9 Tips for Home Sellers Who Are Currently Self-Quarantining at Home
In many ways, the real estate market is on “pause” right now as most people are sheltering at home and hoping to flatten the curve of COVID-19’s spread. We’re still keeping very busy while working from the safety of our home. We talk with clients every day and are still conducting business remotely for ongoing transactions.
However, the usually active spring market is largely on hold through April and we’re hoping to start seeing more regular real estate activity by mid-May. Still, nobody knows exactly what to expect in the coming months. If you were planning to buy or sell before the coronavirus pandemic or you are looking to make a move when things get back to some sense of normalcy, there is plenty you as a future home seller can be doing right now during this downtime.
This week and next on The Cyr Team Blog, we will be highlighting tips for both sellers and buyers. In this article, we want to focus specifically on what home sellers should be doing during this market pause. These strategies are valuable, whether your home is already on the market or you expect to put it on the market in the near future.
1. Be More Critical
It’s been a great market for home sellers in the past couple years because of healthy home prices, low inventory and low interest rates. The economic effects of coronavirus will likely shift the balance at least a little more toward buyers as there will probably be more housing inventory. This means buyers will have an even more critical eye when looking at houses. As a seller, you have to have just as critical an eye when looking at your own property. You essentially have to pretend that it’s not your home so you can have a completely objective perspective. There may be some minor damage, peeling paint, misaligned doors and other little idiosyncrasies that you put up with in your daily home life. Buyers will not be so forgiving and every small thing they notice will lead to big differences in the offers they are willing to present.
2. Get Your Home in Good Repair
With the critical buyer eye in mind, you must use this time to make repairs and fix things up around the house. There is no repair too big or small if it will potentially impact your ability to sell your house at the best possible price. Home repair stores like The Home Depot are still open in most areas as essential businesses. Some handymen and contractors are still working, as well—if they are allowed to conduct business in your particular area. You may face some limitations, but you should have the ability to get at least some repairs done.
3. Keep it Clean
If you are spending this much more time at home, there is no excuse for your house being anything but spotless. Use your time to keep things clean. This is another area where tomorrow’s buyers are going to be much more critical, as every little dirty spot will reflect negatively on the house itself.
4. Organize and Declutter
If you are planning to move and looking to sell your home, decluttering is one of the most productive things you can do around the house. You can refer back to our previous article about home staging to get more details on this topic. Less clutter makes the home much more inviting to buyers and allows buyers to envision their own stuff in the space. Use this time to get things organized and you can even start packing away the unnecessary items. Even a stack of boxes in the garage will look better to a buyer than your personal knick knacks all over the place.
5. Think Neutral
Now is a great time to do some painting. You can make touch-ups in places that tend to get worn out (door jambs, moulding, etc.) or repaint entire rooms—maybe even the whole exterior! It’s usually a good idea to go more neutral in terms of colors rather than anything too bright, colorful or reflective of your personal style. Again, you want buyers to imagine themselves living there, so you have to take your own personal tastes out of the equation as home sellers.
6. Improve the Curb Appeal
You are not locked inside the house, so don’t forget about the exterior. You have to have “curb appeal” as we call it in the real estate business. Look at your lawn, porch, garden and all around the outside of your home so it looks as appealing as possible from the outside. Give your house a good power washing, get rid of dead plants and weeds, throw down some fresh mulch and do what you can to improve the exterior presentation.
7. Think About What Will Be Important to Future Buyers
Priorities are changing for homeowners because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s safe to say many home buyers will be looking for different things when this is all over. Maybe that extra room is better suited as a home office or personal gym rather than a guest bedroom or AirBnB space. Consider redecorating and reallocating your living spaces now so that the house will appear more functional to a potential buyer later.
8. Reevaluate Your Own Housing Priorities
We encourage you to read our blog article from last week for tips on how you should be reevaluating your housing needs. If you are selling your home, that means you are moving somewhere. Figure out what features you want most in a new property, where you want to live and what your most important priorities are (physically, emotionally and financially).
9. Remember it’s an Investment
When looking at all the time (and probably some money) that you will spend to achieve the strategies listed above, you absolutely have to remember that it is an investment. You are not “spending” money to make repairs and upgrades. You are not “killing time” by cleaning and decluttering. You are “investing” your time and money to improve the buyer appeal of your house and increase its potential resale value when the market picks back up.
Check out The Cyr Team Minute on this topic.
If you are planning to sell your home in Chester County or the surrounding tri-state communities, The Cyr Team is here to help. Even if you aren’t planning to list anytime soon, we’ll be glad to offer professional advice on the tips above and other strategies for getting the most out of your home sale. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation real estate consultation.