How To In A World Of What's Next
Buying and selling in Spring/Summer 2020 is not for the faint of heart. Unless you are serious about making a move, hunker down until you're ready. It's rough out there!
From the comfort of your living room, get your financial profile in order, in advance. Request a pre-approval letter from your mortgage professional. Have your down payment in cash and ready to go. Prepare a Financial Statement and assemble the supporting materials; they will be required to demonstrate your Board worthiness as part of the offer process and may be required prior to viewing a property. Proving your financial strength has always been part of the offer process; it is likely to become the new normal in advance of showings.
Watch the market closely. Track what comes on, and what comes off, what has gone into contract and what has had a price reduction. Days-on-market has been tolled, but your agent will know when the property came on the market as well as the home's pricing history.
Do your recreational shopping online; actual visits are for SERIOUS buyers only. Don't put yourself, your agent, the seller or the seller's agent in harm's way by casually visiting properties for sale. Visiting open houses, as Sunday afternoon recreation, is no longer a thing.
Visit in your Coronavirus gear - mask and gloves, for sure. Understand that you are likely to have to remove your shoes, so be sure to wear socks that don't have holes. Try not to touch anything during a showing. Be ready to make an offer, so long as the property doesn't have obvious disqualifying issues (bad smells, i.e.).
Be aware of fixer-uppers. Be advised that contractors are in high demand and the cost of a renovation is likely to spike. Unless you intend to do the work yourself, get estimates and review the fine print carefully.
Be realistic in your pricing expectations. Property is likely to be on sale, but only at a 5-10% discount. Low ball offers are always insulting.
Be realistic in your timing. Everything takes longer (MUCH longer) than it used to.
Get your home on the market - beat the summer rush. This means - prepping (de-cluttering, de-personalizing, making minor repairs, deep cleaning, i.e.), taking photographs, pricing strategically and creating a comprehensive marketing plan. Take advantage of the low inventory; fewer properties currently on the market means less competition.
Make the home as available as possible. Showings are challenging, especially with people working from home, home schooling, and not having housekeepers on call. Try to accommodate any buyer's (reasonable) request to visit; hopefully there will not be too many before a strong offer is received and negotiated.
Incorporate hygienic staging. Sterilize as best you can before showings. Open all doors and cabinets and turn on all lights. The buyer and the agent should not have to touch any surfaces, but just in case, have hand sanitizer near the front door and in each of the rooms. Keep antiviral wipes in the kitchen. There should be paper towels in the bathrooms (rather than cloth towels) should anyone wash their hands.
Realize that you may not get work done before you sell. Contractors are not available and will be especially expensive in the near term. Do your best to make the home pretty.
Plan to move your things, either into storage or to a new home, leaving ample time to coordinate. Buildings and movers need to be on the same page, and there will be new protocols in place as well.