The current pandemic has had an impact on almost every part of modern life. Real estate is no exception, and many people have had to delay their plans for either buying or selling their home. However, as restrictions ease, it’s important as a seller not to think things are back to normal. The way in which homes are bought and sold is changing, and it’s vital to avoid making the following mistakes.
Not Providing a Virtual Tour
It wasn’t that long ago that video tours were considered a bit over-the-top when it came to selling a home. But with the pandemic changing the real estate playing field, quality photos and property descriptions no longer cut it. A listing accompanied by a video showing the property does help, but sellers open to the idea of doing a virtual tour are becoming increasingly sought-after. And with so many apps that allow you to interact with sellers and answer their questions in real time, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for it. Virtual tours are also safer for both you and the buyers, and you won’t have to worry about wearing a mask, disinfecting and enforcing social distancing.
Hosting Open Houses
Open houses can be a lot more trouble than they’re worth, especially in the current climate. The last thing you’ll want is a group of strangers meandering through your home, touching everything in sight. Not only does this increase the risk of spreading infection, but in some areas, it’s actually prohibited. To give yourself some peace of mind, offer a virtual tour instead.
Not Staging Your Home Right
Home staging is just as important when selling a home as the listing itself. Yet with the pandemic in the background, it always makes a good first impression with buyers if you go the extra mile. One of the first things to have ready is your bathroom, so that buyers can wash their hands. Turn the lights on, and leave room and cabinet doors open, to help minimize them touching too many items in order to get a proper look around. Also, instead of tea or coffee, consider setting up a tray with masks, hand sanitizer, and even gloves.
Dismissing Pandemic Etiquette
First impressions matter, and greeting buyers with a smile on your face can up your chances of closing the deal. Not so much these days. Even though it covers your smile, properly wearing a mask will make you come across as a conscientious seller, and make buyers trust you. The same goes for handshakes, which are best if you refrain from them. It’s not just about protecting yourself, but also showing your buyers that you want to protect them from any potential infection.
Not Disinfecting Before and After
Even with masks and gloves, there will always be some chance of contamination during showings. Therefore, make sure to clean and disinfect your home both before and after potential buyers’ visits, paying close attention to high-touch surfaces such as switches, door frames, knobs and handles, as well as water faucets. This also applies to visits from inspectors, who will drop by on behalf of the lender if you’ve accepted an offer.
Not Considering Virtual Appraisals
Although buyers and inspectors will need to visit your home in person, some lenders provide an option for virtual appraisals of your home, to make sure that it matches the sale price. This is a great way to make sure that your home doesn’t receive too much human traffic during the sale period. Talk to your real estate agent about whether this option is available to you, and how you can set one up.
Insisting on Face-to-Face Follow-ups and Closings
One of the defining aspects of selling your home during a pandemic is that much of it can be done online. From virtual tours and appraisals, to post-viewing discussions with agents and sellers, and even closing the deal — it can all be taken care of over the internet. In fact, some lenders and agents will encourage reducing in-person contact by resorting to online platforms that allow remote closings in a safe manner.
Trying to Rush the Process
Perhaps the main difference between selling a house before and during the pandemic is that things have slowed down. Minimum down payments and credit score requirements are rising, while interest rates and loan approval rates are dropping. Social distancing can also throw a spanner in the works, and you might find it more difficult to book an appraisal or an inspection. If you pair this with the fact that some buyers are worried about a potential recession, you’ll find that the entire process of selling a home will take longer than it did less than a year ago. The best way to handle this as a seller is to give it time.