Selling Your Home During Quarantine: all the same rules apply, but looks are everything!
Social distancing. It’s just not fun. And it’s certainly not ideal for selling your home, if that was
your plan before this COVID-19 quarantine guidelines made life difficult. Open houses and house tours are, after all, all about the number of feet crossing your threshold — not people keeping their distance.
The current state of the US housing market reveals that homebuyers still want to buy houses. The big difference is that they are making the transition to the virtual home-buying experience (including live video-chat tours) instead of tromping through homes right now. So if you were planning to list your house before all this hit, all is not lost. It’s the perfect time to get your home ready to sell, making it visually virtual delight.
Your first assignment is to walk the perimeter of your home and re-enter it through your front door, imagining it through the eyes of a potential homebuyer. Go through each room in your house and see with homebuyer eyes the amount of clutter you’ve accumulated. Don’t worry, it’s human nature. However, clutter detracts from the beauty of your home and its prime selling features. If you would buy a used car containing a trash bag full of laundry in the back seat or chapstick and hair ties in the center console. Why take chances at this point, when you want the highest price for your house, and you already have challenges showing it during quarantine?
Decluttering means eliminating large furniture/ too many pieces of furniture so that rooms appear larger. If you need tips on this, go online and see what homebuilders or stagers do with each room, and give each room a definite purpose. That means your master should not be your home office, your exercise room and your sleep space all at once. Place extra stuff in storage for now. Or donate it or sell it using appropriate distancing rules and washing your hands often.
This process of decluttering has more of a purpose than just making the home appear more spacious. It’s also helping you prepare for the eventual move. You plan on moving anyways so you might as well start organizing and packing your belongings.... Start by cleaning out your closets and other storage areas before moving onto individual rooms. Sell or donate the items you don’t want to keep, and then begin moving everything else to a storage unit. You’ll be amazed how large your house really is once you begin reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ that fills it from wall to wall.
As you declutter, deep clean, uses the used car analogy. What if that same car you were looking at buying had fast food wrappers on the floorboards, or the steering wheel and dashboard were covered in dust? You would probably think the previous owner didn’t take good care of their car, even if it ran perfectly. Same with houses, presentation is everything.
It’s also a great time to fix a few things. Take notes on each room as well as the home’s exterior and make a punch list, knocking out each task one by one. You’ve definitely got the time. If much of what you see appears dated, why not do a few inexpensive updates, such as changing out the hardware in your kitchen, replacing old doorknobs, updating outlet and light switch plates, adding floating shelves here and there, and doing a bit more feature lighting?
Even if homebuyers hesitate to make an appointment to walk through your home, they will probably drive by it. So curb appeal is definitely called for. “You may live in sunny Sacramento, CA where you can use plants year-round to make your house more appealing to homebuyers, or you may live in Minneapolis, MN where snow may still cover the ground in late spring and you have to work a little harder to make your home shine. Either way, you’ll never get a second chance at a first impression for homebuyers. So rake that yard, pick up debris, pressure wash your driveway, add a few potted plants here and there, consider repainting or staining your front door, and throw down a new welcome mat.
No matter what you do to improve the look of your home before it hits the multiple listing service as well as the video chat world, it will pay off — in photos as well as in person.
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