WORCESTER – The housing market, like businesses everywhere, has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For realtors, that has meant dealing with limited inventory, something which REMAX/Advantage 1 realtors and colleagues, Jo-Ann Szymczak and Diane Casey Luong, acknowledged can be challenging for those needing to sell before buying.
“[It] can add additional stress to someone looking to make a downsize change,” they noted.
Other stressors, for both clients and agents alike, have been the implementation of health and safety protocols to protect potential buyers and other agents at the property for sale, as well as those living within the home.
“Understanding what our clients’ comfort level is, planning accordingly with safety gear and protocols, is key to their peace of mind,” said Luong.
Before committing to buy or sell, Szymczak and Luong recommended that potential clients take time to choose an agent who is an experienced realtor.
Real estate, especially when the market is strong, can be a magnet for people looking for a lucrative new career. A substantial financial investment – your home! – could end up in the hands of someone inexperienced.
“Buyers and sellers should… interview and evaluate the agent or agents that they will be working with,” advised Szymczak. “It can make all the difference.”
Szymczak and Luong have worked together for over ten years. Szymczak, Realtor Emeritus and past president of The Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors, has over forty-five years in real estate. She has a BS in Education, has been a real estate instructor for over thirty years and holds several designations in the field. Luong, who is a Realtor Affiliate for the Homes for Heroes program, has sixteen years in real estate. She has an MBA, an extensive background in several service industries, and strong, tech savvy skills.
For Seniors Looking to Downsize
Older adults often have a lifetime of possessions which can hinder their ability to downsize. Luong suggested that seniors start the de-cluttering process early, well in advance of listing their property for sale. Not only will an uncluttered home show better; advance-planning will also alleviate the stress of the seller of having to make last-minute decisions on what to purge or keep.
Once they have committed to downsizing, older adults may ponder their next move. Should they consider a 55+ community or a smaller residence in a traditional neighborhood?
While a 55+ community can offer the benefits of low maintenance, snow removal and lawn care, Luong cautioned that there can be some negatives, such as restrictions on gardening, as well as limited time for family or visitors under 55 for extended visits. Realtors can offer buyers guidance as to what option is best for their situation.
Homes for Heroes
The current pandemic has renewed the focus on our everyday heroes: health care workers, firemen and EMTs, police officers, military, and teachers, who put their lives on the line daily in service to others. The Homes for Heroes program, which was initially established after 9/11, offers an opportunity to say “thank you” to these selfless individuals.
Luong was proud to have been the #1 Homes for Heroes Realtor affiliate in Massachusetts for 2020. Hero Rewards are offered to eligible buyers and sellers; Luong pays a referral to Homes for Heroes, after which the client receives a reward check from the program. Although Szymczak is not an agent affiliate, she and Luong collaborate and share eligible clients. Visit https://www.dianesmybroker.com/homes-for-heroes for more information on the program.
Diane Casey Luong and Jo-Ann Szymczak can be reached at REMAX/Advantage 1, 25 Union Street, 4th Floor, Worcester, by calling Luong at 774-239-2939 or Szymczak at 508-943-7669.