If you’re thinking about selling your house, now is a great time — even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic! Buyer demand is high and inventory is low, which means that most houses on the market that are well-priced and well-marketed are getting multiple offers within the first week of going on the market. Here are some tips for how you can get the most money for your house with the least amount of headache during this pandemic:
Stage for amazing photos and video: This is valuable in all markets, and it’s especially important right now when homebuyers are making even more decisions based on online experiences and information than ever before. Adding color and theme to a room brings vitality to pictures and video, which encourages buyers to make the effort to come to see your home. Taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 means buyers and their agents have to put in more effort for touring homes, so making a strong first impression online makes a big difference.
Use your asking price as a marketing toot: Effective pricing will draw lots of buyers to see your home, which increases the odds that you’ll get the competition going between multiple buyers. That competition is the very best way to get both the highest price and the most favorable terms. Advertising a price just below market value is a great way to generate that competition and encourage buyers to ask themselves, “What would I have to do to avoid losing this opportunity to one of the other buyers?” rather than, “How can I negotiate a better deal for myself?” In many SoCal markets right now, about half of the homes listed sell above their originally advertised prices. As an example, we recently put a house on the market at the lower end of what comparable sales could justify. We conducted about 30 showings over the weekend, generated nine offers, and ultimately got 8.3% above the advertised price.
Limit showings to a few days: This strategy creates three advantages. First, it makes it much more feasible to follow the California Association of Realtors’ best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19, which includes sanitizing surfaces most likely to be touched accidentally during a showing between every showing appointment. Second, it increases the likelihood that a given buyer will see other buyers arriving for their showing appointments, which increases the feeling of competition. Third, it increases the odds that you’ll get multiple offers at the same time. Competition has the most impact when you get several offers simultaneously rather than having them spread out. Where we could previously do this via open houses, in today’s COVID-19 environment, we can use this strategy to get a similar effect.
Plan a day trip: To schedule as many individuals showing appointments as possible in the course of one weekend, it’s easiest to be out of the house for the day or for the weekend. Brainstorming some options ahead of time will make it fun rather than a headache.
Use the Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declarations form to limit liability: This form confirms in writing that the person visiting the home has not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days or been in contact with anyone experiencing symptoms in the last 14 days. It also confirms in writing that they will take the precautions of wearing a mask, sanitizing hands, and avoiding contact with surfaces in the home. Most importantly, the signer agrees to assume the risk of entering, which helps limit your risk of a lawsuit if someone who visited your home later contracts COVID-19.
Thinking of selling your house? We’d love to send you a no-strings-attached comparable sales market analysis to help you see what your house is worth in today’s market and help you decide if now is a good time to sell.