Tips For Selling Your Home During COVID-19

Posted on: August 28, 2023

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, the real estate market is gaining momentum. Nationally, sales of existing homes rose 20.7% in June 2020 compared to May 2020— the largest one-month increase on record. 

We asked Jen Harper, a real estate agent with Keller-Williams Community Partners in Miamisburg, Ohio, whose mother lives at Otterbein SeniorLife, what it’s like to sell a house during this time and how homeowners can prepare.

Read on to hear Jen’s answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about selling a home during COVID-19.

How has the pandemic changed the experience of selling a home?

When governors announced stay-at-home orders in March, the real estate market pretty much shut down. One of my listings was supposed to go live that week and the owner got very nervous and told me, “No one is coming into my house.” That was typical for many sellers at the time.

But the real estate market is such a big driver of the American economy that it was bound to open up again. That happened within weeks.

What trends do you see now?  

  • Homes are selling faster than they were last year.
  •  Home prices are up.
  • Sales volume is down, but only about 10%.

I see a lot of reasons that the real estate market is heating up. After spending months at home, many people are tired of their surroundings and are ready for a change. Also, some people see opportunities to work from home long-term and need a different type of space to make that happen. And interest rates are at historic lows, which is very motivating to buyers.

Related: Your guide to moving during COVID-19 >>

How can homeowners feel safe about the process of selling their home?

Before your first showing, your real estate agent should talk to you about any precautions you may want to take. A few examples include:

  • Requiring prospective buyers to wear a mask and/or gloves while in your home.
  • Turning on all the lights in the house and leaving interior doors open so that potential buyers don’t have to touch anything as they walk through.
  •  Leaving hand sanitizer out and requesting that people use it upon entering your house.

Another precaution is to limit the number of people who can view your house at once. In many areas, real estate agents aren’t allowed to schedule overlapping showings. In other words, the house has to be empty when a prospective buyer arrives for a scheduled showing. 

To make that work, we’ve limited how much time people have to walk through a house and have spaced out the appointment slots. Some real estate agents have started offering open houses again, but social distancing can be challenging in that setting.

What advice would you give people who are seriously considering selling their house? 

Real estate agents like to say that every market is local, and it’s true. That’s why it’s so important to find an agent who understands the local market well. They’ll know how to market your home so that you sell it as quickly as possible with the best terms possible.

In terms of preparing the house itself, I always talk to my clients about the three “Ds” and two “Ps”:

  • Deep clean your home.
  • Declutter every room and closet. I often recommend renting a storage pod for items that you can live without until your move. Once it’s full, the pod company can remove and store it for you. It’s well worth the cost to make your house look bigger.
  • Depersonalize: Remove all of your baby pictures, fridge magnets, grad announcements, and knickknacks.
  • Paint your mailbox and your front door—first impressions are important! Before deciding to paint interior rooms, talk to your real estate agent. He or she should be able to recommend which walls (if any) should be painted, and which colors to use.
  • Powerwash your driveway, sidewalk, porch, deck, and exterior of your home. People are often surprised by what a difference this makes

Whatever happened to the woman who got cold feet about selling her house in March?

She put it on the market in May and it sold in one day!

Next Read: Your Guide to Moving During COVID-19

If you’re selling your house, your next step is to move into your new place. Find tips for staying safe and making the move simpler in our next read.

Guide to moving during COVID-19 >>