Have you ever had one of those ‘aha’ moments when you think you know something and it actually turns out to be true or positive? With so much uncertain traffic being driven across the media, how can we navigate between the objective claims and the false evidence to have more of those aha moments that shines through us with a spirit of resilience? The truth is most of us are being bullied by the media and we aren’t even aware; the more we digest their shallow findings, the more anxious we become. As a seller, let us examine some of the reasons why you may want to reconsider pulling your property off the market or worse yet, not listing at all:
- Everyone’s Online
During the year 2016 through 2019 internet usage in the Caribbean Spiked from 43.7% to 50.8% according to Internet World Stats. This represents a 3.8 Million appreciation in the amount of people online albeit via mobile or computer.
This is great news for you if you choose to market your properties online and with the onslaught of the virus many others are being forced to use the internet as a virtual space for work, socializing and entertainment.
- Virtual Tools available to List
Many sellers have stopped listing; this doesn’t mean you should join the pity party. There are lots of online resources to assist in the offsite listing process. For example, Docusign offers a free trial which can help realtors sign documents with Property owners in the Caribbean without being physically there. Additionally platforms like Zoom will allow you access to a digital interface with your realtor before making a final decision to hire them. To assist them in marketing for you, simply snap some photos and videos so they can share with their networks.
- Lengthy Closing Process
You’ve accepted the offer made on your property after waiting months on your trusted realtor to find you a buyer, now it’s time to enter into an agreement of sale. Your buyer makes his/her 10% down-payment and in the sales agreement it is stated that you each have 90 days to compile all the required documentation and complete the steps necessary to close on the property. The buyer’s attorney will organize the title search which normally takes 2-3 weeks in Trinidad & Tobago as well as ensure that the property is free of any encumbrances in order to prepare the conveyance documents. During this period you can ensure that all your ducks are lined up by having your relevant paperwork while the well informed buyer should have his pre-approval in place with his lender and on his/her way to getting a valuation report from a valuator on the bank’s panel. Many things can delay this process such as clouds on the title, the appraisal comes in too low or the financing falls through. It’s better to start now rather than later while working alongside a realtor with a good track record to mitigate shortcomings.
- Interest Rates are Low
At a glance, some of the measures the Ministry of Finance Trinidad & Tobago is taking in the fight against COVID-19 is by working in collaboration with the Central Bank to reduce the reserve requirement and the repo rate. This simply means banks will be permitted to be more liquid with cash and can thus issue more loans to the public. The latter refers to the rate the commercial banks borrow money on from the Central Bank which ultimately trickles down to the public; in economic terms these adjustments are referred to as monetary policy which the CBTT uses to influence the money supply. So what does this mean for you? Well, buyers are in a much better position to afford the payments on their mortgages if their income hasn’t been affected which boils down to your property becoming more attractive if they couldn’t afford the payments before.
- Investors love “Crisis”
Market prices are simply driven by demand and supply. Think of interest rates as the price paid on loans; when interest rates are low demand for loans go up. The savvy investor is in his glee when this happens because while others are pulling out of the market because of the fear of equity loss, he/she is taking advantage of the low interest rates to buy more property. In the short run, he will benefit from the proportionate increase in demand for rental property as most people are scared to buy a home now and this allows for a greater spread of cashflow.
Secondly, property prices aren’t going to shift much either. According to an official housing report compiled in McHardy, P. and M. G. Donovan, the state of social housing in Six Caribbean Countries (Washington, D.C.: Inter-American Development Bank, 2016), 17,400, 10,000, 5,200 and 3,600 homes need to be built in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and The Bahamas respectively to close the housing deficit. This means that demand for housing is greater than supply and when this is the case prices tend to rise or remain linear. In a nutshell, you shouldn’t worry about not selling because of an expected low offer price.
Make sure to call your agent, today. They will know how to best guide you during this time.