Home Buying and Selling
How to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis
Stay at home orders, quarantine regulations and other concerns have many people questioning what is and is not possible during this COVID-19 pandemic. Real Estate transactions have been deemed as essential business, and REALTORS understand that we have a special responsibility and opportunity to continue operations while we adapt to these extraordinary circumstances.
We’re taking all the necessary precautions when meeting with clients and showing properties - maintaining social distancing and minimizing touching objects. We provide gloves and masks (as are many sellers) and ask that folks try to minimize their presence in a home while still viewing all the necessary rooms and amenities before an offer. When we show properties, we ask clients not to touch things, or bring outside family members with them. If children do come, we’re asking the parents to keep them close by at all times. We advise our sellers to leave doors to bathrooms and closets open when they know we have a showing to minimize hands touching surfaces.
Overall, we’re experiencing a tremendous increase in internet traffic to home listing websites. Whether it’s from bored folks trapped at home doing research on their dream home, or those truly in the market - internet traffic is significantly up.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers? It is still possible to buy a new home and sell your home during this time. There are a few important things we’ve discovered. During this time, we’ve discovered planning and preparation are crucial. Here’s an outline for both buyers and sellers on how to be prepared for the best outcome.
For sellers - Remember when I mentioned that internet traffic is significantly up? What this means is that when you list your home - it’s crucial that the home is Open House Ready - from the start. Right now, it’s more important than ever to get it right - the right preparation, and the right price. You want it to photograph well, and plan to take care of any to-dos before you list the home. More houses are selling very quickly first day, or the first week more than ever before if they’re priced right and prepped right. If you do that, the pain of having house on market is minimized by selling rather quickly.
I’ve recommended that sellers purchase hand sanitizer to have available, and also to have gloves and/or booties at the door. I have also had sellers put a sign asking viewers to minimize touching as much as possible. Finally, I encourage all my sellers to wipe the house down if they’ve had a showing that day.
For those looking to buy a home, almost all Realtors are capable of conducting tours virtually via FaceTime or Zoom if you prefer. Personally, I used to drive my buyers in my car to look at 3 or 4 houses and discuss showings in between. For everyone’s protection, now we go in individual cars - and are having that conversation on the phone between houses, then we wrap up in person or via email.
If you’re serious about buying, I strongly advise doing the preparation and planning ahead of time. Have prequalification letter from your lender ready, be ready to buy and be ready to jump if you see something you like. Inventory right now is low, and for the first time in a long while, we’re seeing multiple bids on top properties, many selling on the first day on the market! I know of one home that within 24 hours, had 7 showings and 4 offers to contract. You also want to make sure that you’re working with an agent that has hourly knowledge of inventory - so you don’t fall in love with something that’s already under contract.
Times are different, but we will prevail and do what we can to continue our way of life. If you have any questions about how you can stay safe and still find the home of your dreams, talk with your REALTOR to develop a plan that allows you peace of mind.
This piece was written for my client and published in Roanoke Valley Family Magazine.