In light of the recent re-tightening of restrictions in California, people are, once again, advised to shelter in place and avoid going out for non-essential activities. But what about your plan to sell your home? Should you postpone it indefinitely and wait for the pandemic to pass?
It’s entirely up to you. There is absolutely no harm in waiting until it’s safer for everyone to go out. But if you’re 100 percent ready to sell a home and would rather do it while you still have a chance, it’s also possible to sell your California home while observing the restrictions and guidelines in place. Continue reading to learn how.
- Find a real estate agent
With the bulk of the process done remotely, it’s easier to sell your home during the pandemic with a real estate agent. They will help you in getting your home ready to sell. And there are a lot of things that need to be done.
In addition to home staging, you will need to take steps that will allow your property to attract remote home buyers. These can range from professional real estate photography to virtual tours and live walkthroughs.
As you interview prospective agents, find one who has experience in digital real estate marketing and remote transactions. They should also feel comfortable in doing live virtual tours and, if necessary, private in-person viewings.
- Only entertain enthusiastic buyers for private viewings
Virtual tours help in weeding out who’s just looking around and who’s actually in the market to buy a home. So, when somebody requests to schedule for a private viewing, feel free to ask for requirements like a mortgage pre-approval letter.
As your representative, your real estate agent will step in to provide the private tour. If interested buyers are not comfortable to visit the property in person but would still like to see it, they might send their agents instead to look at the home.
- Observe safety precautions during private tours
Whether your seller is entertaining the actual buyers or their representatives (or both), make sure your home is ready to receive guests. Always disinfect frequently touched surfaces and hardware, such as tables, countertops, door knobs, and light switches.
You can also set up a small disinfection nook by the entrance, complete with gloves, alcohol, face masks, and booties that guests can take and wear as they go inside the property.
But what if a guest fails to observe the rules you’ve set in place for private tours? You and your real estate agent reserve the right to refuse them entry. After all, these precautions are for everyone’s safety.
- An alternative to assisted tours: Let the buyers check the property on their own
Another way to show your property while completely observing physical distancing guidelines is to give potential buyers access to the home. Some sellers have invested in smart locks that generate one-time key codes you can give to prospective buyers for their tours.
But what about the furniture? Do you have to worry about theft? For this method of showing your home, only leave minimal furnishing and take all personal and important belongings with you.
Even if this alternative requires no contact between you or your agent and the buying party, face masks should still be worn and disinfectants available.
- The right price still matters
There is a high chance that, in selling during the pandemic, your listing will attract only serious buyers. And as such, you need to have the right price tag on your property for the transaction to proceed smoothly and fast.
As always, take a look at house prices in California, specifically your neighborhood. Arrange for a remote home inspection and appraisal to further get an accurate estimate of the market value. Don’t price too low just to sell, and don’t overprice even if the housing inventory seems to favor sellers.
- Prepare to close remotely
Remote online notarization isn’t a thing in California yet, so, for the meantime, e-closings in the state will most likely be hybrid ones. That means some of the paperwork might have to be signed in person, while the others can be signed electronically.
The real estate agents from both sides of the transaction can meet to exchange these documents. Just be sure to prepare and sign everything you need to sign before the closing date. This will help minimize the need for having to meet up again in case something was forgotten.
You should also take the time leading up to the closing day to exercise your due diligence. Make sure everything is ready for the turnover of the property.