Selling Your Home During COVID-19

by | Apr 15, 2020

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Months ago, many homeowners looked forward to the early spring, which is historically the best time to sell a house fast. This is when the glut of homes has yet to reach the market, making it easier to command a high home value. Unfortunately, the housing market didn’t escape the economic impact of the COVID-19.

The first week of April 2020 saw a 27% decrease in house listings. With fewer buyers and homes in the marketplace, is now the time to sell your home? The real estate industry has certainly seen better days, but you do have options if you’re looking to make a sale.

How can I sell my house fast, you wonder? Follow these steps to selling a house during the COVID-19 quarantine.

1. Replace Showings With Personal Tours

Even new home buyers know this simple fact: The photography on the MLS doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s why an in-person showing is an important part of the home-buying process.

That brings us to the first COVID-19 conundrum. How do you help buyers explore your home when it’s ill-advised and, in some areas, against the law?

The answer is to take advantage of virtual tours. These have been available and increasingly popular for many years on sites like Zillow. But in this market, a virtual tour is more than a helpful tool.

It’s a necessity.

Talk with your listing agent or real estate agent about 3D scanning technology. With virtual tours, potential buyers can walk through your home as if they were there in person. Of course, they won’t be able to interact with the property, inspect the curb appeal, or ask you questions.

Also, consider using streaming technology to show it off in real-time. All you need is a camera and laptop to walk the prospective buyers from room to room. In this scenario, they will have more agency to get the information they need.

2. Keep It Clean When Home Selling

You’re never going to get your money’s worth by showcasing a messy home. That’s why many people use a stager to improve the way a home looks. But decluttering is now only half the battle, as well as keeping things neat and orderly.

In some jurisdictions, it may still be legal to hold open houses and have in-person showings. Unfortunately, even a single stranger may present a health hazard.

It’s imperative to maintain impeccable cleaning standards even if the buyer’s agent drops by.

Limit the number of strangers in your house whenever possible. The fewer, the better. Start the tour by administering hand sanitizer for yourself, your agent, and your guests.  Remember to keep 6 feet apart.

Once the showing concludes, it’s a good idea to wipe down all handles and knobs with disinfectant wipes.

3. Understand the Selling Points

Sellers and buyers agents are skipping showings across the country. The fact of the matter is nobody wants to risk getting sick during a walkthrough and bring it home to their families. Nowadays, in-person showings tend to include only the buying and selling parties.

Keep in mind, going doing the route of selling without a real estate agent, or for sale by owner (FSBO) is incredibly difficult due to the current nature of the market.

But without the help of your listing agent, the impetus is on you to cast your home in a good light. You may have a moment to talk with your agent before and after the tour, but you’re on your own throughout this selling process.

For this reason, you and your agent should cover the highlights of your home in advance, such as recent home improvement projects. Does it sound like an interview? With a significant amount of money on the line, you should take it just as seriously.

4. Prepare for Delays

From banks to inspectors, countless people play a role in closing a house sale. Most of these professionals, if not all, are enduring complications due to COVID-19. One look at social media can tell you that.

For example, some capital lenders are reconsidering the risks of mortgage loans. As such, uncommon loans that don’t meet certain funding qualifications may not be supported at this time.

A previously qualified buyer may now experience complications or new terms that completely throw a closing into disarray. Some states, such as California, have introduced new legislation that gives homebuyers a larger window to back out of a home sale. And, more than half of US states allow remote signing for important documents.

Before COVID-19 hit, it took just under two months for a home sale to close from listing to signature. Due to recent complications, it may take an additional month or more to finally finish the paperwork. This may affect closing costs.

As home sellers, you won’t have many additional tasks to worry about. However, the extra time can become a serious mental and financial burden. Don’t list your home if you’re not ready for such a commitment. 

5. Consider Home Refinancing

Feel like you have no choice but to sell your home, even if it’s not a seller’s market? That may not be the case. Mortgage interest rates are hitting new lows thanks to government intervention and economic incentives.

You may be able to refinance your mortgage with a significantly lower interest rate. In turn, your monthly mortgage bills will decrease. That’s an easy way to make your home more affordable and put off your home sale for another few years.

For more information about how much you can save, refer to our comprehensive refinancing guide

Why Follow These Steps to Selling a House? Profit.

As if home selling wasn’t stressful enough, COVID-19 certainly complicated the matter. But for many homeowners, listing a home is still worth the effort as long as you’re willing to experience a few hiccups along the way. A tidy profit may await you at the end of it all.

The coronavirus has affected far more than the real estate industry. If you want to see more steps to selling a house or paying the bills as a furloughed worker, we have tips. Visit our coronavirus financial help center to stay afloat during these challenging times.

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