Many things have changed about how to sell a house once COVID-19 came onto the scene. Sellers became hesitant to allow other people into their homes. Buyers are hesitant to go into a home that is occupied. Selling your home during COVID-19 is a challenge. From the Seller’s perspective, there are two main situation questions: Should We Move or Should We Stay. Both require change.
Especially now, your goal needs to be to do everything possible to minimize touching while your home is being viewed. Some of our clients don’t want to inconvenience a potential buyer and some want to be safe at all costs. Most importantly at this time, you need to make potential buyers that are in your home FEEL safe. Your goal should be for them to see as many of your home’s features as possible without touching anything.
Suggestions for things you can do to lessen the likelihood of germs:
1. Put a washable bench or washable chair outside your front door and a basket with baggies preloaded with two disposable gloves and two disposable booties in each. Add disposable masks if you want or request that potential buyers wear them in your listing. Booties are sold for about $.50 a pair on Amazon. Remember to put a trashcan outside the door for them to remove gloves and booties. Empty it daily.
2. Have your Realtor ask that the buyers’ agents and their clients who are planning to view your home to fill out a short health questionnaire and disclosure. A questionnaire should ask about recent sickness and exposure and current condition. You need to be able to choose who you’ll allow to view your home. (E-mail us if you want a copy of ours) The newest version dated July 9, 2020 says you can get COVID-19 by viewing homes and the sellers can get it from people viewing their home. We suggest that you ask children to not come inside.
3. For showings, you’ll want to turn on every light in the house and open all window coverings. Every door, cabinet, and drawer in the kitchen, especially ones with pull out drawers and organizers, should be open. It may not look good to you but know that many sellers are doing this- it’s the new normal. This also means to clean your windows and tracks and straighten your cupboards and closets.
4. Closet doors, shower doors/curtains, and linen closets should be open so that no one needs to touch a surface to see inside something or somewhere. It’s OK to keep something closed if it inhibits movement when it’s open, like a cabinet drawer or door. The idea is to make it so the potential buyers will have to touch as few items as possible to look at your home.
Home Video Tours
Technology is king these days. Everyone will see the pictures and video tours of your home before they ever step foot inside the property. You want professional pictures and a video tour posted on Zillow. Many Realtors will take pictures with their iPhone and maybe they’ll make a video from the pictures. That used to be the industry standard but not anymore.
You want to have a Video Tour that you can be virtually manipulated. Not only will it cost a Realtor additional money to hire a professional, but it also costs more to post this kind of video on Zillow. Having a 3D manipulatable video tour is what you want because these tours will come up first in the results of searches on Zillow. Being first means more people will be viewing your home.
Note: Not every Realtor will hire a professional photographer or pay additional money to post a video of your home. Ask about videos when interviewing agents. If the agent you want doesn’t offer this service, insist that it’s included in their original listing commission stated or find a different Realtor. This is the new normal. For an agent to not be willing to advertise and use a professional photographer at this time, is doing you a disservice. With this insecure economy, you want your home sold quickly before more homes are put up for sale in your area.
Moving Out Of Your Home
If you choose to relocate, leaving some of your furniture and staging the house will get your home sold quicker. There are many videos and blogs to assist you in staging on YouTube. Pack as much “stuff” as possible and stack boxes in the garage. Unused things need to go into the garage for filming anyways. If you can’t do that, ideally pick a closet, or worst case, pick a room and stack things against a wall.
Our saying is “Clean Sells.” We suggest that you touch up the paint and have the carpet cleaned. With window coverings open, you’ll want to have the windows and screens washed if they need it. The better your house looks the more money you will get. Check on the property often, empty trash cans wearing gloves, and wipe down touch areas and bathrooms with a bleach solution.
The safer and more comfortable a buyer feels in your home, the more likely they are to make an offer. Make sure to leave the home at a comfortable temperature and put lights on timers. Leave all of your utilities on and even if you do not want anyone in the bathroom, leave foaming soap at all of your sinks with a roll of paper towels or disposable hand towels and a trash can near-by. Always leave toilet paper.
Staying In The Home
Pack boxes with valuables, collections, liquor, and medicines and stack them in the garage before filming or in an unused bedroom after. Straighten the insides of closets, drawers, and cupboards. Pack unnecessary items to make the space look larger and more open. Make your home spotless and maintain it. If you need to rearrange furniture do it so no one needs to touch anything while in your home.
When a Realtor calls to show your house, ask for a time and ask for a 10-minute notice as they are driving to the house. Open all doors, window coverings, and kitchen cabinets. Turn on the lights, spray the house with Lysol and leave. Have your “showing kits” in front of the front door to minimize germs.
When you get home, spray the house with Lysol. Use a bleach treatment on the front, back, and garage doorknobs. Wipe doors or cupboards that have been moved. If you think someone might have used your bathroom, wipe them down also and empty trash.
Your home needs to be marketed at this time. Discount Real Estate Agents will not get the job done as quickly because they generally do not provide full service to their clients. Often the discount broker will not provide a professional video tour. Hopefully, your Realtor will provide you with “showing kits” to protect your home- we do. You want your agent to advertise- especially at this time- for a faster sale- the market may not be stable and one week or a month may make a huge difference.
Another feature Realtors are offering their clients is for them only to walk the home while with the buyer on Face Time, Messenger, Zoom, or other video apps. If a buyer has a question after a showing, either you or your Realtor can video-chat. Be available to measure things for the buyer. You want the fewest people possible walking through your house. We suggest that you give an appraiser and home inspector showing kits, they will wear masks.
Selling your home during Covid-19 and social distancing will be easier in some ways and more difficult in others. Keep in mind that anyone looking at homes during this time is a VERY serious buyer. Please do everything you can to keep your home germ free for potential buyers and after a showing for your family.
This blog was written by Kurt Grosse with Realty One Group. As a 24+ year Las Vegas Realtor and a retired building engineer, my goal is to protect my clients in every way I know. When I list a property, we provide our sellers with showing kits, send out questionnaires and make notes in our listings while being firm but not mean. This is a different time that doesn’t have to be difficult.