Real Estate in the Time of Co-Vid

How CoVid19 Has changed the Home Buying and Selling Process : A guide from a realtor in the know.
By: Fred DeBaugh

 

Online Optics are Everything

  • Clients being more selective are basing their decision to visit a home on online photos and description.

Covid 19 has changed so many things in our daily lives from grocery shopping to house shopping. From the perspective of a Realtor, the main change I have seen is how buyers decide if they even want to see a property in person. Other agents I’ve spoken to agree. We’ve noticed buyers pairing down the list of properties more harshly than pre-Covid. With people wanting to limit their exposure, rather than visiting many homes they are basing their decisions to visit on written descriptions and the images of the property.

With the two properties I recently listed and had under successful contracts in 4 days, the listing photos and written descriptions kept my seller’s properties on the buyer’s important short list to see in person.

To make sure my listings are the ones buyers come out to see and make offers on, I pay for professional staging consults with a highly successful, experienced stager. This individual even goes so far as to having an understanding of how certain paint colors display to the buyers on mobile devices. I also use an amazing professional photographer to show the properties in the best possible light.

A Tale of Two Homes 

  • How do vacant homes compare to occupied?

One of these recent properties I sold during the pandemic was unoccupied so contact with my sellers was not an issue. However to make buyers and agents more comfortable, before every showing I went to the property, turned on all the lights, and opened all interior doors so the agents and their buyers could view the property and be comfortable with minimal contact. 

This property received a high volume of showings and was under contract in 4 days and settled in 39 days selling within 3.25% of my suggested list price.

Staging for Impact!

  • You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Staging helps to make you home more appealing to buyers and stand out.

The second property was an occupied home and my sellers were in a very high risk group for Covid-19. This time, instead of having my pro-stager come through the home and spend an hour or two meeting with the sellers, touring and taking notes, I coordinated a virtual staging with her. She gave me specific instructions on exactly what angles she wanted of every space. I then used a high quality camera that I own to photograph the property for her while my clients were out of the house. I also gave her extensive descriptions of the specific finishes, physical layout, lighting and any issues to overcome regarding how the house might present visually. I do photography as a hobby which makes communication easy or virtual stagings. The staging write up was presented to the sellers who were able to accomplish about 70% of her recommendations. 

The day after staging was complete, my professional photographer came in to take the listing photos.The public written description that accompanied the listing photos was highly detailed and to the point. No fluff. It simply reflected all the details and information I had gained interviewing the sellers about the home, property and surrounding area. I was told multiple times by buyer agents that the description wowed them. All of these factors helped keep my property on that all important short list of homes to show in person.

“As the seller, Fred’s stagger made the right suggestions to market the home via web photos and the professional photographer did an excellent job conveying the property via photos. The house was extremely well marketed and as a result had as high as 13 showings per day in the first 2 days of listing and sold by the 3rd day.”

Once we were active on the multiple list system, and the property had gone out to our brokerage’s extensive private email lists and promoted through our public social media marketing, it was important to keep my sellers safe.

Staying Safe 

  • Your safety is a top priority. 

We received requests for 18 showings in three days. With this intense schedule, I worked with my buyers to ensure they were out of the house before all showings took place. I instructed them on how to prep the home prior to the showings regarding lighting, doors, windows etc. so it would show well.

I made sure all agents showing this home received a message from me with my cell number to call with any questions, and ensured they were on board with taking all precautions related to Covid-19 including having themselves and their buyers wear masks at all times and keeping contact with the home’s surfaces to a minimum. I also requested they remove shoes if practical upon entering the home.

This property was under a successful contract within 4 days and settled in 37 days for slightly over asking, within .25% of my suggested list price!

“Fred is a wealth of knowledge in this market and did a great job ensure all COVID measures were in place based on both State and Realtors Association recommendations and requirements.”

In Conclusion

While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on so many parts of our lives, the real estate market is as hot as the weather right now. With record low interest rates, and high demand this is a great time to list your home. Having an experienced professional who can ensure your home stands out online and takes every precaution to safeguard your health during showings is essential. If you’re thinking of selling your home or buying a home in the area, please contact me for a market analysis and guide. 

Contact me at Fred@streetthopkins.com

Streett Hopkins Real Estate

(410) 879-7466
118 S. Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014

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