At the moment, you may have questions about selling real estate in Paris during the coronavirus pandemic.
While we are living in unprecedented times, the property market has not stopped. Instead, it has adapted.
In this interview, we speak to the founder and Managing Director of 56Paris, Kerstin Bachmann.
Kerstin leads the team here, leveraging years of experience to help our clients navigate the complex Paris real estate market. This includes a discerning local and international clientele who are buying, selling, renting or owning property.
She gives an update on the current situation, as the French capital deals with new challenges, and looks ahead to the post-coronavirus market.
Changes and restrictions during Covid-19
How has the Covid-19 situation changed the real estate market in Paris?
Kerstin: Since the restrictions of movement imposed by the government, we are no longer in a position to conduct property visits. However, home buyers continue to contact us for information about available properties. When we have videos, we send them out so the client can view the property remotely. Otherwise, we send photos, describe the property, and advise whether it seems like a good match. All the while taking note of potential buyers so we can resume visits as soon as the crisis is over. So far, no one has made a lowball offer to buy sight unseen, and I doubt our sellers would accept such an offer.
How are sellers adjusting to these restrictions?
Kerstin: It depends on where they are in their marketing cycle. Sellers just beginning to market their properties are waiting and suspending any further activity until after the crisis has passed. For those who have accepted an offer, we have had different reactions depending on their individual situation. Some carry on with the sale at the agreed price. Others honor the accepted offer but are waiting to reassess whether the accepted price is still in sync with the market when the crisis is over. Finally, sellers who are past the pre-contract are all moving forward to closing.
Predictions for those selling real estate in Paris
What do you predict will happen in the weeks and months ahead? Should sellers expect to lower their price?
Kerstin: For what it’s worth, I don’t think so, they might have to weather initial uncertainty when first coming out of the storm, but judging from the inquiries we have been receiving – even while not being able to visit properties – I think this phase won’t last very long. Overall, I predict we will all be very busy when we come out the other end of this tunnel!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of selling their Paris property at the moment?
Kerstin: I strongly advise to keep a cool head. The uncertainty of the market and the speculative tendency that comes with it plays in favor of bargain hunters. My advice is to stay put and if you receive a lowball offer, wait until after the crisis to reassess. That way you have a solid position to negotiate from and to avoid complications. Either the market will go up and the property price will adjust to the new market reality. Alternatively, prices will go down and sellers can either postpone the sale of their property or lower the price. Looking at how Paris has behaved in the past, most experts predict that prices will remain stable, and even go up a bit further after the crisis.
Home improvements and other investments
Would you recommend that people instead focus on other activities, such as investing their money elsewhere? Or even home improvement projects?
Kerstin: That depends on their willingness to take risks. There are always financial winners and losers coming out of a crisis. Looking for interesting stocks on the financial market and buying at low rates can certainly be tempting, but it is also risky. My bet would be more solid investment forms like brick and mortar, art, and gold. Yes, improving your house is a good idea, as long as the work is not too extensive so you can anticipate the timeline. But remember you may also face a lack of building supplies and help from workers. You wouldn’t want to turn your hideout into a construction site, then be stuck and unable to sell when the market picks up and the best prices are obtainable.
Finally, do you have any advice to give your fellow real estate agents at this time?
Kerstin: These are tough times for realtors, as we are in the midst of the prime time when we do most of our business. With the lockdown and legal delays that result from it, we are expecting to see closings postponed by weeks, if not months. I would advise to take a deep breath, stay alert, and to be ready when the market picks up. Always stay attentive to your clients’ needs, and help them with your professional advice to cope with these moments of uncertainty. But don’t push your clients. This is a difficult time for everyone, and we can all use some patience.
Still open, still here to support you
Like all businesses in Paris, and indeed the world, we are finding new ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 56Paris team are working remotely and safely, and are on hand to assist with your queries.
Whenever you are planning on renting, buying or selling real estate in Paris, please do get in touch to see how we can help.