How to Sell Your Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Following Protocol: How to Sell Your Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Selling on your own in stress-free times can be a hassle, but during a pandemic it’s a whole different story. With coronavirus still causing uncertainty in our daily lives, many people who are trying to sell their home feel stuck. Not only is the pandemic emotionally draining, but selling a home adds even more stress and exhaustion to the mix. However, since nobody really knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone a few months from now, many people who have been wanting to sell their home are deciding to take action. It is possible to sell your home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also means that you’ll have to take more precautionary measures and follow the guidelines to keep your community safe. Regardless of coronavirus, real estate is still part of our lives and has even been classified as an essential service. While state laws differ in what you can and can’t do during the selling process, there are still options. In this article, we’ll talk about how to follow protocol and sell your home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Get Comfortable with Virtual Showings
The main thing that’s going to be different when selling your home during this pandemic is how you show people your home. Since many states still require strict social distancing practices, and most of society is hesitant to put themselves at risk, virtual showings are becoming the norm. While it might present a bit of a learning curve for those who are less technologically inclined, it’s well worth it in the end.
Prepare for Digital Presentation
The first step is preparing for digital presentation. You’ll need to take all of the same steps that you would if you were planning an open house. Make sure that you thoroughly clean your home, tidy up, and put away any clutter. The same rules still apply, and people like to be able to picture themselves in a home. The best way to allow this to happen is to have open countertops and remove any pictures of friends or family. If you have more furniture than fits the space, rent a self-storage unit and put the extra things away. This will help increase your visible floor space and make your home appear larger. Add a few decorative touches and you’re on your way to a successful digital presentation for virtual listings.
Take Listing Photographs
Next, you’re going to need to take the listing photographs. While it is possible to hire professionals during this time, you should try taking your own to limit contact. Phone cameras have improved tremendously over the years and with the right angles and lighting, you’ll be amazed at what you can do. Try using a tripod to avoid blurry pictures and avoid taking any pictures that create glares from mirrors, windows, or any reflective surface in your home. If you see a glare, retake the picture from a different angle. To get the right lighting, open any blinds or curtains and keep all of the lights on. Take a few different pictures throughout the day to get comparisons for the best lighting—it’s worth the added time and effort. If you’re taking pictures of open spaces, make sure there’s something in frame to use as a size comparison and always take more pictures than you think you need. You’ll be amazed at how subtle differences can make such big differences.
Record Video Walkthroughs
Another way to improve your virtual listing is by adding a video walkthrough. This is a little harder for non-professionals, but if you can add it to your listing you’ll end up with more interested buyers. There’s a very specific way you need to hold your phone and move the camera, then you should take some time to try editing the video for the best results. Try watching other walkthrough videos for a comparison, make sure to plan your walkthrough before you start, and spend a few hours getting lost in tutorials.
Include a 3-D Dollhouse Tour
Another thing that will improve your listing is adding a 3-D dollhouse tour that’s self-navigable. You’ll need to work with your agent on this, but it will allow people to “walk through” your home virtually and provide a better idea of the overall layout.
Take Extra Precautions for In-Person Showings
If you absolutely have to show your house to potential buyers, don’t worry. During the pandemic this is a sign that someone is seriously interested in making an offer—almost no one is willing to close without performing an in-person showing. Here are a few extra precautions to take for in-person showings.
Only Take Serious Buyers
To help limit your exposure and reduce the number of people that come into your home during the selling process, only allow serious buyers to come for showings. Make sure that they’ve been pre-qualified, so you know they’re ready to move forward if they like it and always have your agent double check with them first. Serious buyers may even show up with a pre-approved cash letter in hand.
Limit the Number of People Allowed
During an in-person showing, make sure that your buyers show up with as few people as possible. Let them know that due to the circumstances, you’re trying to reduce exposure risks and buyers should not bring their children or friends along with them.
Get COVID-19 Certification Signatures
As an added precaution, some homeowners are having buyers sign a form to acknowledge that they are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been exposed as far as they know.
Require the Proper Personal Protective Equipment
Masks are required in most states in public places, so it’s understandable for you to ask the people coming to see your home to wear them as well. To help further increase the safety measures, you can also provide booties and gloves for people during the in-person showing. Just make sure to have a trash can available for the proper discarding of used PPE after the showing.
Prepare for Minimal Touching
Opening and closing doors happens a lot during in-person home showings—people like to see what kind of cabinet space your home has and how big the closets are. To help prepare for minimal touching, have everything open. While it might seem a little excessive, people will understand why you’re doing it. You should also turn on all of your lights so that people aren’t tempted to use the light switches.
Clean and Disinfect Frequently
Even if you prepare for minimal touching, there’s still a chance that some contact is going to happen. To make sure that you and your family stay safe, and the avoid cross-contamination between potential buyers, make sure that you clean and disinfect your home frequently—at least once after every showing.
Look into Remote Closing Options
If a buyer decides to move forward with purchasing your home, there are options for remote closing. Remote closing has been around since before COVID-19, but it’s growing in popularity to help maintain social distancing guidelines. There are 23 states that currently offer online notarization policies so you can close on a sale without having to be there physically. However, these options are limited based on the buyer’s lender, the state, and a few other specifications. Talk to your real estate agent about your options for remote closing to see if you’re eligible.
If you’re eligible to move forward with remote closing, you will receive titles and all the required documents via mail or email. Identification is done through video and signatures are submitted electronically. There are also options for mobile notaries who can come to your home to limit your exposure around other people. This option will require social distancing but is a great alternative for going to an office in-person.
While selling your home during the COVID-19 pandemic presents new challenges, it is possible. If you’re interested in selling your home or are looking for a real estate agent who will help you stay as safe as possible, contact the agents at First Star Realty today. First Star Realty is committed to providing five-star realtor services to Northwest Arkansas. We’ll work with you throughout the entire buying or selling process to give you the peace of mind you need during such a life-changing experience. At First Star Realty, sellers and buyers alike can rest assured that they’re going to be taken care of. In fact, our philosophy is that our clients always come first, which is why we only measure achievements through client satisfaction. If you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact us today. Our team of highly seasoned real estate professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service to all of our clients. Call us today at 479-267-1600 or fill out a contact form on our website