Sellers: Are you ready??
Lancaster County is still not conducting most in-person real estate transactions, but once the restrictions are lifted, we're off to the races! Are you ready??
Lancaster County, PA is still a Red county, which means in-person real estate transactions are prohibited. Some contracts are still able to close if they were initiated before 3/18, but there are some hefty limitations on these as well. Thankfully, Realtors receive regular guidance from various Realtor associations, as well as our brokerages, so that we can navigate the temporary restrictions.
Experts currently predict that when the market reopens, we will be busier than ever! So as a seller, what can you do to prepare? Here are some tips, illustrated by my daughter:
1. Consider listing your home now, if your Realtor agrees. Right now, with many buyers stuck at home, they're cruising the apps like Realtor.com and Zillow. They'll be informed and already have an idea of what they would like to see when they come out of the woodworks. Realtors are also putting in the time to be very familiar with listings and to network with colleagues putting up new listings, so they can immediately recommend suitable listings to new potential clients. This is also a great way to get market comps and start working with your realtor to determine your asking price. In my school district (Manheim Central - a slower, sleepy real estate area), we had three new listings in just the last week, and four closings in that same time period.
2. Check your structure. Look around your house and make sure that the roof looks good, basement doesn't flood, pests stay outside, flooring and ceilings and walls are in good condition, sewage is acceptable, etc. You have to decide if you want to put money into making repairs or sell as is, and a Realtor can help you determine the cost vs. benefit of each of these things for your area. You need to be aware of the types of items sellers are required to disclose in your state. While a buyer will pay for an inspection, sellers are still required to disclose any material defects, and can be held responsible if they do not.
3. Go around your house and think about how you've laid out furniture and decorated. Remember that how you live in your space is not what a buyer wants to see. They want to see more or less a blank canvas so they can envision how they can live in the space. So if you have a family of 6 in a 3 bedroom house, the extra large sofas that dominate the living room and the toys scattered throughout the house might be a turn off for them. You may not be able to move the sofas, but try to make sure that furniture doesn't cut off the flow of the rooms, items are put away, and floors and furniture are clean.
4. Focus on your curb appeal. Oftentimes, the photo of the front of your house is the first one that appears on any ads and on your sales site. It's spring, so take advantage of it and get the whole family outside to prune and plant, re-seed and reset, mow and mulch, and paint and power wash.
5. Start packing away your valuables and personal belongings. You don't want expensive or very personal photos and knickknacks on display in your home when other people are walking through or viewing a video of your house.