Virtual Home Selling

Should I sell my house right now? Can I even sell my house Virtual Home Sellingright now? Are there even any buyers? How do I stay safe?

There are so many questions right now from people who are thinking about selling their house, and rightfully so. The unhelpful but truthful answer to all of these questions is… “it depends.”

It depends because every state, county, and even some cities are all taking different approaches to how they are dealing with COVID-19. Some areas are pretty much business as normal, albeit with masks, six feet away, air hugs, and hands covered in sanitizer and gloves (that doesn’t sound very normal does it?). However, in other parts of the country real estate was deemed non-essential and you literally cannot get in to, or close on a house right now. Like always, but ever more so, you need to talk to a local real estate professional so they can help you navigate these new waters like Christopher Columbus (ok, that’s a bad example since he thought he “found” India but you get what I mean, right?).

Let’s assume you are in a place where a real estate transaction can happen, this might actually be a really good time to sell – if you’re willing to try a new process.  Inventory levels are as low as they have ever been in the history of the United States, and there are some sellers who are electing to wait to put their homes on the market which is only exacerbating the inventory issue. On top of that, there are few buyers but the ones that are in the market see this as “their time” and they are as motivated as a two-year-old asking for another piece of candy (yes, THAT relentless).

You’ve decided you’re all in… what are the steps to the process? I’m glad you asked, they look something like this:

Step 1: Virtual Agent Interview. We’ve got all the software we need. Heck, our dang phones have like 17 cameras on them nowadays. So, we always meet at a distance and get to know each other. There are tools like GoToMeeting and Zoom where we can take you step-by-step through the process just like we would in your kitchen. If you are even considering it, you should set up a meeting. It’s at least a reason to put on real clothes, shoot maybe even socks. If people can find the love of their life online, we can probably decide if we’d work well together on a Zoom call right?

Step 2: Preparing the house for sale. We’ve found a professional love connection via technology and now we’re working together (yay!). How in the heck do I get my house ready for prime time? Luckily, in most areas across the country construction has been deemed essential so the cadre of professional, licensed, and insured contractors that your REALTOR® has relationships with should be able to get the work done that needs doing. Of course, it will be socially distanced construction and you might have to take a few long drives with the family for picnics and do a deep clean when they are done. However, it is possible it just takes extra coordination and communication which is what being a real estate agent is all about.

Step 3: Pre-Inspections. We’ll also work with inspectors who can do inspections before you put the home on the market so the buyer has as much information about the home as possible without even seeing it.

Step 4: Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. This one is more than one step. It’s a lot of steps.  Exposure of the property has always been important, but now it’s more important than ever. So let’s break this down piece by piece.

  • Custom Marketing Plan: There is nothing “normal” about our current situation. How we market homes has to change, that is why we’ve developed a custom marketing plan to make sure buyers know your house is for sale. With everything from increased online presence, virtual showings, virtual open houses, and more, you need new tools in the new normal and we’ve got them.
  • Maximum exposure online: Right now maximum exposure online is everything. During the first few weeks of COVID-19, the largest real estate sites saw a huge drop in buyer activity. But you know what, as people got a little less scared and a lot more bored they started looking at all the pretty houses again. The same real estate sites have seen a massive spike in buyer activity. That’s why we syndicate our listings to hundreds of websites so basically your house will be online more than that Tiger King documentary.
  • Virtual Image Package: Ok I made this one up. I don’t think there is such a thing as a “virtual image package” but there should be and now there is. Since so much of the process will be done at a distance that old saying of “image is everything” might be true right now. That’s why we’ve got 3D home tours, virtual staging, and always use professional photographers. All of this helps the buyer get closer and closer to feeling like they’ve seen the house from their computer screen (in their daytime pajamas).
  • Virtual Open House and Showings: Even with a Virtual Image Package (see how that just rolls off the tongue??) eventually a buyer is going to want to see the inside. That’s why we’ve developed strategies around doing Virtual Open Houses that profile the property to potential buyers and a virtual showing approach where the buyer can get a guided walkthrough of the property.

Step 5: Offers, addendums, negotiation, and close. Your house got more eyeballs than YouTube (ok, not THAT many… they got 1.6 billion visits monthly), so now its time to get an offer in. You might be surprised to know that much of this has been done “virtually” for a long time.  Gone are the days where a buyers agent will present in the conference room to the sellers and their agent. Today, with a full suite of tools we can literally do all the paperwork remotely without missing a beat. Just adjust the font size so you can read the fine print, smush the mouse button and you’re off to the races.

I do think you’re going to see the real estate process go more and more virtual in the coming months. Sure we will get back to shaking hands (maybe fistbumps?) and meeting in the dining room to review the process but much of this virtual process will stay even after COVID-19 is gone.

If you’re ready, we’re ready.  Me and my of Team of NextHome agents are waiting for you!  Give us a call and we will put on our mask and gloves and get the sign in the yard with that cute orange french bulldog Luke and then lead you through the process from start to finish.

Local Market Update

The state’s housing market wrapped up the summer the same way it started: Tight andFor sale sold pic expensive. But there are signs in some parts of the market that things may be topping out.  Prices for single-family homes inGreater Boston climbed again in August, with the hitting a record high for the month of $640 000 Condominium prices dipped median hitting a record high for the month of $640,000. Condominium prices dipped slightly compared with last year but remain near record levels, with a median price of $565,000.

That’s according to data published Wednesday by the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, which said the number of sales of both houses and condos in August fell 5 percent compared with the same month last year. It’s a sign of tight supply — which has been the case for the last few years — and shows that would-be buyers are holding back in the face of growing economic uncertainty, said GBAR president Jim Major, an agent with Century 21 North East in Woburn.

“We are starting to see more buyers act with less urgency and exercise more caution before making an offer to purchase,” he said. “With home prices moderating and mortgage rates steady, buyers aren’t feeling pressured to make as quick a decision to buy as they did last spring or a year ago.”

That means houses are taking longer to sell, and when they do, they’re more likely to sell below listing price than they did a year ago. Also, the number of homes on the market, particularly condominiums, is up. The market is still healthy, Major said, but it’s easier on buyers than it used to be.

“We’re seeing a number of communities in Greater Boston wherein home prices have either peaked or begun to decline,” he said. “After experiencing a strong sellers’ market for the past three years, we are now seeing the beginnings of a more balanced market between supply and demand.”

How long this might last is anyone’s guess.

The housing market showed signs of cooling off last fall, too, before interest rates fell and demand took off again in the spring. Statewide, supply and demand remain out of balance and the fundamentals of Massachusetts’ economy remain healthy, which will continue to drive demand, said Tim Warren, CEO of real estate data firm The Warren Group.

“Everyone is trying to figure out if this is a sign of a slowing market or simply a lack of inventory,” he said. “I’m betting on a strong local economy and job growth to keep housing hot for another year.”

Article Courtesy of Tim Logan Globe Staff