One of the most noticeable impacts of coronavirus is how it drastically changed how everything was done in 2020 – including selling a home. Due to the pandemic, many fundamental elements of real estate were changed: what’s popular in a home, how to market a home, what sellers should be doing, what showing protocols should be in place just to name a few. Now, those changes are not isolated to 2020. As we approach a new year, the new way of preparing a home to sell is here to stay, so if your 2021 plans include selling a home, it’s important to understand exactly how to attract homebuyers and how to prep your home to sell.
Read: What Could a Second Wave of COVID-19 Mean for the Housing Market?
Virtual Walkthrough and Tours
In an era of unprecedented lockdowns and quarantines, the ability to tour a home virtually is now a non-negotiable to attract homebuyers. Many Realtors are now offering this service as part of their listing services. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, 66% of Realtors surveyed expect that within the next year the demand for virtual tours will increase. Promoting virtual tours can increase the online presence of a listing, as well as to increase buyer interest in a property.
Tip: Relying solely on a virtual tour can be risky. It’s important sellers are utilizing professional companies that offer complete tours of the entire property and not just highlighting the positive features.
Read: What You Need to Know About Virtual Tours and Walkthroughs
Social Distancing Protocols
While the general rule-of-thumb when selling a home is to have as many people tour the home as possible, COVID-19 has altered this philosophy. With social distancing the new norm, it’s critical that homeowners not only keep themselves safe, but potential homebuyers too. It’s not only encouraged but becoming more prevalent for each listing to have their own COVID-19 safety protocols: limiting the size of groups allowed to view, requiring buyers to wear masks, sellers providing hand sanitizer and gloves, requiring showing agents and homebuyers to disclose COVID-19 diagnosis, providing protective shoe booties for tours to name a few.
Tip: Clearly conveying protocols both in the MLS and at the property ensures everyone is on the same page. Each Realtor should convey the COVID-19 safety protocols in the MLS listing for other agents, and homeowners can display safety rules on the front door for each buyer to review before entering.
Read: What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know About Multiple Listing Services
Cleanliness and Incentives
One of the main concerns with home showings during the COVID-19 era has been keeping the home clean and sanitized. Both homebuyers and homeowners are equally concerned; however, by utilizing and marketing a clean and disinfected home is a new asset in real estate marketing. As buyers feel apprehensive moving into a home previously occupied, homeowners can minimize their apprehension by marketing a professional cleaning and disinfecting prior to closing. In addition, sellers should strongly consider having their home professionally cleaned and disinfected prior to showings and utilizing this in the home’s marketing.
Tip: Homeowners should conduct a sanitation and marketing plan with their Realtor. This is crucial during, and after, COVID-19.
Despite the changes COVID-19 has brought to the real estate industry, it has not slowed the intensity of the market. In fact, “Existing-home sales grew for the fifth consecutive month in October.” Home prices have continued to soar, as well as buyer demand. Combined with the shrinking housing inventory, it’s still a great to sell as most of the country remains in a seller’s market.
Tip: If you’re thinking of buying a home in 2021, check out our homebuyer’s guide of questions to ask post-COVID-19.
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Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She’s passionate about the power of real estate. She’s also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.