With recent concerns surrounding COVID-19, how should agents handle the typical tasks of showing a home to an interested buyer?
While virtual tours are a handy way to circumvent the issue, the truth is that a home is best seen in person. How can an agent put a seller and buyer's minds at ease during COVID-19 while still earning their business?
Here are a few tips.
Reward anyone who attends.
Right now, people want to feel like their hands are as clean as possible and they aren't being exposed to anything. If you are showing a home, do what you can to help visitors feel like they don't have to touch everything in sight. Offer wet wipes or hand sanitizer and ensure that soap and running water is available (not the seller's personal soap).
Be flexible with showings.
With everyone's schedule feeling more up in the air than ever, it's important to be as flexible as possible with home showings. Some sellers may be working from home, and might not want buyers in and out of the house — while buyers, because they are working from home, might figure any time is great for showings. It's your job, as the agent, to help everyone come up with a time that suits everyone involved. And be willing to reschedule things if someone is sick or feeling particularly anxious.
Respect the seller and buyer at all times.
Regardless of whether you think someone is overreacting, you must respect clients at all times or lose the deal. Never argue with them or try to point out that they may be misinformed. Instead, listen politely and try to address their needs compassionately.
Get sellers out of the house, safely.
Instead of sellers staying inside and hovering around interested buyers, encourage them to get out and do something that doesn't involve groups of people. Suggestions include:
- Bicycle rides
- Walks in a nearby park or at the beach
- Going for a drive
- Visiting a friend or relative's house
Keep things spotless.
At any showing, but particularly during COVID-19, cleanliness is of utmost importance. Here are our suggestions for a spic-and-span home; keep an eye on the cleanliness throughout the duration of the listing and repeat as necessary.
General List of To-Dos:
- Clear the cobwebs from every corner of your home.
- Dust ceiling fans and lighting fixtures.
- Dust the blinds.
- Wash the walls. This has to be done before repainting, so this will save you time later.
- Clean all glass surfaces: mirrors, television screens, patio doors, and tables.
- Polish all wooden surfaces.
- Wipe down leather furniture.
- Clean out and re-organize kitchen cabinets. Buyers will open them.
- Attack all appliances with cleaning fervor. Make them shine!
- Scrub sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, faucets, and countertops. They must be impeccable.
- All tiled areas, including grout, must be free of discoloration, stains, and mildew.
- Clean the window treatments. Wash the windows so that the natural light will enhance your living space.
- Vacuum rugs, shampoo carpets, and mop floors thoroughly.
Focus on the kitchen and bath
The most important rooms in your home are the kitchen and bathrooms. A kitchen can sell a house because it is the heart of a home, the place family and friends gather to enjoy one another’s company. Buyers will be turned off by dirt and grime, cooking smells, and trash. Clean all cabinet surfaces as well as under the sink.
Bathrooms are so important to Americans that most homes have at least two or three. As you work toward selling your home, it is imperative that the bathrooms are kept clean and odor-free. Potential buyers might forgive a less-than-stellar child’s room, but a questionable bathroom or kitchen could cost you a sale.
Pets are wonderful, but homebuyers want to see your home without them. Domestic animals are not unique features or selling points of homes; pet dander and odor aren’t going to provide a positive viewing experience.
Some prospects might have allergies, others may not like animals, and for all, they are an unnecessary distraction. Minimize the presence of pets. Dog dishes, cat litter boxes, and beds need to be clean. Pets should be relegated to cages or backyards while showing your home.