Whether you are selling during COVID-19 pandemic or considering selling, read on to learn more about selling during this time. Listing consultation, marketing, showing, pricing, and closing protocols have all changed since then. It’s important to have an understand of selling in today’s world because some of this may remain as the new normal for listings.
Sellers can request a virtual appointment which can easily be done over FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, etc… This way you can see me and give me a tour of your home both inside and out. The video works well enough for me to provide recommendations about staging, landscaping, painting, and general repairs or maintenance. A follow-up plan will be emailed outlining what should be done before listing your home. I will also drop off my sellers brochure which walks you thought the process of selling as a handy reference. Another option is for sellers to leave home so I can walk through on my own. We could chat outside after I view the interior. It’s really up to each seller what they are most comfortable with!
If your home is not occupied, then not much will change and we can proceed like usual while taking precautions for showings. Whether a home is vacant or not, all my listings have a video walk through, floor plan drawings, and professional photos. I found it was immensely helpful to provide those services pre-COVID-19. I continue to do so now with a few adjustments. For example, I am asking sellers to clean out closets so photos of those can be included with the listing if needed. In addition, I am advertising with a service that follows buyers online with an ad about your listing. I know buyers are on the internet house hunting more than ever so I want to be present there beyond home search sites.
I am still sending out “just listed” postcards and posting to social media, in addition to online marketing. As for printed materials, most times I am not leaving packets in homes for buyers to take. If you want to list your home, but want to do it completely virtual, that is possible. You would have to take all your own photos, which I could have enhanced. I would also ask that you video the interior of your home and possibly ask that you FaceTime a prospective buyer and/or their agent. I understand it is not possible for some people to have anyone in their home if they can avoid it. A home could be listed on the condition that the buyer not be able to enter until an offer is made. This could work depending on the home and price point. Ultimately, you would have to allow the buyer with the inspector and appraiser to enter the home. I will be do my best to meet you where you are.
For a long time now, a sellers first showing has been online. Buyers start their search there and, now more than ever, they need access to the most information possible. In an ideal world, the only showings you would have are with buyers who are ready, willing, and able. While showings are down and you should expect fewer than you would have anticipated months ago, the buyers looking at homes during this time are serious. That is good news! The pool of potential buyers might be smaller, but there are buyers who are still looking to secure a home. My listings have a COVID-19 reminder at the door listing protocols that are expected like not having multiple parties in the home at once. I have shoe covers, wipes and masks available. We are asking that everyone wear a mask and that only the agent, using a wipe, touch anything unless the buyers also have a wipe to use. Ideally a seller will have the lights turned on and as many doors open as possible in the home so we can make the showing as touchless as possible.
Pricing Your Home
Prices are changing during this time and everyone wants to know what will happen with prices going forward. The answer is that I don’t know. I’m keeping an eye on our monthly MLS reports and sales prices. I’m optimistic that our niche market here will continue to chug along without the disruption that we might see on the coasts or in larger cities. I will keep up with home pricing changes in our market so I can advise you accordingly. I’ll provide information about your home views online and the number of showings in your area.
Title companies are continuing to process closings without issue. They are either bringing documents to your car to sign or having you sign inside in a room all to yourself. I am staying in my car in the parking lot or making myself available over the phone. Sellers generally don’t have that much to sign since they won’t have lender documents and so you could also opt to sign remotely. You can sign documents and return them in person or overnight documents if you are out of town.
The overall goal of all these measures is to allow for social distancing and to keep everyone safe. My mask protects you and your mask protects me. Sellers who have to move are going to move and buyers who have to buy are going to buy. Keeping the housing market going is impacting our economy in a positive way. I anticipate Realtors will continue to be allowed to conduct business here so long as we are abiding by the rules. My team and I are here for you from start to finish.
Have you ever seen a friend or family member post on social media about their home purchase or sale? I certainly have! Sometimes those posts include information that could benefit one party to the transaction. This is why I strongly recommend changing your privacy settings on social platforms, especially Facebook, so only your friends can see your posts. Not public or friends of friends.
I often look up the other party to a transaction on social media. I try to get an idea of who they are and hope that I luck out by finding a post that says they found the home of their dreams. Great, now I know my seller has a stronger negotiating position because someone has declared to the world of Facebook that they love my listing. Maybe they posted they’ve moved out of state and posted a photo of that new home they just bought. Super, now I know you are likely quite motivated to sell.
Other agents are also looking you up on social media. By changing your settings, they won’t be able to see your personal information. Since you are working with me, you are not going to post about your home search or purchase until after the closing anyway. Correct?!
We are all learning with social media that revealing too much personal information can lead to unintended consequences. There is already an issue with wire fraud and people posing as real estate agents to trick buyers into wiring funds to the wrong account. Let’s not make it easier for them to track down buyers and sellers by blasting that on social media. Keep it under wraps and then, post closing, have at it!
With all the new home technology available, there are a myriad of ways to secure your home. The more tech savvy are controlling everything from the HVAC system to interior room lights to a crock pot from a phones. Others are still using a wooden rod in the track of a sliding door so whatever your level of home security prowess, here are some simple tips/reminders:
1. Keep your yard mowed and well-maintained. While you might be out of town for a few weeks this summer, make sure your exterior doesn’t clearly advertise that.
2. Have dawn to dusk lights on your exterior. You can add a sensor to existing lights so they turn on and off automatically. If you want to take it one step further, buy a timer for an interior light or two giving the appearance someone is home.
3. Install an alarm system. Today’s alarm systems aren’t hardwired and difficult to install. In fact, many homeowners are installing systems themselves. There are systems you can own and take with you if you move. I personally use SimpliSafe.
4. Deadbolt doors and lock all windows. It is so easy to forget to do this so give doors and windows a check before you head out of town.
5. Be smart about what and when you post on social media. Don’t advertise to the public you are away on a week long vacation.
6. MY TOP TIP FOR BUYERS – RE-KEY YOUR NEW HOME. We don’t know how many copies of your keys are floating around town. A local locksmith like J&S Locksmith can get it done!
7. Have you ever heard of a Door Devil? This device prevents your door from being easily kicked-in and, according to Door Devil, installation is easy peasy. Doors are kicked in regardless of there being a security system or not, so just one more smart way to keep you and your valuables safe.
Pro tip: Don’t leave boxes from expensive purchases sitting outside without breaking them down – you don’t need to advertise what might be found in your house.
Want to keep some preventable maintenance from haunting you during a home inspection? If you purchased a home in the last year, then you probably remember the inspection process and whether or not the home you bought had a slew of issues. Could any of those have been prevented by regular maintenance? I would suspect so and this is why I am encouraging good care of your home. It’s your biggest asset after all!
√ Deep cleaning – including wiping down baseboards & cleaning windows.
√ Check smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors & replace batteries
√ Service and clean your A/C system
√ Clean your disposal – put 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Plug drain and wait several minutes. Then flush with hot water.
√ Add window screens if you took them out over the winter.
√ If you have landscaping beds and want to prevent weed germination, this is the time to sprinkle on some Preen or other weed control.
√ Carefully power wash siding, patios, walkways, and even driveways to remove build-up.
√ Clean/repair decks. Waterproof and/or re-stain or paint if needed.
√ Clean out dryer vent and any other exhaust vents exiting your home.
√ Clean aerators on faucets and shower heads. Protect sink aerator by covering with masking tape before using pliers to remove. Use a toothbrush carefully to clean without scratching.
√ Check all tile grout and caulking around sinks, tubs, etc… Repair as necessary.
√ Clean gutters. I can not stress the importance of this enough!
√ While cleaning gutters, take a peek at the roof to see if there are any obvious issues.
√ Trim branches that overhang or are touching the roof/siding.
√ Have your furnace cleaned and serviced.
√ Winterize exterior faucets. Unhook your hoses before the first frost.
√ Have chimney cleaned.
√ Test sump pump. Make sure it’s plugged in and all looks good.
√ Service and clean furnace. Ask your HVAC professional to also take a look at your water heater, checking for any issues.
√ Remove window screens to store for the winter. Have any damaged screens repaired.
√ Vacuum refrigerator coils – it will run more efficiently!
√ Deep clean your basement. Look for signs of mold and water.
√ Check your crawlspace for water and mold. Easier said than done, so hire a foundation company or home inspector to inspect for you.
√ Check toilets to see if they are loose at the floor and tighten.
√ Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to circulate the warm air – energy tip!
* Don’t forget to check your furnace filter and replace when necessary.