Selling During Covid-19
This spring is a season no one expected. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has hit the worldwide real estate market hard. In a city like Toronto, there’s been a big impact on the behaviours of both buyers and sellers.
Despite the uncertain times we’re living in, people are still buying and selling homes during the COVID-19 shutdown. The real estate market has slowed but hasn’t come to a complete stop. Buyers and sellers are still out there in the Toronto market.
How to sell your home during the coronavirus shutdown requires a slightly different approach. More patience is needed, of course. There’s much more to it than that though. Here’s where to start.
If You Need to Sell
Some of us need to sell our homes. We’re relocating for work, need more space, or are facing financial circumstances we can’t control, and we have to move. Don’t let COVID-19 stop you. Real estate selling is an ‘essential service’ for a reason. If you have to, move forward and be available to accept offers.
Anticipate Buyer Behaviour
There are fewer homes for sale right now in Toronto than there were a year ago. Low inventory evidently makes it a seller’s market. There’s a level of volatility that makes it difficult to predict what interest might be coming your way. When you get an offer, you may not necessarily be getting very many so if you have to sell this spring, consider it.
Your Online Real Estate Ad Matters More
A lot of buyers aren’t going to want to drop in to see the property. This means your online listing matters more. Include as much detail as you can. Ensure the photos you use are professionally edited. It’s highly advisable to create a video walk-through as well. Really take the time. A few photos and a paragraph aren’t going to cut it, if you’re serious about selling a home during the coronavirus shutdown.
Staging Your Home
If you’re selling your home, you should be staging it. Unfortunately, a lot of places are not open but there are still some things you can do at home. Some light painting and ensuring everything’s looking its best is key. There will be at least a few challenges. You might not be able to find anywhere to donate items to, a place to store old furniture or unsightly items, and there aren’t many places to go to purchase furniture. Buyers expect these sort of special circumstances so don’t discourage. Virtual Staging is also an option and commonly used in these times.
Minimize the Need for Physical Tours
Offer showings of your home via FaceTime or Skype. Beforehand, you may also want to professionally film a showing on your smartphone and upload it to YouTube. Walk through the house yourself, anticipating buyer questions and answering them right then and there. An approach like this ensures whoever is inquiring about buying your home is serious.
You May Still Need to Do A Physical Showing
You’ve been a buyer before. In real estate, you always want to see what you’re buying before deciding definitively on a purchase. An interested buyer insisting on an in-person visit . Ensure when they come, they do not touch anything inside the home and wipe everything down once they leave. Abide by social distancing rules.
Be Careful Arranging Viewings
The days of ‘open houses’ aren’t here for the time being. If you arrange a viewing, know who’s coming. There are restrictions around large gatherings. It’s not advisable to be meeting new people, even if they’re buyers. When they do come for a viewing, encourage them to wear a face mask before they get there. Provide hand sanitizer as they come in or encourage them to wash their hands with soap at the sink. Maintain physical distancing throughout the whole of the tour.
Negotiate Contracts over Video
If you get an offer, encourage to handle it through digital communication rather than meeting person-to-person. Fortunately, there are even e-signing programs that mean you can write signatures digitally rather than meeting in the office. If you’re unsure about what video conferencing options there are out there, speak to your real estate agent.
Home Inspections and Moving Can Still Happen
You can still get home inspections done, financing arranged, deals signed, and also moving services have been deemed ‘essential services’. You may occasionally run into delays, sure but know that it’s very possible to sell a home logistically. Be open to working with inspectors or prospective buyers.
When in Doubt, Hire An Agent
Real estate agents will help sell your home and get you exposure in a time when you need it. Better chances exist when you have a realtor at your side. There’s also a good chance a real estate agent’s going to be a little better versed in how to successfully sell your home while navigating the coronavirus shutdown.