This article was updated on June 21, 2021
Since June is National Homeownership Month, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a moment and reflect on how the world of homeownership (and home sales) has changed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the pandemic’s effects, the U.S. real estate industry hasn’t shown signs of slowing down in a post-pandemic world. However, the way that clients shop for and buy homes has changed. You may be wondering how to more dynamically—and effectively—market your own listings. In this article, we’ll explain how to sell a home in a post-pandemic world.
Things to Keep In Mind for the Changing Market
While the housing market is known for being unpredictable, there are a few post-pandemic impacts to keep in mind as you move forward into this new world:
- Remote work isn’t going anywhere, and it’s causing an increase in housing demand. After a year of adjusting to working remotely, many companies have kept the option on the table for employees. With more of the workforce working from home, the home-buying demand will enjoy a post-pandemic boost.
- Housing and neighborhood preferences might return to the pre-pandemic status quo. During the pandemic, professionals and families left behind cities for more suburban home fronts. Now that the world is opening back up, experts say it’s possible the demand for homes in small cities and urban areas will increase.
- Homes will come on the market (and be bought) quickly. As the country becomes vaccinated, more and more individuals will feel comfortable moving than they did when the disease was rampant. Because of the increased demand for housing, homes that will come on the market may be snatched up quickly.
- Housing prices will continue to increase. As the age-old economist adage states, increased demand will increase value. According to Zillow, the average home increased in valuation by at least $20,000 by the end of 2020.
- Buyers have new expectations when it comes to the house-hunt. With the pandemic came a boom of digital house-hunting tools, from increased use of home sale sights to 3D virtual tours. In fact, 79% of Americans would prefer to view a 3D virtual tour of a home before pursuing it as a possible purchase.
Market Yourself on Nextdoor
As the digital world became so much a part of our reality during the pandemic, a digital presence is as important as a physical one. For the purposes of real estate professionals, who need hyperlocal connections, the most vital presence to have is Nextdoor, which combines digital ease with real-life local benefits. Here’s why:
- Nextdoor's real estate section is hyperlocal - If you need to stretch your advertising dollars, Neighborhood Sponsorship is one of your best bets. When you promote yourself and your listings on Nextdoor, you reach a geo-targeted audience that’s largely made up of homeowners.
- There's no need to build an audience - Unlike Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, businesses on Nextdoor don’t need to “attract” followers. Once you set up a free Business Page and sign up as a Neighborhood Sponsor, your posts will reach the communities you target.
- Nextdoor users are registered residents – Most social media sites don’t require users to use their real names or locations, but in order to join Nextdoor, neighbors have to be able to prove they really live there. That means your Nextdoor posts always reach an audience that’s likely to be interested in them (and in working with you).
Urge Clients to Sell Before Property Values Drop
As all real estate agents know, the only thing certain about the real estate market is that it’s uncertain. That said, the post-pandemic boost in a home’s value might not be as high in two years as they are now.
Therefore, gently encouraging cautious sellers to list their homes now may be in their best interests.
If your clients are planning on waiting to see if their home’s value continues to grow, let them know they’re taking a risk. While their property’s value might drastically increase over the long term, it’s more likely that it can decrease in the short term. According to HomeLight, it’s possible that the housing market will falter if the U.S. experiences another recession (which might happen within the next two years).
And, as every real estate agent knows, attempts to “time” the market perfectly often fall flat. Instead, seize the moment while it’s here.
Stage Homes Beautifully
This tip for how to sell a home after the pandemic applies to every selling circumstance: stage it beautifully.
Help potential buyers see what makes your listings amazing by:
- Asking in-residence owners to thoroughly declutter – Find a storage space company in your area with contactless solutions and steer your clients to them. Especially in smaller homes, decluttering makes a big difference.
- Staging empty homes with virtual furniture - With virtual staging apps like iStaging and VisualStager, you can furnish any vacant space for far less than you’d pay a home stager.
Pro tip: Try to confine decor colors to just three per room, as more shades can make rooms feel overwhelming.
- Brightening dark areas with fresh flowers or potted plants – Long-lasting flowers, such as carnations, make excellent bouquets. For the best effect, use a large mass of them in a single color. When it comes to houseplants, opt for hardy ones like snake plants, which can thrive even in dim conditions.
- Using three points of lighting in every room – This technique, known as “three-point lighting,” has been used in film, TV, and theater for decades. It helps you to emphasize desirable architectural features while minimizing less attractive ones.
By following these tips, you’ll make your listings’ photographs and virtual and in-person tours more appealing to house shoppers.
Lean Into Digital Home-Selling Tools
During the pandemic, potential buyers became accustomed to more digital features such as virtual open houses and tours. These virtual house-hunting tools have now proven their ease and effectiveness and can boost your potential buyer list significantly.
As you’re preparing a house for sale, be sure to add a few things to your to-do list to ensure the place looks good online and offline such as:
- Creating a 3D tour
- Taking high-resolution photos of the space for uploads to digital listing sites
- Hosting virtual open houses (here’s a guide just for that)
Spotlight Post-Pandemic-Friendly Selling Points
Because so many adults and children were stuck at home for so long during the pandemic, the definition of desirable real estate has shifted. After months indoors, city dwellers questioned why they paid premium rent to live in a city they couldn’t experience, while those who worked (and will continue to work) remotely have become sick and tired of shared walls.
In this new climate, you should be mindful of these new buyer must-haves by:
- Taking ample pictures of kitchen storage - Many consumers started bulk buying in March 2020, and it looks like this custom is here to stay. That means homebuyers need somewhere to keep their flats of toilet paper, giant boxes of energy bars, and ten-pound sacks of rice. Assure them that your listings can meet their storage needs by photographing deep kitchen cabinets, garage shelves, pantries, and other storage solutions.
- Making the most of yards – Families that live in apartments have not had an easy time of it and in fact, planted a new appreciation for outdoor spaces. Show potential buyers the beauty of your listing’s outdoor features by making sure its lawn looks vast, lush, and impeccable. Stage it with playground equipment, inviting patio furniture, and barbecues. A great outdoor space could be the key to moving that listing fast.
- Staging multiple home offices – With more and more professionals making the choice to stay home, a home office has become an extremely desirable home feature. Meet potential buyers’ needs by staging finished basements or attics as home offices.
Continue to Be Mindful of Pandemic Precautions
Though we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, waltzing right back into pre-pandemic norms may be difficult for many. Some potential buyers may still be wary of meeting new people, being in crowds, and going out without a mask. By offering accommodations to these buyers, you’ll help them feel at ease from each stage of the selling process.
- Offer hand sanitizer at open houses
- Make it clear you’re open to personal house tours while the homeowners are out
- Continue to offer virtual tours and meetings to help potential buyers feel at ease
Keep Calm and Keep Selling
As a real estate agent, you’re used to the ups and downs of the market—you can ride each wave like a pro. And after months of navigating the choppy waters of pandemic house-buying and selling, you’re ready for the new challenges a post-pandemic world will bring. With a little guidance, ingenuity, and determination, you’ll help your clients find their way to homey harbors every time.
CNBC. How to Sell Your Home in the Age of Coronavirus. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/16/coronavirus-how-to-sell-your-home-during-pandemic.html
HomeLight.com. Should I Sell My House Now or Wait Until the Coronavirus Eases Up?. https://www.homelight.com/blog/should-i-sell-my-house-now-coronavirus/
Seattle Post-Intelligencer. How Has Buying and Selling Homes in Seattle Changed Since the Start of the Pandemic?. https://www.seattlepi.com/coronavirus/article/how-buying-selling-homes-changed-during-pandemic-15467798.php
Zillow. Americans Want Digital Tools to Complement Traditional Home Shopping. https://www.zillow.com/research/digital-tools-millennials-29101/
Zillow. Home Value Growth Breaks New Records in Face of Unrelenting Demand. https://www.zillow.com/research/zillow-december-2020-market-report-28684/
PR News Wire. What to Expect in the Housing Market After the Pandemic. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/what-to-expect-in-the-housing-market-after-the-pandemic-301268452.html
Money. Another Post-COVID Comeback? Homebuyers Are Looking at Cities Again. https://money.com/post-covid-city-housing-market-deals/
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