While we are social distancing during this time of coronavirus, it may be difficult to discern how to show a house with limited contact. Typically, before Covid-19, a buyer would feel comfortable opening cabinets and getting up-close-and-personal in other ways with their potential new home. Today’s tough times, however, mean that buyers are making purchase decisions from afar – either literally through virtual tours or on-property with many no-touch rules imposed by sellers. In our current unusual market, then, prepping a home to show optimally and give off that ‘wow’ factor that leads to a sale is a challenge.
Follow these 10 tips for ways to prep a house for sale during Covid-19:
1. Think About the Showing Schedule
Despite fears that some sellers may have about showing their home during the coronavirus pandemic, think long and hard about limiting in-person showings for your listings. Even though professional photos and 3D tours will help buyers see and understand the special qualities of a home, virtual viewing just does not match walking through a property. Buyers want and need to experience what it feels like to be in a house. Make it easier for them by allowing in-person showings, at least on one or two designated days during the week.
2. Hit on Highlights in Your Listing Description
Many buyers are as hesitant of viewing homes in person as sellers are of allowing them. Potential buyers may, therefore, only want to view homes that they feel a strong connection with based on the listing description. Your listing description is your chance to ‘sell’ the home before a buyer even does a drive-by. Hit on key upgrades and highlights, and paint a perfect picture with descriptive and rich details that might be missed during a virtual showing.
3. Make the Home Feel Clean, Safe & Comfortable
Before your photographer takes any photos, and prior to your marketing partners preparing your amazing virtual tour, your seller needs to clean and freshen every inch of the house. Buyers buying during coronavirus will want to feel that their new home is sanitary, perhaps above anything else. Deep clean the home’s interiors and refresh the outside. Organize the garage and even spaces you don’t think buyers will look, such as closets, drawers and pantries.
4. Declutter Rooms and Pathways
Just like deep cleaning creates a sense of a sanitary space, decluttering can make a home feel more healthy during these times of Covid-19. Make sure that there are clear pathways between all rooms in a home. While standing in each room, buyers should feel that there is fresh air and space all around them.
5. Stage the Home
Staged homes usually sell faster during normal times. While we are dealing with coronavirus, you can be pretty sure that staging will make a great deal of difference to a buyer. Staging will bring that fresh and clean look to your listings. No one wants to walk into a home during Covid-19 to see old and dirty furniture. If your seller does not feel comfortable letting stagers into the home, consider doorstep delivery of rented furniture.
6. Hire a Professional Photographer
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, successful real estate agents should have had at least one great professional photographer in their list of contacts. Professional photographers know how to work with lighting and framing to make houses show at their best online. Like detailed listing descriptions, professional photos help ‘sell’ a house’s story from a distance. To prep for your photographer, make sure the home is clean, lights are on, window coverings are open and clutter is put away.
7. Prepare a Virtual Tour
Buyers during coronavirus want to experience as much of a house virtually as possible. Work with a marketing professional to create a 3D navigable tour that offers a video or interactive walkthrough. Virtual tours that incorporate room measurements or measuring capabilities are a big hit with buyers.
8. Create a Sanitizing Station
Before you welcome buyers into your listing for a showing, set up a sanitizing station with hand sanitizer, shoe coverings, gloves and masks. These thoughtful details help make home sellers and buyers feel more comfortable with the process.
9. Boost the Home’s Curb Appeal
Today’s buyers are especially relying on drive-by home encounters. The more you can do to boost a home’s curb appeal, the better. Consider a fresh coat of paint and think about hiring a gardener before you list. Spend a weekend considering all the ways you can impress buyers who may be hesitant to ask for an in-home viewing.
10. Anticipate New Coronavirus Disclosures & Addenda
The perfect time to prep for selling a house during coronavirus is way before you start cleaning and taking photos. While you are making your listing presentation, talk with a potential seller about all of the new disclosures and addenda that will likely need to be signed. Home sellers should know what possibly lies ahead in terms of Covid-19 clauses and amendments, which have now become standard with buyers and their agents.
As the coronavirus situation continues to unfold and evolve, you can help your clients adapt to the challenge and prep for their upcoming home sale by considering these 10 tips.