The home selling season was unexpectedly hampered by COVID-19 this spring. HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Q1 2020 Report surveyed more than 600 top agents, and in March, 41 percent of those agents reported seeing seller activity decrease in their markets with 22 percent also reporting sellers pulling their homes from the market due to pandemic concerns. But what was the spring’s loss, might be the summer’s gain.
If you’re having the inner debate of whether to sell now or hold off, here are a few things that you should know to help you make the decision.
A solid relationship with an experienced agent will go a long way
A local, experienced real estate agent can help navigate any issues that may arise throughout the transaction process. The good news is that real estate was deemed essential in Denver, so agents have been working through potential issues for months. If you’re looking for a Realtor in Denver, Colorado, HomeLight’s agent matching service can help you find a top agent in your area.
Transactions can happen (mostly) virtually
In many states, most of the process can be done virtually. Sellers can hire their agent via FaceTime or Zoom, stage their homes through online consultations, review comparables, list remotely, have their agents host virtual open houses and tours, vet buyers’ offers, and even do most of the closing process online.
As far as what’s open for business and what’s not, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR), open houses are still banned, but title companies have been instituting social-distancing measures and allowing employees who can work from home to do so. They’re also using remote online notary (RON) services, and some are offering drive-thru closings.
Appraisals and inspections might be the two portions of the transaction that still need a human touch (check with your trusted agent for details in your county), but sellers can always mandate that anyone coming into their home follows specific rules.
Sellers have control
As mentioned above, sellers can set forth rules with their agent for the few people who may need to come into their home, potentially the appraiser, inspector and buyers, when the time is right. The HomeLight survey showed that in March two-thirds of sellers across the nation were taking measures of some kind to protect their homes, with 32 percent cutting out open houses and 21 percent asking visitors to wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
You can also request that everyone wear personal protective equipment (PPE) upon entering your home and that all doors and windows are open to reduce the likelihood of guests touching anything.
There’s a clause for that
Still worried something might go wrong and derail your plans? Know that DMAR, like many associations, has a COVID-19 contract clause at the ready for such an event.
“The addendum addresses real estate transactions that are impacted and/or delayed by shutdowns of title offices, government agencies, lenders and/or appraisers; and real estate transactions that are impacted and/or delayed by mandatory or voluntary quarantines. Download the COVID-19 form, here.”
Buyers have been hitting pause, too
One thing to keep in mind is that buyers have been hitting pause this spring as well. And as things ease up and cities are phasing into reopening, there’s a good chance that those potential buyers, who have been stuck in their homes or apartments for months, are ready to make a change, and all that pent-up demand could prove positive for your wallet.
One indication of pent-up demand is mortgage applications, which we’ve seen an increase in May according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Still not sure?
Being unsure is reasonable. If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that absolute certainty is hard to come by.
If you’re still not sure whether to sell, it never hurts to sit down (virtually or from a distance) with an agent and lender to discuss your options. At the very least, you’ll get an idea of what your budget for your next home will be as well as what upgrades and repairs you might need to make to your current home to get it market-ready.
Should you decide to wait and make updates, below is an infographic that can help you determine which projects are worthy and will receive a high return on investment. But remember, it’s always a good idea to talk to your agent about local market trends before shelling out the cash to make any update.
Selling a Home This Spring? Here’s What 500 Top Real Estate Agents Say You Should Do
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