If Not Now...Then When?

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During a recent virtual meeting, as we did our usual across-the-screen check-ins, one of our brokers announced she and her family had found a home that was perfect for them: an offer had been made, they were under contract, and they needed to get their current home ready and on the market to sell. 

What followed next came a word of advice: If you are motivated to sell, don’t wait to put your home on the market because, if not now, then when?

It’s sound advice. We are seeing sales activity now but we just can’t see this same level of activity happening 4-6 months from now. Given the state of our economy and what is predicted to come, a house on the market could sit for months. Although even the experts can't say with certainty where things are going, current statistics are clear:  we are headed towards a turbulent economic period and we can’t say how long it will last. Consumers are predicted to reduce spending  even if their employment is currently secure which potentially puts house buying plans on a backburner.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t wait a year or more for the economy to recover, and you need to put your home on the market, we can tell you it is possible and we are here to help. We can help you safely and efficiently navigate the process within the current COVID-19 orders and guidelines. We’ve compiled advice around expediting the process to increase your chances of a quicker sale:

  • List with a broker as soon as possible. If turnaround time matters, streamline your efforts and work with a professional real estate agentwho will advocate for you. They know the markets, the neighborhoods, the current guidelines, and have a network of contacts to help you navigate the process with skill and efficiency. Any member of our team can assist you with strategizing a selling price, managing offers, and keeping track of the transactional details.  

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. You have a lot going on and you do not have to address every cosmetic detail. We recommend that you do not spend a significant amount of time staging your home if you want to move the sale along. Use your best judgement on where to put your efforts. We know many of you are sheltering-at-home with children that need structure and schooling, have work commitments, and other family obligations that limit your time and mental bandwidth. Do your best to tidy up each room, remove excess clutter, and get the family outside to clean up and note the curbside appeal of your home.  Have photos taken as is. You can always add updated ones if needed. 

  • Use a professional photographer. Given that current guidelines limit how we can show properties, working with a professional photographer is highly recommended. They have the proper equipment and creative skills to work with your space to highlight its most desirable features for potential buyers to view remotely. We work with several local photographers that can help. Brook Road Photography offers 3D virtual walkthroughs and aerial views of some of the properties. Don’t forget to include a digital floor plan as part of your album.

  • Spread the word! Let them know you are looking for a buyer. Share links to your listing with your own network and contacts. Word-of-mouth can go a long way through your trusted channels!

  • Be ready to show responsibly. To comply with current social distancing requirements and recommendations, have footwear coverings, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, and face coverings available for use. Talk with a Vitalius broker about guidelines and recommendations, we have the latest information and can help you with this process.

  • Speak to a lender. Educate yourself on all sides of the transaction to be aware of any details that might impact the process. Cynthia Veroneau, a loan consultant with Caliber Home Loans, reports that currently there is very minimal impact to the majority of their clients, and her team is continuing to finance loans without delay.  Although each loan office might vary in their process, she notes the following:

    • Their office is raising their minimum FICO to 620 and reducing self-employment income by 25% unless customers have reserves. 

    • COVID has changed how they accept appraisals.  Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac are allowing exterior and drive by appraisals.  If it is a second home between 10-15% down, it still needs a full appraisal, otherwise desktop and exterior are acceptable.  

    • They are verifying employment 3 days prior to closing to ensure that there has not been a change to employment due to COVID

If You Have a Buyer:

  • Be realistic and expect delays. Don't rush the process at the expense of overlooking vital details or pressuring your buyer. Although the goal is to expedite the sale as quickly as possible, be patient and be prepared to wait as your buyer and their team take the time to work through gathering and processing items on their end. 

  • Focus on the results. The goal is to ensure that your potential buyers are financially stable and that there are no disappointing surprises. 

We hope this information is helpful if you are thinking of selling a property at this time. Please know that our team is available to answer any questions you might have and help you make the most informed decisions. 

Be well.

Brit and the Vitalius Real Estate Group