Selling your Condo During COVID-19; What to Know
Thursday Jun 11th, 2020
As the Ontario economy begins to re-flourish and the Toronto real estate market ‘unpauses’, we are finding ourselves unceremoniously chucked into a post-pandemic word. We are all struggling to embrace a way of life and ease into the new norms, including how our condos and sold and bought. If you are trying to sell your condo in a post-COVID world, here’s what you should know.
Prepare Your Home
The importance of prepping your condo for sale extends in a COVID-19 world as well. However, before you start preparing your condo, keep in mind that market conditions are unpredictable, and you might have to wait a long time to list your condo for sale. Preparing your condo for sale at this time may be costlier as well. Nobody knows where the market is headed. Also, remember that not all condo service professionals are working legally amidst the current pandemic. Before hiring anyone, be sure to inquire into their safety protocols, especially if you are still living there. You may have a long home maintenance checklist, but now is not the time to embark on big renovations. Just focus on the most important fixes. Also, check with your property manager whether non-residents are allowed to enter the condo building. Similarly, you need to declutter your condo even if most organizing are not accepting donations at the moment. If you are working with home prep workers, it is better to leave the house vacant to limit your exposure while they clean, re paint, repair the floorboards and re-grout the shower. Before moving back in, thoroughly disinfect every nook and cranny of your house. Talk to your relator about the best course of action given the circumstances.
Staging Your House
In a COVID-19 world, more and more buyers are house-hunting online, which is why “what they see” helps them decide. This is why a lot of homeowners work with professional stagers who bring down their own staging furniture, accessories, and personal staging staff. However, before you hire a staging company, ask if they have proper safety precautions in place in the wake of the pandemic. This includes proper use of PPE and sanitizers, delays on re-using items in between homes, and disinfecting protocols for all staging paraphernalia. A staging company worth its salt is aware of what features buyers look for in a home, for instance comfortable kitchens for home-cooked meals, outdoor living spaces, kid play/school areas, and Dedicated work-from-home spaces within condo units, and transform your home to increase its appeal to potential buyers.
While some people are resorting to virtual staging where you can photoshop furniture into the photos, but it is really not the same thing. Not to mention, altered photos are prohibited from being posted on the Toronto MLS, which is all the more reason to go for the real thing. Not to mention, you are setting your buyers up for disappointment when they do visit the condo in person and see that the house looks nothing like the picture. Virtual staging isn’t all bad but if you can get the real thing, it’s worth it.
However, depending on your condo building, it might not be possible to stage your condo in a COVID-19 world, and it may not be possible to have your home professionally staged. You may have a lot of home staging ideas, but don’t be disappointed if they come to fruit in these turbulent times.
Marketing Your House
Coronavirus has impacted every facet of life and real estate marketing is no exception. We are witnessing a wave of new norms, where virtual is fast replacing “in-person”, and people are trying to survive the pandemic by limiting the people of people they meet or the surfaces they touch. Expect to see the end of agent open houses, public open houses, feature sheets, flyers and postcards and door-to-door knocking.
As a seller, it spells great news for you. Instead of relying on old-school marketing tactics to reel in buyers, you can tap in new ways to reach potential Buyers. Pre-COVID-19, agents were already to realize the importance of digital marketing and were looking for wats to expose their listings to the right people. These days, simply putting your house up for sale on the MLS won’t cut the bill. You will need to procure 3-D walk-through tours and video, Gorgeous HDR photography, detailed floor plans, add immersive home tours on the agent’s or brokerage’s website and include compelling property descriptions, in addition to targeted promotion via email and social media and advertising on all the property search sites Buyers are using.
These days, safe sales mean maximizing the number of right buyers who see it in person while minimizing the number of people in your condo. A Virtual First Showing is a great step in this regard. Your agent should be able to provide virtual showing tools, 3-D walk-through tours and tempting photos to maximize the virtual eyeballs on your home. In addition, your agent should be able to take all necessary steps to ensure that people seeing your condo in-person haven’t been exposed to COVID-19. This is to ensure that you limit your exposure to the virus. However, if a potential buyer insists on visiting the premise in-person, the important thing for you to do is to keep your family safe while showing and selling your home. For this, we advise:
- Find somewhere else to stay during the period when your condo is constantly exposed to potential buyers. Or at least leave your home an hour before a scheduled showing and returning 1-2 hours later. Thoroughly disinfect your unit before touching anything.
- Minimize the number of surfaces the Buyers and their agents will touch. You can do that by switching on the lights in advance, leaving all doors, cabinets, closets, and curtains open, and providing access to storage areas, garages, and crawlspaces.
- However, lock away your valuables before leaving the house.
- Restrict the number of people seeing your home in person to just the Buyers and the agents.
- Only allow one potential buyer at a time to visit your home.