It may seem like the worst timing imaginable, but for some people, now is the only time to sell their home. Selling a home during the COVID-19 pandemic might not be your first choice, however, there is no reason to assume that going ahead with a home sale will have a drastic negative impact on the price or value of your home.
Here is the simplified take on the situation. Just like there are people selling their home right now for various reasons, people are going to be house hunting right now for a number of reasons and it will even out.
While the COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing measures put in place make it a not-so-ideal time to sell, there are other not-so-ideal situations as well, like selling your home in winter, selling your home in a cooler market, selling your home in a less than ideal location, or when there are a high number of homes on the market in your local area or selling your home soon after a natural disaster, like a bushfire period, flood or drought. The thing to keep in mind here is that these situations would be considered less than ideal but time and time again homes go up for sale and it just can't be avoided.
Because the restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 have come in so swiftly, many people have been caught off guard that those who were in the middle of that home selling processing found it difficult to put the brakes on. Nevertheless, it's important to keep in mind that even as restrictions start to ease, they can be stepped up again at a moment’s notice.
So what are the things you need to take into consideration if you are selling your property in a period that has been flagged as less than prime by market professionals and help boost your confidence and moral.
Because the COVID-19 restrictions vary from state to state, some areas may be seeing a more significant change to home sale traffic than others. I, for one, am really happy to be seeing some of the restrictions lifted in NSW as that will help increase traffic to open houses. As well as allowing more people to view homes, the NSW government is waving stamp duty for everyone, not just those eligible for the first home buyers grant so this will really motivate some people who have been waiting to upgrade to their next home or downsize into retirement. One must expect things to ramp up as this is a prime time for that. At the same time, social distancing measures are still in place so always look after yourself, be considerate of the space you are using around others, and stay home if you are feeling unwell.
Take your time
Even in a great market, if you rush your selling decision and take the first agent, offer and terms put in front of you, you are not going to see a return worthy of your property's potential. These are big decisions and no matter what your situation or reason for sale, you'll need to step aside from the emotional chaos you might be experiencing and look at this as a business transaction. Shop around, find the agents you feel will put in the time and effort to show your home in good light and do the research so you know what your home is worth in the current market.
If you panic and assume the home will get a poor response because of the conditions, you may miss out on a great price. If you put a price in place that is too high for the current market, you may see your home sit on the market for a long period and that can have knock on effects that can be seriously damaging to the home's reputation and your overall goal to sell your home.
Some buyers will be chomping at the bit right now to snap up what could be a great deal, especially those areas that are typically favourite at auctions that might not get that chance now. This may actually increase interest and keep the prices buoyed. In most cases, homes that do well at auction sell for over the expected asking price, you can expect that even without the fever of auctions you can still expect a fair price for your home.
With more people house hunting online the photographs and staging of your home matter now more than ever. One thing you need to be a little careful of is stretched photographs.
Stretching or warping a photo so that a room looks bigger than it really is, is a favourite trick of real estate agents, the problem with that is savvy home buyers can easily spot this and can weaken their trust and making it a much harder sell. Rather than cheap tricks, go for great staging, great light and great colour so that your actual home pops. This will reflect well when those eager parties come to visit your home and see the real life version matching their expectations, rather than them walking into a room far smaller than the photo. Great staging can not only increase the perceived size of a room but also make it more functional, more modern and highly desirable. If you have any doubts about the quality of the photos that are used to represent your home, speak up, preferably before they make their public appearance. This will come back to your agent homework as well, look at pictures in magazines and online and see which homes you really find appealing and seek out those real estate agents that represent their homes in the best and most genuine light.
Did you know online auctions are possible? They have been in play for a long time, however, most people won't have come across them as they are typically reserved for unique properties (think celebrities) or for those really expensive ones. Now that sounds like something you actually want to be part of. Before an auction goes ahead online, the agent will first determine if there are enough interested parties. What that comes down to is an expression of interest is lodged online by the potential buyer. Once enough interested parties are registered, an auction will commence.
Because this is a rarer type of sale strategy you do want to make sure your agent has experience or is using an experienced third party to get this over the line. Ask to see a sample of previous sales records to gauge their ability to represent you online.
Fewer people means more genuine interest
If you are looking for some silver lining here it is. Make appointments to see a home in a private viewing, people who are serious about their interest in your home will book an appointment. Open for inspections can see more traffic but much of that can come from nosy neighbours, other home sellers looking to get a handle on the market and selling experience, and passers-by. Even with eased restrictions that allow opens to take place, you are still going to be getting a more genuine gathering than before COVID-19.
Social distancing protocols
As well as preventing the spread of COVID-19 from having large numbers of people attending, there is a responsibility for agents to keep home owners safe. That means sanitising liquid for everyone coming into your home and a request for nothing to be touched unless necessary. Expect to see a little more privacy and less of a hands-on approach to opens and private viewings.
Gains are possible
If you are selling, you can expect fewer buyers, but you can also expect less competition as most of those who have the option to wait out the health scare will probably hold off, meaning, the demand for your home may actually increase and you might get interest from buyers who would have been looking elsewhere in other circumstances.
If you do end up selling your home for less than you had hoped, you may find that the home you upgrade to is more affordable.
Remember that some people and some businesses have incredible financial wealth through a crisis. It may cost you to assume that everyone is struggling financially, even in Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 some companies made a lot of money and were able the thrive while many around them were failing. Don't drop your expectations too low or dismiss your property value. This is a time when those with finances will be looking to jump into the market and take advantage of the situation so look up and keep putting the work in, you can get amazing results.