Dear Friends & Clients,
First, I hope this message finds you, your family, and your colleagues, healthy and safe. It’s times like these where we take stock of our lives and appreciate our friends and family. As my family “shelters in place,” I’m reminded how important it is for all of us to stay connected and show our appreciation.
Finding Our New Normal
Like many of you, it feels like our lives literally turned upside down overnight. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered how we live and work, at least through this most immediate crisis. This is a time where we need to pull together as a community, practice social distancing, and support those who are on the front lines: first responders, medical personnel, and those diligent workers that keep essential services open and available. In the coming weeks, my hope is that we all keep calm and appreciate that we are all in this together, even amidst the unrelenting and unsettling news.
Be Kind To Yourself and Others
Over the last several days I’m heartened to hear how many of us are pulling together (virtually) and showing community support. In Santa Clara County we’re nearing the one-week mark of mandated Shelter in Place. To help maintain a positive attitude, here are a few things my family and others are doing:
- Try meditation, mindfulness and stress-reduction practices. Many of us are under tremendous stress. It’s not common for our thoughts to race, making it difficult to concentrate. There are several mobile apps, like Headspace and Calm, that provide guided and unguided meditations. I’m also starting to see more online meditation courses (e.g., Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction).
- Be physical. Personally, I’m walking my dogs to clear my head and get some exercise. We also set up a personal training circuit inside and outside of the house using jump ropes and a makeshift obstacle course where we climb stairs, do crunches and pushups, and jumping jacks. There are many virtual options, including your favorite personal trainer’s YouTube channel or apps like Obe Fitness. Don’t have weights at home? No problem, here’s a list of household items you can use instead.
- Clean your environment. We all know the importance of keeping our hands clean and avoiding touching our face. I’ve found cleaning to be therapeutic (it is exercise in my book), and I’m getting my kids involved. Beyond the routine cleaning, we are doing deeper cleaning, making sure that light switches and door handles are sanitized. Run out of handy wipes? Here’s a DIY version with things you probably already have on hand.
- Tend relationships. Technology has advanced to the point where it’s easy to connect virtually. Many of us have a hiatus from work commutes or dashing about running errands. It’s also an opportune time to really connect. With this slower pace, you have the chance to have deeper conversations with those who matter to you.
- Be creative. For many parents, this is a very challenging time. Children are home from school. Rather than burning up energy on the playground or via team sports, they are cooped up inside, often for hours at a time. Now is the time to get creative — beyond binge watching streaming tv. How about playing a virtual board game with a grandparent? It can keep your kids occupied and combat loneliness often felt by older loved ones. What better time to use FaceTime or video chat?
Economic & Real Estate Market Impact
Information about the impact to the U.S. and Bay Area economies is alarming and potentially speculative. The same holds true about the real estate market. I’ll be sifting through the economic and real estate data and will share the latest facts and trends with you as they emerge.
What I know to be true is that Bay Area real estate historically trends with the stock market. That said, there are several differences between the Great Recession and the period leading to the Coronavirus pandemic. Pre-2008, many home buyers financed more than 100% of loan-to-value. When prices dropped, it was easier to walk away and hence foreclosures and short sales increased. Over the last decade, we’ve seen significant home appreciation and a rise in home equity. Even with a real estate market adjustment, most homeowners still have an appreciable amount of home equity, a financial investment they aren’t willing to lose. In reality it’s simply too soon to know how it will all play out.
In the meantime, please stay safe and practice social distancing to help our communities battle COVID-19. I remain focused and committed to my clients. Please let me know if there’s any way I can assist you.