Well, a lot has changed in the past month. If I’m rereading this 15-20 years in the future, here’s a quick rundown;
Virus spreads around the world. Affects mostly older people, not kids. Economy shuts down. Here in Washington State, kids don’t have school, it’s canceled for the remainder of the year, and I’m mostly working from home. The last half of March, and so far the first part of April, have been spent almost exclusively at home with the kids.
The positive sides though; air quality is said to be improved, traffic (in case I do have to go anywhere) is incredible, gas is the cheapest I can remember it being (around Issaquah, it’s gone from around $2.99 to $2.39 for regular unleaded, and I’ve seen it as low as $1.54 per gallon in somewhat nearby Cle Elum). I have yet to fill up though, as I have probably driven only 100 miles in about 3 weeks.
Being at home has been good for the wallet, and spending the time with the kids is always a positive, especially at their ages. Hopefully we can get through this without impacting/infecting our parents and family. I haven’t seen my mom face to face other than when I dropped off some donuts for her in a box that I only touched with gloves on.
With all that said, here’s how the rest of life has been impacted;
Real Estate – Since there are rules for showing properties (smaller groups allowed in homes, no open houses, must set appointments), showing activity is down for us. But it goes in waves (I guess real estate always does). I’ve read that homes are still going pending, and still closing… but I’m also reading about potential buyers wanting to wait out this virus scare, and being concerned about the long term economic impact (prices decreasing).
Areas that tend to be really hot and competitive are still hot. I couldn’t believe that 4 homes listed in The Woods in Issaquah all went Pending within days of being listed. But the outlying areas appear to have homes that are lingering on the market. And now is not the time to set a “high list price” just to see what happens. I’d be aggressive if you plan on listing now, to give people a reason to get out of their homes and want to come visit.
My 2 cents; As always, if you have the financial means to buy, and you love a specific area, don’t pass it up. Because there’s always going to be a demand in this region. Especially the closer you are to Seattle / Bellevue.
ECommerce / Sturtevants – Ski and snowboard shops seem to be hurting out there in the online world. I’ve never seen so many deals! Makes me want to whip out my wallet and start ordering things I don’t need. Some companies were so desperate, I saw many deals below wholesale.
The good news is that most ski resorts usually close in mid-April. So sales would have slowed down anyway around this time. However, March is usually a huge month for sales, and many people buy items to stock up for next season.
And sales aren’t just happening in winter sports. I’m seeing sales everywhere. Nordstrom had a few days where they had 25% off their entire site. Dicks Sporting Goods, Best Buy, REI all seem to have a daily sale going (happening online though, not in stores).
For us, it’s been a struggle. Most of our staff has been let go or furloughed. Essential businesses are allowed to operate, but obviously a ski / tennis shop is not. I’ve gone into the warehouse about once a week to ship orders out. But with the way our site is structured, a lot of items get pulled from the retail locations. And that’s where it gets tough since I don’t have keys to the stores.
Plus, sales for the online department are WAY up. I guess it’s obvious that when people can’t buy in-store from their favorite shops, they tend to go online. The good news is that a lot of local people have been supporting us, and that’s always good to see. Hopefully we can weather this pandemic and reopen as early as May. That’s my hope anyway!
Until next time…