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Tips on buying, selling a home during the coronavirus pandemic

While it's not the most ideal time for a home purchase or sale, the real estate market certainly isn't stagnant in Western New York.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Despite a pandemic, people are still buying and selling homes in Western New York — though the process might look a little different in some cases.

The market is still in favor of sellers in the Buffalo area because of the lower supply of available homes versus the demand. 

According to Al Ryer, licensed real estate broker with Re/Max North, there about 1,500 active listings for single-family homes, condos and multi-unit dwellings across the area. 

"Typically that number being around 3,500 would be better, but the last few years, we've been in the low 2,000s," Ryer said. 

Ryer also said to expect home prices to hold steady despite the pandemic because of the lower inventory, though you might see less competition in what's normally a competitive market.

"It's just that there might not be five, six or 10 offers on the same houses that there might have been a few months ago," Ryer said.

And pandemic or not, a house has to be priced right to sell.

"The average house price is up about six or seven percent from last year at this time," Ryer said.

There are no traditional showings or open houses due to the New York State on Pause order, which is in effect until May 15.

Buyers, sellers, realtors and brokers are coming up with different ways to see and show homes.

"I've seen special permission from the seller to the buyer directly saying you can go into the house. It's vacant. It'll be unlocked. And of course the buyer would have to wear masks and gloves, things like that typically, in order to see it," Ryer said.

You can also ask your realtor or broker to do a more in-depth virtual tour for you, instead of just relying on the video already posted on a real estate website.

"I'm going to show you everything about the house. The strengths, the weaknesses. Good parts. Bad parts. As a buyer, you can weigh how is this house priced based on its condition as opposed to a beautiful virtual tour done by the listing company that are going to show you the better parts of the house," Ryer said.

Make sure you have all of your financial pre-approvals done ahead of time because that makes you a more competitive potential buyer.

It's not recommended you buy a home before seeing it in person, though Ryer said he's heard of people making an offer based on a virtual tour and where the contract is contingent on a later visit and home inspection.

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