Spring and summer are typically the best times of the year to sell your home. This year’s spring market started out strong in February. However, the rug was pulled out from under the market in March when the federal and state-wide “stay at home” orders went into place because of the coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19. Real estate industry professionals are projecting that when the “stay at home” order is lifted, a late spring and summer market will start and go well into the fall. There has been a lot of buzz about the economy going into a recession. However, we really don’t anticipate this affecting housing prices like it did in the 2008 recession. If there is a recession it will be because of the many people who were unemployed and under-employed during the COVID-19 crisis. It won’t be driven by the housing market’s bad mortgages, overbuilding and excessive overpricing like it was in 2008. We won’t see too many people forced to sell in the aftermath of COVID-19. The most important tip for selling your home is finding a good Realtor® who can guide you through everything going on in today’s market.
Find a Good Realtor®
An experienced, local Realtor® will help you navigate through the uncertainty of the market during and after the COVID-19 crisis. If there are a few Realtors® in your area who sell a lot of homes, you may want to start off by talking to them. Knowledge of the immediate, local market is a must. If you’ve seen their signs go up and come down in the neighborhood, there’s a good chance they are selling homes and providing great service. Make an appointment to talk to them in person, if possible. Right now, during “stay at home” orders, Realtors® should be conducting video calls and meetings with homeowners looking to sell their homes. You can give them a tour of your home from your phone or tablet. They should prepare a comprehensive comparative market analysis of your home. This will include other similar homes in the area that have sold, are under contract and are current active listings. The analysis should take into consideration the sizes and square footage of the comparative homes, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, if the home has a basement, garage information and all of the updates and upgrades the homes have. The Realtors® you interview should be able to answer your questions confidently and should have good communication skills. The Realtors® should know that most areas have an under-supply, or shortage, of available homes and that this helps keep prices high. Perhaps find a Realtor® who worked through the 2008 recession and knows the difference between then and now, is confident about today’s market. Beware of Realtors® who try to get you to list your home at a lower price because of the pending recession. This is a red flag. There are many other great tips for selling your home that the right Realtor® can offer you.
Preparing Your Home For Sale
The Realtor® you choose should give you advice on how to prepare your home for sale. He can advise you on any updates and upgrades that will help get you market price for your home. He can offer some staging advice or put you in contact with a home staging professional. He can give you advice on making your landscaping and curb appeal stand out and be pleasing to buyers’ eyes. He should have a list of respectable, professional contractors who do good work for reasonable prices.
Marketing Your Home
The Realtor® you choose should have a thorough marketing plan. This should include:
1) Professional Quality Photography-
Almost all buyers look online for homes. Your home should have high quality photos to show it off in it’s best light.
2) Virtual Tours and Videos-
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the best Realtors® were providing virtual tours and/or videos of the homes they list. It’s even more important now. Many even have drone photos and videos taken. Again, with the online exposure, homes need to be shown with as much detail and in as many ways as possible. Virtual tours and videos have taken the place of some buyers going to open houses, in many instances.
3) Online Exposure-
An exceptional Realtor® will put your listing on their own website, a company website and as many websites as possible. The multiple listing service and Realtor.com feed listings to many websites. Your Realtor® can showcase your home on Realtor.com which is one of the leading real estate websites. Be sure your listing is on Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com and other top real estate websites. The National Association of Realtors data shows that over 95% of home buyers look online before looking at homes in person.
Having a sign in the yard is important. There are still sales that come from people driving by and seeing signs.
5) Multiple Listing Service-
Be sure your Realtor® belongs to his local multiple listing service, or MLS. This is where most agents search for homes for their clients. Your home can easily be put in front of tens of thousands of Realtors® in some MLS’s. This is great exposure.
6) Print Marketing-
Your Realtor® should have a color flyer or brochure with photos made for buyers to take when they see the home in person. These can be put in brochure boxes on the sign right now, during this COVID-19 time, when some buyers prefer not to see occupied homes in person right now. They should also send out postcards to surrounding neighborhoods announcing the new listing. You never know who knows someone that might want to live in your area.
7) Email Campaigns-
Many good Realtors® use email campaigns to showcase their listings. They email to current and past clients, their sphere of influence, other real estate professionals and the like.
What to Expect When Negotiating
Many buyers will start with a lower offer than what they will eventually agree to pay. Don’t get discouraged or feel offended. Your Realtor® will work with you and advise you on counter-offers and the entire negotiating process. Your buyer will also re-negotiate some issues after the home inspection takes place, so be prepared for that. It’s always advisable to keep a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars worth of negotiating room “in your back pocket.” This way, when buyers come back and negotiate the inspection issues, you’ll be prepared to get a few things repaired or offer a monetary credit to them.
Be sure to price your home right, but not too high. Your house has to appraise for the going market price. Your buyer’s mortgage company will have the property appraised before they will approve the buyer’s loan. Mortgage companies are a little more strict with appraisals because of what happened back in 2008. This is another reason we shouldn’t see a housing-driven recession this time around.
If you are attending the closing, be sure to bring all of your keys and garage door openers to the closing. Sellers who have attorneys don’t have to attend closings. They can sign paperwork ahead of time and give their attorney a “power of attorney” to sign last minute closing documents for them. Be sure to have your mail forwarded to your new address and your address changed with everyone you receive mail from.
There are many advantages to listing your home for sale right now or as soon as the COVID-19 “stay at home” order is lifted. There is a demand for houses, since supply is low. Prices started to rise this year already. The sooner you sell your home, the better chance you won’t be affected by any sort of recession we may experience this year, if any.