Selling a home can be a stressful experience. Just the thought of keeping your home in tip-top shape to be shown to potential buyers can feel like a full-time job!
However, we’re living in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This disease has impacted nearly every industry and real estate is no exception. Selling a home during this unique season, when most people are social distancing, is difficult for both buyers and sellers.
The good news? Real estate transactions are still moving forward. Homes are still being purchased and sold, with extra safety precautions in place to protect the most vulnerable.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to sell a home while most of the population is staying indoors.
Imagine never having to leave your home when a potential buyer wants to view your property. During this time of social distancing, virtual tours remove the need for someone to physically stand inside your home. The buyer can view a property “on-demand” and the seller doesn’t have to prepare for individual property tours!
According to Realtor.com, “Virtual tours are recommended by the National Association of Realtors® as a way to avoid face-to-face contact while marketing homes during the coronavirus crisis.”
Virtual tours come in different forms, depending on time, technology and budget. The most convenient and budget-friendly method would be for the realtor or homeowner to simply take a video of the property using a mobile phone to send to potential buyers. But a more interactive option would involve a live tour with prospective buyers using Facetime on an iPhone or another video platform such as Zoom, Google Hangout, or GoToMeeting. A live video will enable buyers the opportunity to ask questions or, even better, make an offer on the spot!
Virtual tours are also a great way to decipher which buyers are seriously interested in making a purchase. Using this technology as a pre-qualifier and then scheduling a property tour for only the most interested of buyers is a great way to reduce the amount of foot traffic in your home.
Increased Safety Measures for In-Person Tours
At some point during the selling process, it is likely that a potential buyer will ask to see the property in-person. During this time of social distancing, home buyers and real estate agents have developed ways to keep all parties as safe as possible.
Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, shoe coverings, and masks may be made available to protect both the buyer and seller. It is important to touch as few surfaces as possible when touring a property, out of concern for the buyer’s health, but also to protect the seller and real estate agent.
Inspections & Appraisals Without In-Person Contact
It used to be that home inspections and appraisals were conducted on-site, with at least the seller present, and at times, the respective real estate agents. Now, things are different. It is possible for inspections and appraisals to be completed with minimal contact.
Check with your lender to see if appraisals in your area may be conducted by driving by the home and/or viewing photos of the property.
While remote closings have been available in some states prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a recent push to expand the practice even further due to present health concerns across the globe.
At this time, “23 states have remote online notarization policies, allowing a notary and signer to execute electronic documents while in different physical locations. The National Association of Realtors® recently sent a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to expand the policies nationally to make real estate transactions safer and easier during the pandemic” according to Realtor.com.
However, the decision to close on a property remotely largely depends on the buyer’s lender and whether or not they possess the technology to execute a virtual closing. In the event a remote closing is acceptable, title companies will prepare the required documents to be sent via mail, as well as email, or uploaded to a portal.
The title company will then verify personal information via video and all documents will be signed electronically. Another option involves a mobile notary, who travels to a buyer or seller to complete the closing paperwork, limiting in-person contact.
In-person closings are still taking place; however, social distancing measures have been implemented to keep all parties as safe as possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly complicated the home buying process; but you don’t have to set aside the dream of selling your home or purchasing your dream home. Adjusting to ever-changing guidelines is possible, enabling the real estate industry to move forward, even through the most challenging of times.