How To Sell A House During COVID
If the COVID-19 situation has slowed down your move toward choosing a senior living community, you can still use this time to your advantage. There are plenty of things you can do now to get your house — and yourself — ready so that when the time is right, you can make the move quickly and smoothly.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Because these are unusual times, it’s best to have a professional in your corner who can help you navigate the process effectively.
- Ask For Referrals – Talk with people you know and trust to find out whom they’ve had good experiences with.
- Look for a listing agent licensed in your state – Find out what other certifications they have. For example, some are “senior” real estate specialists, which means they have training and experience in guiding older adults through the process.
- Do some research – When you have a few names, look up their website, check out their social media presence, and read reviews. This should give you an idea about whether they’d be a good fit for you.
Once you narrow your list down to two or three names, contact them to set up an interview. Most agents will expect — and welcome — this opportunity to talk with you. (If you get any pushback on the idea of an interview, consider it a red flag and keep looking.)
Here are some starter questions for your interview:
- How long have you been in the real estate industry?
- Are you part of a team? If so, who will be my main point of contact?
- What services do you offer?
- What experience do you have selling in my immediate area?
- How will you price my home?
- How long are houses in this neighborhood typically on the market?
- What is your plan for marketing my listing during the COVID-19 situation?
- How does your commission work? What do you typically charge?
- How can I exit your contract if I’m not satisfied?
- How will appraisals and inspections be done during the COVID-19 situation?
Also, request a written Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which is an examination of the prices at which comparable properties in the same area recently sold. After the interviews, review each agent’s marketing materials and contracts. Then, go with what your instincts tell you, and choose the agent you feel most comfortable with and can trust to keep your best interests in mind.
Start Getting Your House Ready for Market
Your real estate agent should be able to help you figure out what needs to be done to get your house ready to go on the market. Here are some things to consider:
- Start downsizing – Not only will clearing out excess furniture and décor make your house seem larger and cleaner to potential buyers but taking care of downsizing now will make your move into a community go that much faster.
- Make repairs and take care of replacements – If you’ve put off doing work on the house, now’s the time to do it. Fixing cracked windows; repairing damage; replacing fixtures, appliances or old HVAC systems — what will help your house pass inspection and sell for more money?
- Spruce it up – Do you need to remove old wallpaper or freshen rooms up with new coat of paint? Do the floors need refinishing or the carpets need a deep, professional cleaning? How about the outside — does the house need a power wash or the landscaping need a boost for better curb appeal?
Marketing and Showing Your House
Your house will be online, so make sure you show it off well.
- Use professional photos – To show off your house at its best, let your real estate agent arrange for professional photos to be taken.
- Consider video tours – Video virtual tours are a great way to showcase your home. 3D video tours give viewers an even better look at it — and Zillow reports that listings featuring 3D tours see up to 50% more site visitors than those that don’t include this option.
- Virtual open houses – If it’s not possible to hold a traditional open house, or you’re just not comfortable with it, make it virtual. Your agent can create an online event and provide a digital walk-through to point out highlights and special features.
- In person showings – If a serious buyer wants to see your house in person, make safety a priority. Talk with your agent about providing things like disposable gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and shoe covers. Everyone should also agree to social distancing practices as well.
No Time Like The Present
Wherever you are in your house-selling journey, do yourself a favor — take the next step toward getting it ready for the market. You’ll be glad you did.