team among the top 2% of realtors in the Hilton Head MLS. Sampson’s Company, Charter One Realty, also had a record year at over $1.6 Billion in sales, averaging seven transactions per day.

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