You Can Sell Your Home, Even During a Pandemic
If you were thinking of selling your home this year, you might assume the coronavirus has put a pause on that plan indefinitely. But real estate is an essential service during the shutdown. It may be more difficult to complete the process of selling your home during this time, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here’s what real estate pros said about how you can adapt.
Enlist a Sales Pro
A listing on the usual sites — Zillow, Redfin, Trulia — may not be enough to garner interest for your home right now. “Some listing agents are more skilled in online marketing than others,” said realtor Vanessa Spiva with Keller Williams. “So it’s vital to get information about the listing agent’s full marketing strategy.”
The more exposure you can get for your home, the greater your chances of drumming up interest and selling at a good price, Spiva said.
An agent with a solid marketing strategy can help you make the best of an unusual moment, said Kristina Morales, a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Surterre Properties. “While many sellers may be holding off until things become ‘normal’ again, I think there is a real opportunity for those sellers who need to sell now,” she said. “Since the inventory is low and not many new properties are coming to the market, active buyers are jumping on properties and are still finding themselves competing with other buyers.”
Bare It All (Digitally, Of Course …)
Even if you think you’re all Zoomed out, get ready to try a variety of tech tools if you’re preparing to sell. Some states are only allowing virtual open houses and showings right now, Spiva said, and you can expect that most of the sales process will be conducted through digital platforms.
“Any seller currently listed on the market for sale should make sure their agent is tech savvy,” said Jessica Levine, associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman, who recommended virtual tours be available for sharing by email. “The listing should include not just images of the [unit] but also a floor plan and views if possible.”
Broker Gerard Splendore of Warburg Realty said a well-shot video that features every inch of the home is preferable, “Even a quick tour…in both natural and artificial light will provide buyers an overview of the space.”
This is not the time to cross your fingers and hope no one notices your home’s cosmetic faults. “Offering additional information and disclosures up front will increase the likelihood of buyers feeling comfortable and confident with the property and willing to make an offer with either no physical visits…or a very quick walk-through,” Spiva said. “Additional information like a blueprint of the property layout, seller disclosures, and even a preliminary property inspection will add lots of value.”
Get Ready to DIY
If you think you need to dramatically change the look of your home to help it sell, don’t expect the overnight transformation you see on those quick-flip TV shows.
“Comprehensive staging will not be possible, but agents can advise sellers whether some items might be required to make properties more attractive,” said Svetlana Choi, another broker at Warburg Realty. You’ll probably have to order these items, which could be small furniture pieces or decor items, from online retailers and set them up yourself.
If you live in a building, there may be staff on hand who can help with paint touch-ups or small repairs, Choi said. But if that’s not possible — or it’s not possible to maintain a safe distance in order to make those repairs — you may need to pick up a paint brush or wrench yourself.
If you must grant access for private showings, make it easy for guests to come and go while minimizing contact with your home. “Buy gloves, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer and have them sitting near the entrance when people walk in,” Morales said. “Open all doors to all rooms, closets and basements and turn on all lights. The less people touch the knobs and light switches, the better.” She added to ask your listing agent to ask in the showing instructions that agents leave the home just as they found it.
Unfortunately, Expect Delays … It’s the “New Norm”
Be prepared to adapt as the sales process could be required to change at any point.
“The closing may be delayed due to things outside the buyer’s control,” Morales said. “For example, appraisals may take longer than normal or government offices that may need to be accessed are closed or running on limited hours.” While it may be possible to close in 30-45 days, you should expect the entire process to take longer than it normally would.
“All the steps to purchasing — inspections, appraisals and walkthroughs — are taking longer, so it is important to start the process,” Splendore agreed.
© 2020 G/O Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved | Written by: Lisa Rowan (twitter.com/lisatella) | April 17, 2020
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