Getting Your Home Ready to Sell During Lockdown

15 Jun

Spring usually kicks off the summer season of real estate activity as homeowners put their houses on the market. However, this year may be a bit different thanks to the varying degrees of lockdown being enforced around the country. This can shut down open houses and even make individual showings difficult. 

The National Association of Realtors has reported that the number of existing-home sales was down 17.8 percent in April from March and down 17.2 percent from last year. 

If you are considering putting your house on the market you want to put the best face you can on your home.  Here are a few tips on how to get your house ready to show:

Get Small Details Right

In most cases it doesn’t make sense to get into elaborate renovations before you sell but there are small details and maintenance items you should address to make your home shine. While these fixes don’t cost much, they can make buyers more comfortable with your home. 

Small details to consider include:

  • Replace all burned out bulbs – dark bulbs can lead buyers to wonder about the wiring in the house.
  • Fix any leaky faucets
  • Repair squeaky or hard to open and close doors or cabinets
  • Remove any visible extension cords 
  • Repair drywall damage or holes if necessary
  • Paint over any stains on ceilings or walls
  • If a toilet is leaking or running have it repaired
  • Any other small repairs you have put off over the years should be fixed

Appliances and Mechanicals

Appliances and the mechanicals of the house (HVAC, water heater etc.) are some of the most expensive things to replace in a home and if yours are in poor working condition it will absolutely impact the chances your home will sell. 

As we have all spent more time at home these days, appliances are working overtime. Dishwashers that were typically run once a day may be getting used multiple times, the same can be said for other appliances. 

If your appliances are on the fritz or just plain old, you may want to consider replacing or repairing them before you put the home on the market. Ancient appliances are a red flag for buyers and if they don’t work properly that will most likely come up during the inspection process.

The same is true for mechanicals, have them inspected and repaired if necessary before putting your home on the market. Make sure HVAC systems have been cleaned and are running properly as well as your hot water heater.

Update Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is always important when selling a house but during Covid, it is even more important. Potential buyers may limit the number of homes they look at due to the virus and if the outside of your house is less than appealing, they may skip yours altogether.

There are a number of small fixes that can make your home look great from the curb:

  • Clean the gutters: Clean out leaves and debris, especially if you have growth in your gutters.
  • Touch up the paint: If you have cracked or peeling paint, touch it up or repaint if necessary.
  • Trim trees and Shrubs: Trees and shrubs that need to be trimmed should be cleaned up. Rake up any leaves or debris on the ground as well.
  • Lawn: If your lawn is filled with brown patches get it fixed. A green healthy lawn can make a huge difference in curb appeal.
  • Jazz up your Front Door: Consider painting your front door a color that complements your home color while adding a pop of color. 
  • Plant Flowers: Well maintained garden beds indicate that a home is taken care of properly. Weed your beds and put in fresh flowers or plants before putting the home on the market.
  • Clean the windows: Dirty windows indicate a house that is not taken care of, your windows should be sparkling before you welcome potential buyers to look at your home.
  • Update Light Fixtures:  If your outdoor light fixtures are old, consider replacing them with something a bit more contemporary. This is an inexpensive fix and can make a huge difference. 

Update Your Interior

Small changes can make a big difference in the interior of your home and make it more desirable to potential shoppers. There are a number of fairly inexpensive changes that can add value to your home and make it stand out in the market:

  • New Paint: Paint is fairly cheap and if you can do the work yourself repainting a few rooms can give it a fresh look. It is best to stick to a neutral color palette and avoid bright or dark paint. 
  • Bathroom Updates: While it rarely makes sense to gut a bathroom, small updates to fixtures, towel bars and vanities can be done inexpensively and will make it look brand new. 
  • Declutter: You should absolutely declutter your home before putting it on the market. Clear out excessive furniture and personal items. Renting a storage unit is a great way to move your excess clutter out of the house giving it a clean look that makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves in your home. 
  • Flooring: If your carpet or wood floors are dirty or damaged you may want to replace the carpet or have the wood floors sanded and re-stained. This can be a bit more expensive but will make a big difference to potential buyers. 
  • Deep Clean: A dirty house shows horribly and will be hard to sell. Give your home a deep clean while decluttering and keep it clean throughout the selling process. 

Selling a Home During Coronavirus

There can be additional considerations when selling a home during a pandemic, here are a few things to consider:

Photos: If you are concerned about letting people into your home you may want to consider taking your own photos. The camera’s on smart phones these days can do an excellent job or if you have a digital SLR camera that can be used as well. A few tips to get the best photos:

  • Use a tripod to provide a stable platform and reduce any camera shake
  • Avoid reflections in mirrors, shower doors and windows
  • Turn on all of your lights and open blinds to bring in as much light as possible
  • Take several photos of each room and get a variety of angles

Virtual Open Houses: During Covid-19 it may not make sense to have a typical open house but if you are comfortable letting your agent in the house, they can run a virtual open house. Agents are using Facebook Watch Parties which allows agents to show a home live and answer questions from prospective buyers. 

Pre-Vet Buyers: Your agent should seriously pre-vet any potential buyers to make sure they are both serious about your home and it is a good fit for the buyers. Your agent should do a virtual tour with buyers before an actual walk through to make sure the buyer is truly interested. It is always a good idea to make sure the buyer has the necessary finances to purchase your home before allowing a showing.

Limit the Number of People: Buyers should not bring kids, their parents or other friends during a walk through, limit the number of people during the showing to as few as possible.

Prepare for Minimal Touching: Keep touching to a minimum by leaving doors open to closets, cabinets and turn on all lights. 

Clean and Disinfect Before and After Each Showing: You should clean and disinfect your home every time a showing happens. 

Tags: , , ,