Tiger Power: How to Take Advantage of Lockdown to Sell Your Home
It's time to harness the Power of the Tiger. We may be trapped in our cages, but that's no reason to lay around in our PJ's all day! (at least after the first two weeks) No, it's time to tackle some of those problem areas around the house. All of the energy has just been building up inside you. You watched all of Tiger King and still have NO IDEA what really happened or how any of those people made it to adulthood, or why you couldn't stop watching. Seriously, Netflix must have put some subliminal messaging in the images because I felt like I was trapped in the Death Star's tractor beam! But bottom line, you sympathized with those big beautiful cats prowling around inside their chain link cages...and now it's time for ACTION.
In a recent blog, I talked about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on real estate. I highlighted the fact that most potential buyers are not considering purchases right now. Who could blame them? I wouldn't feel great about buying a house without being able to physically walk through it. Virtual tours and open houses are great, but this is a major investment. In fact, most sellers are putting holds on their occupied homes because they don't want buyers, appraisers, inspectors, etc. coming to the house.
But GOOD NEWS! People are viewing the virtual tours and open houses, and with so much time stuck in the house they are starting to browse home listings. According to Forbes contributor and President of Local Market Monitor Ingo Winzo, most local markets will likely see home prices remain the same or dip only slightly. While many are fearing a great recession like 2008, Winzo explains why this is not likely the case.
So, if you're considering selling, you could reach a wider audience right now by listing your home. But first, ask yourself how many of those people stuck at home are also watching HGTV and DIY shows (especially since Tiger King was bingeable in 1-2 days!).
Here are some tips for taking advantage of lock down to prepare your [cage] house to sell quickly:
1. Go into each room, pause, and look around. Think about what other people would say when they walk in. Be honest with yourself! Do you need to de-clutter? You might say that every object brings you joy and Marie Kondo would be proud. But, if you have too many personal items around, it makes it more difficult for potential buyers to envision themselves in that space. Plus, if you're doing a virtual tour or photos, remember that these will be available on the internet for anyone to see. You may not want to take a photo of your living room out there with all of your heirloom china, or your kid's soccer trophy or that high school picture of you with a mullet.
2. Consider a facelift. An entire home decked out in big cat print might suit Carole Baskin, but it's a bold and personal choice for most of us. Personally, I know I'll have to repaint my emerald green bathroom before I list my own house. Think about neutrals - with some personality. Plain white and gray feel cold. A taupe-gray, slightly creamy white, or very pale blue/purple gray are calming and still warm and neutral.
3. Think about what issues you have with your home. What isn't working for you anymore? Is the closet overflowing? Do the steps creak? Is the lighting dim? Chances are, these won't work for new buyers either. Small details that you can change now that will add function and organization to a space will go a long way to showing buyers how well-maintained the home was overall.
4. Finish your projects! I'm told that most people have a space in the house where they thought, "ooooooh, wouldn't it look nice to have a _____" and started but didn't finish. I don't, because once I start a house project I can't sleep until it's done. (My mom's Korean and she instilled a very deep compulsion to keep a tidy, clean house.) Still, use this time to finish your projects. If you aren't sure how to, call a handyman and talk through your issue with them. The ones I know aren't working right now, and are happy to discuss their trade. Plus, you can let them know that you're gearing up to sell your house and that if you have larger issues you run into, you will give them a call later. They're all worried about their livelihood in the future, so making these connections will be helpful.
5. Be an outsider. Stand outside of your house, and look at it objectively. Do you have curb appeal? Plant some flowers, trim the bushes, power wash the sidewalks and home exterior (if appropriate for your exterior surface). Does your deck need re-stained? It's not a fun task, but it can definitely take up some of your lockdown time, and overall you'll save money by doing it yourself - as long as you do your research and do it correctly!
6. Most importantly, call your Realtor for more advice and tips. If you're serious about listing to the point that you've considered any of the above, you should find a Realtor you trust and sign an agreement. They can then help to guide you in where best to invest your time and money. Just remember, real estate agents shouldn't be doing any business in person right now. If they ask to come to your house to look at things in person, that's a red flag!