Because the market tilts in favor of sellers, Mr. Rinehart advises buyers to ignore certain issues, like minor repairs, that they may have negotiated over in a less heated market. “This is an unusual time,” he said.
Diana Ragland said she and her husband had started looking for a larger home for their family in Colorado Springs in February, but put their search on hold when in-person home tours were suspended because of the pandemic.
“We weren’t willing to make an offer when we could only do virtual tours,” she said. “I have to physically walk through and get the smell of the house.”
In May, with the restrictions lifted, the couple were able to tour a new house that met their needs, and their offer was accepted within a few days. Their old house went under contract in just two days, and both properties are expected to close on the same day this month.
While most shoppers balk at buying properties without visiting them first, that has sometimes been necessary during the pandemic, said Donna Deaton, a relocation specialist in the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas. While traditional open houses are returning in some markets, she said, some property owners still prefer that shoppers make appointments. Buyers who sign up for the first available slots get to make the first offers, leaving those with later appointments out of luck.
“We are scrambling to find homes for buyers,” Ms. Deaton said.
One problem, she said, is that some sellers are reluctant to put their homes on the market because they worry they won’t be able to find a new property for themselves and will have to rent while they shop.
In some cases, homeowners who were planning to sell have decided to remain where they are and renovate instead, adding home offices because they expect to commute less, said David Legaz, a broker with Keller Williams in Flushing, N.Y., and the president-elect of the New York State Association of Realtors.