Maybe you were planning to sell your home this year, long before COVID-19 was in the headlines. Or perhaps being stuck in your house due to quarantine and social distancing has demonstrated that your current home is not the right fit for you and your family.
But is it now the right time? Can you actually sell your home during a pandemic?
YES. The answer is absolutely yes.
Although the process is slightly different, we have had clients successfully sell AND buy new homes this spring.
Despite the restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the virus and even in the face of massive unemployment, there are still many, many qualified buyers in the market. And because there are not many homes for sale right now (an inventory shortage that began long before Coronavirus), bidding wars are still occurring, which often results in sellers getting their asking price or ABOVE for their home.
So how can you successfully navigate the sale of your home right now?
First, find a real estate agent who pays close attention to federal and state rules on safely conducting open houses, inspections, and other aspects of the sale.
At a recent open house we hosted, we allowed only one group of buyers to tour the home at a time and we offered hand sanitizer and masks to buyers who did not bring their own supplies.
We also had the home professionally cleaned after both the open house and home inspection to help protect the homeowner.
In our opinion, now is not a great time to attempt to sell your home on your own. There are many potential liability, health and safety minefields to navigate. Moving can be stressful on it’s own; let your agent assume responsibility for making sure the sales process complies with all the rules and regulations.
Second, ask your agents about their technological capabilities and if they can provide virtual home tours as part of your listing.
Sometimes, a buyer will request a showing and find out immediately once inside that the layout doesn’t work for them. If they can virtually tour your home first online, you might cut down on unnecessary in-person tours of your living space. While we never mind conducting showings, the nature of a pandemic definitely favors having LESS people in your home.
Third, be sure potential buyers are qualified.
Due to the current unemployment numbers and shakiness in the economy, many mortgage lenders are requiring applicants to make a larger down-payment and have higher credit scores than usual.
While it is more difficult to obtain a mortgage right now, we have found that there ARE buyers out there who meet this threshold. Be sure to request that buyers have a pre-approval letter to submit along with any offers to purchase.
Be prepared to pass papers/close on your home without being in the same room as the buyers.
Due to social distancing guidelines, some real estate closings are taking place with the buyers and sellers in different rooms while attorneys handle the transfer of papers. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s a change from past practices you might be familiar with.
Bottom line: if you are ready to put your home on the market, don’t let COVID-19 steer you off your personal path. It’s still possible to sell your home and sell it successfully.
Please reach out to us to talk through any concerns you may have. We’ll work with you to come up with a plan that makes you feel safe and comfortable throughout the entire selling process.
Send us an email using our Contact Form, or give us a call at 978-494-4450. In addition to answering your questions, we offer a free estimate and consultation of how you might price your home in the market.