I’m always asked about real estate in Southern California…
…especially by those who have had a bit of financial success in life and may be looking for sunny beaches, open air, and less confinement in their homes.
I know a lot about cars, a bit about planes, but zero when it comes to real estate, so I called friends Misty Frazier and Cindy Carvel, real estate experts in the South Bay, a bit of Southern California coast that takes in Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach. Between appointments, they sat down with me to answer questions I routinely get.
So let’s start with what hasn’t changed since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off earlier this year.
How we work with clients has changed, but the desire for beautiful living spaces hasn’t. High Net Wealth (HNW) and the Ultra High Net Wealth (UHNW) clients are still buying and selling real estate.
Before returning to the “new normal” though, we had to suffer through a pandemic panic during the March 2020 shutdown. The good news is within a couple of weeks clients began trickling back as we all learned to cope. Not long after that the floodgates of buying and selling began.
Then what has changed in the luxury home market?
Whew! The pandemic has brought changes you should be aware of, though.
The first change we’ve seen is where clients want to live.
We now have more clients who want out of the cities and into the suburbs. Additionally, expats are now returning home.
Whether they already live in the United States or are arriving from overseas, the top request is more square footage— both in home size and outdoor space. Other popular requirements include: pools, home gyms, home theaters, dedicated office space and home classrooms.
So what has caused the short supply of homes?
This pent-up demand has also created a supply shortage. We often see multiple offers, but clients are not overpaying for property. HNW and UHNW clients are just as sensitive to tax and price as the average consumer.
How are you handling open houses during Covid-19?
The biggest change we’ve experienced is how we market and advertise homes. Gone for now or maybe for good, are open houses and printed fliers. Sellers don’t want a lot of people waking through their home to limit exposure. If you do walk through a house, you’ll need to make an appointment. You should expect to wear a mask, sign a waiver and be limited to two guests at one time. And just like in public spaces, surfaces will be sanitized between visits.
Is digital marketing here to stay?
As traditional marketing wanes, digital avenues including social media are filing the void. We’re still posting still photos and videos, but we now also produce 3D tours allowing clients a virtual walkthrough.
This enables buyers to tour the home 24/7 as if they are walking through the space themselves. Clients get a great feel for the home’s layout. 3D virtual tours also allow my home listings to be seen by buyers across the globe or across the street to safely narrow their search.
Our HNW and UHNW clients have also flocked to social media including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and that’s where you can find our listings. We’ve always felt we were headed towards this virtual world, but the pandemic shoved us into the future and we don’t think we’re going back.
Change is a constant, but we’re finding that we and our clients are adapting to find their dream home even during a pandemic. As moms and long time residents of South Bay, we both understand what families want. That’s the real thrill of working with clients: understanding their needs and then turning those into reality.
Prices will always be going up in SoCal. As the old adage says, they aren’t building any more land here, and many people are looking for a way to enjoy what the coast has to offer.
Whether it’s a primary residence, second home or income property, we love showing off the California lifestyle to those who may have had this wonderful bit of the world on their radar.
I hope that answers some of your questions about the Covid-19 and changes and opportunities in real estate. You can always reach Cindy and Misty at firstname.lastname@example.org, call them at the office: 1-424-500-8543, or their website: www.carvelfrasier.com