The world has changed as we know it, as have many of the industries that we work in and with. Real estate is certainly no exception.
For those that had planned to sell their home in 2020, their plans may have changed for a variety of reasons which we understand and respect. The reality is that for many, the plan to make a move is still something people are looking to move forward with. In these trying times, the idea of a new home, and in many respects and new beginning, can offer hope and excitement.
If your plans for this year include selling your home, odds are you have questions about the market, and how the listing process has changed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. To help you understand how things have changed, and some best practices to sell your home in today’s market, our Marketing Director, Tony Kennard, sat down with Seychelle Van Poole to ask some questions that we hear frequently from our sellers.
You can view the full interview on selling your home below:
Prefer to read? Here are the questions and answers from the interview:
How Is COVID-19 affecting the market?
Typically, when we face times of uncertainty, the natural reaction is to freeze. When all else around you is chaos, it’s completely understandable too. Despite that, this isn’t actually what we’re seeing in the market. Currently, we are seeing between 2,300 and 3,300 homes go under contract each week, which tells us that buyers are not allowing the current crisis to influence their plans to move.
What is interesting is that while buyers are looking to move forward with finding a house, many sellers we talk to want to wait to list their home until the crisis is over. Compared to the number of homes going under contract, we are only seeing 1,700-1,800 homes coming on the market each week.
The result is a shortage, which actually means increased opportunity for the seller. With fewer homes on the market and plenty of buyers, sellers find themselves benefitting from the scarcity. While it’s natural to want to wait, once things settle down there is going to be a lot of homes coming on the market at one time, which works in contrast to the advantage a seller currently has.
Is now a good time to sell?
When we get this question, what we really hear are two questions about selling your home:
- Can I safely sell my home?
- Is it a good time to sell my home?
First and foremost, safety and health are our top priority when it comes to serving our clients. In the past weeks, we’ve undergone a complete overhaul of our processes and how we work with clients.
Creating opportunities for virtual showings, video tours, enhanced floorplans — these are all innovations that we’ve put in play in the past weeks. We also are finding that with these enhancements, buyers are not having to see as many homes to make a decision.
In regards to timing, we try to take on a perspective of a seller and imagine if it were our home. Taking that approach, and assuming that we had plans to sell in the next year, we would be seriously looking at putting our home on the market now rather than waiting.
This goes back to the disparity between homes coming on the market and homes currently going under contract. There is great opportunity in the fact that inventory is limited, and there are more buyers looking at a smaller number of homes.
We understand that leaning in when it feels like the rest of the world is staying put feels counterintuitive, yet for those that are able and willing to do so, there is success to be had.
If I want an instant offer on my home, what are my options?
If you have looked into selling your home in recent years, odds are you’ve seen the instant offer or cash offer programs that have gained popularity. In the past, (and by past we mean 30 days ago) you would have seen companies like Zillow, Redfin, Compass, Opendoor, and Keller Williams offering these programs.
Fast forward to today, and all but Keller Williams have stopped. Keller Williams is a privately held company, which allows them to focus on what serves the customer best rather than being at the mercy of its shareholders.
As a Keller Williams team, we have access to the Keller Offers program, and then add to that value with our own network of private investors that are still making offers. In fact, we just had an instant offer accepted last week!
How do I attract buyers to my listing?
In today’s market, who you work with matters most when selling your home. In a hot market, agents can get by simply doing what we call, “the 3 P’s” of real estate — put a sign in the yard, put the home on MLS, and pray that it sells. In today’s market, this approach is not going to cut it.
How are we operating differently?
We start with a proven pre-market strategy process, marketing your listing to the 4000+ agents in our brokerage. Once your home hits the market, our marketing strategy is designed to get your home maximum exposure in the channels buyers are looking, with access to over 150 websites.
Given the current situation, we are working to improve our showing processes to allow buyers to evaluate your home without ever having to set foot into it, and diligently qualifying those that do want to see the home in person.
Beyond this, our team features experienced real estate professionals in both our sales and admin teams that share vast networks throughout the DFW metroplex, further enhancing the exposure our sellers benefit from.
Am I expected to be making improvements to my home prior to listing?
We’ll be honest here — just like yourself, this is our first pandemic, and we are in a constant process of learning and adapting to find what works. What we have seen thus far is that people are willing to give a bit more grace given the circumstances. Therefore, if there are things that you had hoped to be able to do to your home and just were not able to get to, odds are the person on the other side of the transaction can empathize with you.
Given that real estate is still considered an essential service, we have been able to efficiently get our contractors in and out of listings in which the seller wanted to make improvements prior to putting the home on the market. Either way, both buyers and sellers understand that in these trying times, flexibility is key.
How does the inspection process work now?
We’ve seen a tremendous shift in the real estate industry, and inspectors and appraisers are adjusting to the shift just like the rest of us. During the inspection process, typically the buyer will show up for the final 30 minutes of the inspection in order to go through the report with their inspector in detail. To maximize convenience and safety, we are seeing many inspectors go through their findings over zoom.
In regards to the inspectors themselves, the inspectors we work with have been extremely cautious and professional when it comes to entering homes. This means using proper protective gear, checking their temperature prior to entering the home, and signing waivers in order to increase the confidence of the seller.
We also are recommending that sellers take matters into their own hands by sanitizing their home before and after anyone visits. A little Clorox never hurts in these situations!
At the end of the day, you have a goal of selling your home and a buyer wants to feel confident in their purchase, and the inspection process is evolving to accomplish just that.
When listing my home, what are some mistakes that I should avoid?
Our top mistake or misstep? Not paying attention to the track record of the person or team that they are hiring. When looking at our team, everyone, regardless of their role is a licensed Realtor and has a very specific job in an effort to deliver subject matter expertise in every step of the real estate process.
There’s a lot that goes into a real estate transaction, and every step requires different skill sets and levels of aptitude. Given the challenges that we are facing as a society, you want to make sure that as either a buyer or seller, you are covered every step of the way.
Additionally, when the average realtor sells 4-6 homes per year, the process of reading the market and adapting based on experience is not all that easy. Given the fact that we have 20-30 active transactions at any given time, we are fortunate to be able to fast track the learning process and adapt in order to best serve our clients.
This also rings true for buyers as well. Agents must be able to gather and properly analyze information about a property in order to guide buyers through the home buying process without seeing a ton of homes.
As the real estate market continues to evolve, we’ll be here every step of the way to keep you informed and answer any questions you might have. If you’d like to talk about selling your home, please don’t hesitate to call us at 972-608-0777. Our goal is to help those that are interesting in making a move — not force it when the timing is not right. After all, our aim is to be your trusted Realtor for life.
For more real estate news, tips, and information, visit us on the VPP Blog.