The spring real estate market is usually the prime selling season of the year, but not this year. Many buyers and sellers are holding off their real estate transactions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, people's need to sell their house doesn't change during a pandemic. The need may actually increase if a homeowner is experiencing financial difficulty paying their mortgage and other bills. If you've lost your job because of the pandemic or have had a major life change recently, you may need to sell your house now.
Fortunately, the real estate industry has new practices in place to ensure safe and successful real estate sales transactions during this unprecedented and uncertain time. Even though a recent survey performed by the National Association of Realtors® showed a significant reduction of buyers on the market right now, there are still buyers out there. There is also less inventory on the market. These two factors are balancing out home values right now.
Guidelines on Selling a House in Your State
The National Association of Realtors® and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are setting guidelines on selling homes during the pandemic. In some states, real estate has not been deemed an essential business, so you cannot sell your home in those states. If you live in a state that has deemed real estate an essential business, you can effectively sell your house by adhering to the safety guidelines that have been set forth. Many home sellers are relying on technology to sell their homes.
Technology is on Your Side
In many areas in-person showings are not happening if a house is occupied. Sellers don't want to risk having other people in their homes. Buyers don't want to risk visiting homes that people live in. Many Realtors® aren't willing to show houses in person so some Realtors® and sellers are using digital technology to show homes in their best light. They are posting as many photos of the homes as possible, posting virtual tours and creating a video walk through of homes listed for sale. Houses are being sold "sight unseen" which means sellers are selling homes without buyers physically walking through them.
If a house for sale is vacant, it is easier to show to buyers in person. It is advised that the Realtor® and the buyers wear masks and practice safe social distancing where they stay 6 feet or further away from each other during the showings. Realtors® are now conducting "no touch showings." This means that buyers are able to walk through homes but not touch anything. The Realtors® are wearing gloves and are the only ones allowed to turn on and off light switches and open the doors, closets and cabinets.
It Still is Possible to Sell your House During the COVID-19 Pandemic
There are multiple forces here at play making it possible and most probable you will sell. Home values are holding steady. Mortgage interest rates are still at historic lows. Low inventory means that buyers have fewer homes to choose from, which is good for sellers. And there are still buyers out there that need to purchase homes right now. Be certain to work with your Realtor® in practicing safety guidelines and ask about their plan to show your home digitally by using as many photos possible, virtual tours and a video walk through.