Can you sell your home during a pandemic? Should you?
Yes, and yes, according to Ruggish mom and California real estate agent Jenny Morant.
Jenny lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and two young daughters, and she says despite COVID-19, the housing market is continuing to move.
“In fact, it’s a very busy time in the world of real estate,” Jenny says. “A lot of people are moving.”
In Los Angeles, for example, some families are moving to areas like the Midwest where they can afford more space or be near family, while others are moving in from even more densely populated areas like New York City and San Francisco. Along with the desire for more space, interest rates are low, which means there’s more competition for homes, especially in places with low inventory.
“You basically have to schedule in advance any properties you want to see,” she says. “If you are looking in a very competitive price point … then you will want to see homes as soon as they come on the market.”
If you’re looking at selling, Jenny says it’s understandable to feel nervous about having strangers in your home.
“I think it’s ideal to move out before listing your house, if at all possible, to avoid all the foot traffic,” she says. But if that’s not an option, agents — and, in some cases, lawmakers — are taking extra precautions to protect everyone involved in a home sale. Jenny’s buyers have to sign a document affirming that they don’t, to their knowledge, have COVID-19, and masks and hand sanitizer are required. Open houses aren’t allowed (and she says she thinks buyers actually prefer solo showings anyway).
“One of the biggest trends is almost all listings now have virtual walk-through tours, which offer 360-degree views of each property, where a buyer can actually walk through (online) and look at all angles throughout the house,” she says.
As for the transaction itself, if you’ve done it before, you’ll find it hasn’t changed much, although if you want, it is possible to do a sale entirely virtually, with livestreamed tours, distanced inspections and electronic signatures.
What has changed is what buyers — especially parents with children — are looking for in a house. Those months at home have left house hunters on the lookout for properties that they can imagine being confined to for long periods of time, and amenities and spaces that reflect a more home-centric lifestyle. Yards and pools are in high demand, including among parents of young children who might previously have shied away from a pool out of safety concerns. Space for home gyms, offices and school areas are also important to buyers, a huge change from a few months ago, so if your home has spaces that fit the bill, be sure to play them up.
Homes like this spacious Manhattan Beach listing are parents’ new quarantine dream — lots of room for family to live, work, play and relax without feeling boxed in.
Some houses sell themselves, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little extra to showcase their corona-potential. That’s when it becomes helpful to stage a home with furniture and decor.
“Since quarantine/COVID life, expect to see way more staging relating to our new normal life at home,” Jenny says. “Specific areas — decorated to show usefulness as a home office, homeschool area, workout spot, outdoor play area — are all going to be highlighted as much as a home allows for.”
To that end, when preparing your house to sell, she suggests making every inch serve a purpose (without looking cluttered).
“This could be as simple as adding a desk to an unused corner of a bedroom, dedicating part of your garage for a home office or homeschool area, or even clearing unused outdoor furniture off your porch and adding a swing, mini trampoline or water table,” she says. “All homes that do a good job showing a family could comfortably quarantine in (them) are going to sell faster now, and for more money!”
Jenny likes to use rugs in her staging to visually separate a room into spaces, and when she’s staging a family home, sometimes that means she brings in a Ruggish play rug. A Ruggish mom herself, Jenny says she likes the stylish pop it brings to a playroom.
“I’m obsessed with our Ruggish playmat, and so are my kids,” she says. “I love the parent-friendly design and the kid-friendly material (so durable and even pet/kid spill-resistant). The kids love flipping it over and use the track to play cars, and it doesn’t get old because it’s hidden most of the time!”
For more tips, trends and real estate advice, follow @Jenny_Morant on Instagram!