Interview with Devin McDermott from Keller Williams
Devin McDermott is a local real estate agent in Rochester, NY that works for Keller Williams. He was able to share some local insight and what to the Spring real estate market looks during the pandemic. He gives a quick update of how Covid-19 has changed the real estate business temporarily.
Devin’s journey into real estate came during a family trip in Jamaica when he was encouraged to get his real estate license. He had always been interested in the Rochester real estate market, but had never seriously considered moving forward with the idea. Devin was then recruited to work at Keller Williams and has been there ever since. With other family members also becoming involved with Rochester real estate, it has become a bit of a family business for the McDermott family.
Chris Lawrence: Hi, I’m Chris Lawrence with Helping Homes. And today I’m interviewing a local Rochester real estate agent, Devin McDermott with Keller Williams. Really just want to get a grasp on, is it a normal spring market? What’s going on? What’s he doing differently? What technology are they utilizing? And just get some outlook. So thanks for coming on today and sharing some information, Devin.
Devin McDermott: Yeah, absolute. Thanks for having me.
Chris Lawrence: Yeah, no problem. So what specifically has COVID-19 done in terms of you, how you operate, how you interact with your clients? I would imagine you’re utilizing a lot more technology, virtual stuff. What does that look like for you?
Devin McDermott: Yeah, it’s a lot harder to communicate with our clients than before, we’re not allowed to meet with anybody in person, unfortunately, just due to the COVID-19 restrictions. But we are able to utilize a lot of our Zoom calls and just regular phone calls to keep in touch with them, which is nice because I do get to talk to them much more often than I would before, but we are definitely utilizing a lot of technology with our business now.
Chris Lawrence: Yeah. And that’s, I guess just throw a little caveat there. That’s if the house is occupied, you can’t do any showings, but if it’s vacant, you can let the potential buyers or sellers go through the house and that sort of stuff.
Devin McDermott: Yeah. So if the house is occupied as agents, we are not allowed to arrange for any type of showing. We can’t do open houses, open houses are now being replaced with virtual tours, or you can call them zoom tours, where you might have a scheduled time and people can tune in or schedule an appointment to view the house virtually instead, which isn’t the best. But we are seeing that people are still buying houses, sight unseen, which is showing what a seller’s market we have here in Rochester at the moment.
Chris Lawrence: Right, now kind of due to that, are you seeing any changes in the amount of sales from this year right now and then to last year? Is it the same, different?
Devin McDermott: Yeah, unfortunately the market this year, we have a lot fewer sales here in Monroe County. Over 200 fewer than there were last year. So last year, decent market, this year we are just obviously going to be a bit slower. Well, we do expect that to pick up once the quarantine is lifted and we’re imagining that quite a few people are going to sell their homes once it’s all lifted. So at this point it really is a seller’s market because the inventory is so low. So as a seller, this can be great, you’re going to get a lot of multiple offers, bidding wars for it. But as a buyer, it’s going to be tough to get a place without maybe having to go over asking.
Chris Lawrence: Yeah, that’s great information. Now with all this COVID-19 stuff, what’s the different from the banks? Is the interest rates, are they high? Are they low? Are they the same? What does that look like?
Devin McDermott: Yeah. Interest rates are extremely low at this point. So, I would advise that if anybody is able to get a mortgage and is not on unemployment insurance at this point, I would get locked in. You know, if you’ve got a few months to wait around, get locked in for a low rate right now for the next three months, because when those wall of new homes do come after the quarantine’s lifted, you’re going to have a lot of choice and being guaranteed a really low rate.
Chris Lawrence: Oh, that’s great. That is definitely what you want if you’re a buyer that’s for sure.
Devin McDermott: Uh-huh (affirmative). Absolutely.
Chris Lawrence: Yeah. So, and anything else that you think that would be beneficial for people just in regards to the real estate, from a buyer’s or seller’s perspective or anything that you think would be valuable for people looking for houses?
Devin McDermott: Yeah. You know, a lot of people have lost a lot of money with the stock market, so a lot of times these higher-end homes are not going to sell as easily because with a lot of the wealthier clients, a lot of their wealth is based on their stocks. And there’s a larger part of their assets there. So we are seeing that it’s a bit harder to sell the higher-end homes, but the homes that are around, between a hundred and 300,000 are going to be selling a lot easier than you would the higher-end homes. So, that has been nice.
We’re lucky to have a lot of great providers with us who are doing some great virtual reality tours, some VR tours of homes, they make it almost as if you’re in the home itself. So, we are really finding our ways to do the best that we can with it. But we do expect that to change over the next year and get back to normal. But we’re making do with what we have now and we’re looking forward to the summer and hopefully once these quarantines get lifted, there’s going to be a nice wave coming through.
Chris Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. Is there any update or anything with you, like when these things will be lifted, or is it just kind of a wait and see approach to this point.
Devin McDermott: At this point, a wait and see approach. We know that the quarantine was extended, I believe until June 6th and it keeps getting pushed back. So it’s really hard to know what’s going to happen next, but once something does happen we’re informed very quickly and we make these changes that are needed. But at this point it is more of a wait and see approach to see if the quarantine gets extended, if it holds up at June 6th and how that affects the real estate market.
Chris Lawrence: Yeah. I mean, it probably changes daily, weekly, listening to the news it’s always ever changing. So, yeah. Great, anything else you’d like to talk about, or do you think that’s about it?
Devin McDermott: No, I’d just like to sum it up with right now is really a seller’s market and you do have a great chance of getting multiple offers for your home. I recently just sold a home with the help of Helping Homes here that sold sight unseen for over asking. So it was something that was almost unexpected at the beginning, but the offers kept coming through. It was a nice, beautiful home and we were lucky to price it right. Without the right price you’re not going to get these multiple offers. So working with somebody that kind of knows what they’re doing and knows the market and how to price it, will go a very long way. But if you’re looking to make some money right now on your home, right now is the time to sell.
Chris Lawrence: Yeah. Great. And it sounds like from listening to you, a lot of the first time home buyer houses, right? Like the houses, 200, 250, maybe even 300 and maybe not first time home buyers, but houses that are affordable in Rochester are still moving. And if priced right, the adequate repairs and that sort of stuff, you’re still able to buy and sell in this market, even though the coronavirus, COVID-19 is still here.
Devin McDermott: Yeah, absolutely and you know good homes will sell it at any point. So, if you get great quality, the right price, at the right time, you can be in for some extra money that you didn’t think you would have had before.
Chris Lawrence: Great, well thanks so much, Devin. If anyone wants to get ahold of you, whether they’re looking to buy or sell their house in Rochester, what would be the best way to get ahold of you?
Devin McDermott: Yeah. So, just sending an email to me, an inquiry and I’d be happy to give any prices, we can see what your home is worth. Talk about what the timeline looks like, the market. I’d be happy to answer anything and I can just be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Lawrence: Okay, perfect. Yeah. And I will put your email and phone number below the blog and video article on our website. So, thank you so much for your time, Dev. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Devin McDermott: Absolutely. Thanks Chris.