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Talking Points: For Consumers

Updated on March 27, 2020

How to Talk to Consumers About Homebuying and Selling in the ‘New Norm’ 

Key Talking Points


Expanded Talking Points

California REALTORS® working to protect the consumer

  • Introductions

    • Your Name -- Your Association -- Your Role 

    • Number of members

    • Markets members serve

  • No one is more concerned about real estate owners and homebuyers and sellers than the [NUMBER OF] members of the [LOCAL] Association of REALTORS®.

    • Countless hours and dollars spent protecting:

      • Marketplace for consumers to buy, own and transfer real property.

      • Private property rights for all Californians.

    • We do more than buy and sell homes. We are active members of the communities in which we live.

      • Philanthropy

      • Political affiliations

      • House of worship service 

  • Agent, homebuyer and seller safety are primary

    • Adapting to ‘new norm’ and abiding by government orders.

    • Agents can choose to refuse to drive potential clients to see homes as long business practices are applied equally to all clients. 

    • However, for those who choose to continue to drive clients in their cars, it is a good idea to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces like door handles and seatbelt latches, and to ask clients to use hand sanitizer when getting in and out of the car. 

    • Again, our REALTOR® members will remain mindful of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act and California’s own fair housing laws and be sure not to discriminate against any particular segment of the population.


 Should I buy now?

  • While our lives have changed suddenly and drastically, and we are all being extra vigilant during this tumultuous time, the decision-making factors associated with buying a home remain the same.

    • Buyers will still be impacted by life events, personal finances, job relocation and stability, available housing supply and mortgage rates, to name a few. 

    • What also remains the same is that, from a long-term perspective, the benefit of wealth accumulation, positive intergenerational effects and social gains of homeownership are undeniable. 

    • The current crisis has not undermined the long-term value of owning a home in California. 

    • In addition, the current low-rate environment offers first-time homebuyers a unique opportunity to get their foot on the property ladder at a historically low cost.

    • For those in the financial markets, many potential buyers will have seen their wealth negatively impacted, which could reduce their willingness to purchase and/or the amount they are able to offer on a home. Alternatively, they could be incentivized to invest in real estate as a strategy to protect their assets from further financial market turbulence.

    • The bottom line: Each individual homebuyer should consider their own specific personal and financial circumstances and understand that while the risks from coronavirus as this ‘new norm’ are certainly more elevated, the economy and housing market will recover and housing in California will resume its upward trend.


Should I sell now?

  • If the time is right for you, the time to sell is now. 

    • If a seller’s personal and financial circumstances help make them comfortable pulling the trigger, then selling in today’s ‘new norm’ can prove fruitful.

    • Housing demand is high, as homes in California were selling quickly in February with minimal discounts. Plus, there is currently a dearth of homes available for sale with pending sales down and active listings falling by more than 20 percent in recent months. 

    • Therefore, in terms of market fundamentals, sellers are poised to sell their homes quickly and near to their full asking price.

    • We do caution our seller clients that they should balance these positive market trends against the unknown impacts of a worsening coronavirus outbreak like economic uncertainty and the potential for recessionary job losses, as well as the risks of infection during the physical process of selling their home that come from open houses, listing appointments,and other personal interactions.

    • The bottom line: California’s chronically undersupplied housing market should keep some upward pressure on home prices as demand far outstrips available housing supply. 


Is now a good time to refinance my mortgage?

  • It depends: Conventional wisdom says if you’re able to reduce your mortgage interest rate by at least 1 percent, then a conversation with a lender is worth pursuing.

    • When you sit down with the lender, make certain you ask about refinancing costs, as they can be higher than the initial mortgage and can take years to recoup. 

    • The good news is that mortgage rates remain at historic lows and last March, they fell to an all-time low. However, with the market buzzing, the rates quickly shot back up as loan originators struggled to keep pace with the demand. 

    • The bottom line: From a macroeconomic standpoint, rates are near historic lows, which presents a significant opportunity to save money over many years.

C.A.R. Consumer Mediation Center Offers Online Filing and Mediation Services

The C.A.R. Consumer Mediation Center handles real estate transaction mediations throughout the year. Due to COVID-19-related restrictions, your chosen mediator may not be able to offer in-person mediation services at this time, but we have expanded the number of panel mediators available to offer their services online.  Most of our panel mediators are now equipped to mediate matters via teleconferencing and videoconferencing solutions, such as Zoom.   The parties can either agree to an online mediation or delay the mediation until an in-person meeting is permissible.  Further information and online filing of mediation is available here.

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