Three Top Luxury Agents Share How They’re Coping With Coronavirus And What Sellers Need to Do Now

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Christine McKenny is pragmatic when talking about the state of the local luxury real estate business.

“It’s a touch-and-go situation that’s going to change on a weekly, if not daily, basis. So much will depend on how quickly the coronavirus is able to be contained,” said the veteran Allie Beth Allman agent when taking everything into account.

Christine McKenny

Plunging stock prices only added fuel to an impending fire, she said. “The impact on the $2.5 million-plus market was immediate.” 

She cites two recent experiences with prospective California clients.

“I videoed one house myself. But the client can’t get out of San Francisco, even on a private plane.” Another deal is on pause. “They’re concerned whether they’ll be able to sell their home there before committing to property here,” says McKenny.

That said, there always will be people who need to move and buy homes —particularly those wanting to live in the Park Cities. “Even after one client pulled his listing, I’m still getting showing requests.” 

More Options Means More Business

“People are wanting to know if deals are going through,” said Dave Perry-Miller luxury specialist Ryan Streiff.

With no scheduled open houses and a reduced number of showings, it’s about balancing the comfort level of buyers and sellers.

Ryan Streiff

“You have to be creative,” Streiff added. “If someone has a house for sale, we’re trying to provide more options for access. No one knows what’s in store.”

What Streiff is sure of is that sellers should be gearing up for the return of the market, from decluttering to initiating home improvement projects.

“There may be fewer buyers, so you’re going to want to be strong coming out of the gate,” Streiff said. “Being at home is the perfect time to get your house ready to sell.”

Investing in First And Second Homes Still a Smart Idea

Seasoned Compass professional Suzanne Warner agrees. In addition to refinancing her own North Dallas home, she’s planning upgrades including a pool remodel.

Suzanne Warner

“It’s important for people to keep their homes current. It’s part of protecting their investment.” She and her team specialize in tailoring a personal plan for each client. “It’s the real value of having a luxury agent.”

Despite Wall Street’s volatility, Warner advocates there are still great opportunities for both buyers and sellers.

“There’s probably not going to be another time when people will see these kind of rates,” she says. “Put some big numbers into mortgage calculator—it’s a wow. The savings are significant.”

Warner is also bullish on the second home market, particularly lakefront properties in close proximity to Dallas. As the agent for 505 Ranch Club on Cedar Creek Lake, she sees more owners spending time at their lake houses — not to mention potential buyers looking to invest. “The Live-Work-Play concept is only going to gain strength. It’s why we’re so busy at the lake,” she says. 

The 505 Ranch and Club is a popular Cedar Creek Lake escape.

Having invested in his own lake property in Lindale a few years ago, Streiff says he’s incredibly grateful.

“It’s an amazing thing to have this safe place to go just an hour and a half away.” Looking ahead, he predicts less dense areas are only going to become more appealing. “It really drives home the importance of taking care of ourselves. While it’s still too early to know the far-reaching effects, coronavirus has really changed our permanent belief structures.”

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Elaine Raffel

Having left the corporate world to launch her own freelance creative business, Elaine Raffel is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the mega-talented Dallas homebuilding community. She credits her work with top fashion and design brands for teaching her one inarguably valuable lesson: that truly great work is always a collaboration.

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