Selling a Home During COVID-19? Here’s How to Stay Safe
It might be a weird time to sell a house, but it’s not a bad one by any means. There’s still demand from buyers, home prices are strong, and mortgage rates are low if you’re looking to buy a move-up property.
Still, you probably have some concerns. What if someone enters your home sick? How can you keep up social distancing while marketing your house, working with your agent, and closing the deal?
It might seem like an uphill battle, but really it’s just a matter of some careful precautions.
Are you looking to sell your house during the current health crisis? Just take these steps to do it safely:
Encourage virtual showings whenever possible.
First, ask your agent about including video tours and 3D walkthroughs on your listing. This can help pre-qualify buyers and cut down on foot traffic.
You should also tell your agent to encourage virtual showings whenever possible. If they’re contacted by a buyer (or a buyer’s agent), the agent can visit the property solo, showing the buyers on FaceTime or Skype as they walk the home.
Only allow serious, pre-approved buyers onto the property.
If a buyer is insistent on visiting the home, make sure they’re serious first. Have they seen the video tour? Have they been pre-approved for a mortgage? Once you know they’re serious, then you can consider an in-person showing.
Be sure to limit in-person showings to one or two people only, and make sure they have a set-in-stone reservation. You don’t want people coming and going in your home without your explicit knowledge.
Don’t do an open house.
Avoid open houses in the current climate. They allow too many people on the property, and it’s impossible for your agent to keep track of everyone. If your agent is interested in using an open house as a marketing initiative, consider doing a virtual open house on Zoom or some other conferencing platform instead.
Turn the light switches on and open all doors before allowing a showing.
Before a buyer arrives for a showing, go ahead and flip on every light switch and fan in the house. Open all the doors, and consider opening and cracking the windows, too. You want to reduce the number of surfaces buyers need to touch when touring the property,
Put hand sanitizer bottles throughout the house.
If you can find hand sanitizer (or maybe your agent has some?), then set up sanitizing stations throughout the house. Put one in the entryway, one on the kitchen counter, and another in the master bedroom. Encourage buyers to clean and sanitize at regular intervals throughout your home.
Wear gloves and a mask when you come back home.
When you arrive home after a showing, wear gloves and a face mask when entering the property. Then, wipe down any common surfaces like your countertops, faucets, cabinet faces, appliance handles, tables, and doorknobs with disinfectant wipes. Once you remove your gloves, be sure to thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
Sign all your documents digitally.
Once you start receiving offers, try to work exclusively on the web. Ask your agent to use tools like DocuSign so you can review and sign contracts digitally, and do any negotiations over the phone or via email. You’d be surprised at how much of the process you can do virtually these days.
Ask about a drive-by appraisal.
Appraisers would typically need to walk around or even inside your home in order to assess its valuation. But in light of current health risks, many are now doing a combination of desktop and drive-by home appraisals. Instead of actually visiting your property, they’re driving by, doing a quick exterior assessment of the home, and then using city records and property data to do the rest. Ask your agent if this would be possible in your case (it really depends on what city you’re in).
Ask about a remote closing.
Finally, once you’re nearing closing day, ask the title company about a remote closing. Depending on what technology they have, you might be able to close your side of the deal entirely from home, using only a computer. If not, many companies are offering drive-thru options. You just head up to the office parking lot, sign a few papers in your car, and you’re on your way. Both are safer than the traditional, sit-around-the-table closing meeting seen in most transactions.
Selling a Home Safely During the Pandemic
As you can see, there are lots of ways to ensure your health and safety while selling your home in the current market. And if you’re buying a move-up property? There are ways to be safe there, too.
If you’re considering buying a home in the near future, reach out to the Embrace Home Loans team today. We’ll help make sure you’re prepared.