Our world has changed a lot during these last several weeks. Our freedom is severely restricted. Our schools and stores are closed. And, in many places, we’re told not to venture outside after a certain time of day.
So, if you’re one of the thousands of people who placed their house on the market before the surge of the coronavirus began, chances are your first thought is to cancel your listing and proceed with life in your current home. If you have the opportunity to do that, go ahead.
Unfortunately, however, not everyone can put the brakes on their home sale. There are homeowners out there who must sell now or within the next few weeks or months – for some reason or another – and those individuals must continue to try to sell their property.
But how do you do that in the middle of a global pandemic?
It’s important to remember that just as there are people that must sell their homes at this time, there are also those who must buy. While your potential herd of buyers won’t be what it was before the pandemic, with the right tools and the right guidance, you can get the job done.
Be sure to have a good video tour in place
If you don’t already have a high-quality video tour of your home and its assets that potential buyers can view on the internet, via an MLS website, or some other way, you need to get that done pronto. Remember, however, this is more than just walking around your house, shooting some footage on your smartphone.
Ideally, your agent should have already made a video of your home, especially if he/she knew that you were in a fair amount of hurry to sell. If that didn’t happen, however, ask that they make one now, if possible. Of course, it may be challenging to convince your agent to do this during this time of social distancing, but he or she may know a video company who might be willing to come to your home and film the tour.
If not, you may have to resort to posting lots of high-quality photos instead. Those usually fare better than an amateur video. Still, you can certainly try making a video of your own if you are particularly adept at recording video footage on your phone. (Most of us aren’t!) If not, have your agent put up as many photos as possible of your home.
Cancel open houses but consider showings
You certainly don’t want to have any open houses at this time. There’s simply too much risk involved with letting strangers roam through your home during the pandemic. That’s okay.
Not having open houses not only limits the number of people who come through your house but also weeds out those who are “just looking” and zeros in on those who are truly serious about needing to buy a house NOW.
Because there are buyers who truly need to purchase and because you truly need to sell, considering allowing showings to buyers who have already browsed your video or pictures and are SERIOUSLY considering your home as a potential purchase.
Cleaning, of course, will be a big deal both before and after showings. You don’t want to put potential buyers at risk, nor do you want those buyers to put you and your family in danger. So, clean thoroughly before and after showings and set some guidelines about touching things, etc. You can help by opening doors, turning on lights, and doing anything else that requires extra handling by the showing agent and their clients before they arrive.
You might also want to consider offering rubber or latex gloves at the door or providing hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes for buyers to use when they enter or exit your home.
Thanks to computers and all the software programs and apps available, you’ll never need to sign documents in person. You can also negotiate via telephone and email and avoid any additional face-to-face contact beyond showing your home.
Your real estate agent is likely familiar with all the ways you can accomplish negotiation, signing, and settlement on line. It’s done all the time for out-of-town buyers, so rely on his/her knowledge to keep you away from harm while still getting the job done.
Don’t hesitate to say “stop”
If you indeed have the option of taking a little break, go ahead and do it. These are crazy times, and many of us are already overwhelmed with the changes we’ve had to make and the things we’ve had to stop doing. If keeping your house on the market means putting your physical health or the health of your loved ones at risk or if the pressure of selling is seriously impacting your mental health, figure out a way to take a break. There are many more important things in life than selling your home, and if you can figure out how to make it work, take a short pause and ask your agent to start advertising again when things calm down a bit.