The Changing Housing Market
According to Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index, the percentage of Americans who think it’s a good time to buy a home continues to drop as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers across the nation. By implementing some creative strategies, however, you should be able to find the right buyer and work through the complex transactions.
Skip Open Houses
During an open house, potential buyers (and more than a few looky-loos) get the opportunity to walk through a home without feeling pressured by an agent to make an offer. While it’s a great marketing technique during healthy times, it’s dangerous during a pandemic and may even be banned in your community. Stay on the safe side and eschew open houses in favor of other viewing methods.
Create Showing Kits
If you must live in your home while it’s on the market, either you or your listing agent can create a “showing kit” that will minimize the risk of exposure to a virus during a home showing. The kits should contain items such as disposable gloves, shoe bootie covers, masks, and hand sanitizer for the agent and the potential buyers to use during the showing.
Encourage Hand Washing
Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent spreading a virus, and you can’t remind people enough—especially if they’ve got their mind on other things, like buying your house. Even the simple measure of putting out signs by the bathroom and kitchen sink that encourage thorough handwashing will help reduce the risk of germ transfer. Beside the signs, place bottles of antibacterial hand soap and a roll of paper towels.
Disinfect Before and After
Even though you might take meticulous precautions, there’s no guarantee that the people who view your home during a showing will be as careful, so disinfect your home before a showing as well as afterwards. Focus on disinfecting high-contact areas such as doorknobs, drawer pulls, countertops, light switches, and faucets.
Don’t Accompany the Inspector
After you’ve accepted an offer, a home inspector will check the house from top to bottom to prepare a report for the buyer’s mortgage company. Typically, home sellers tag along with the inspector to answer questions and point out various details, but during a pandemic it’s unwise to put yourself in close physical contact with someone unnecessarily. Instead, if you want to share information with the inspector—such as the age of your HVAC unit—leave a note, and then vacate the house just as you would with a showing. Be sure to disinfect before and after as well.
Ask for a Virtual Appraisal
Lenders require a professional appraisal to ensure the house is worth the money they’re lending the buyers. While inspections must be done in person, some lenders are suspending the in-person rule for appraisals. To arrange for this, you or your real estate agent must send measurements of the interior and exterior of your home along with extensive photos of each room that show the condition of the home so the appraiser can determine an accurate value without stepping onto the premises.
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