By: Matt Dean

Selling in a Social Distancing Environment - COVID-19

Tags: COVID-19, Selling during COVID19,Real Estate in Toronto, Social Distancing

Selling a Home in a Social Distancing Environment


I hope you are staying safe and healthy in this unprecedented time. While I am doing my part to keep those around me safe and advising clients to put off any in person meetings wherever possible, be it viewing a home, or hosting open houses, there are situations where someone simply cannot wait to sell their home. They may have already bought, relocating for work, or in a situation where they need the proceeds of the sale for any number of reasons. In cases such as these, a home still needs to be marketed the best way possible to give them the outcome they desire and deserve. Keep in mind, there are buyers out there who also must buy for various reasons. So, how do we connect the two?
There are ways to market a home even in a social distancing environment and get the job done with minimum risk and maximum reward. It takes a good plan, the right preparation and execution and cooperation between all parties involved, of course.
This means, no public open houses, minimizing in person showings to only serious buyers, and doing as much as possible remotely.
Step #1 is to fully understand the implications of selling in this unconventional time. The market value of your home may not be the same as it was a month ago and a realistic appraisal of the homes value is needed. Of course, its my job to give you all the information so there are no surprises.
Step #2 Unconventional times call for unconventional marketing, but then again, As Seller Representative Specialists and a Member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, I have always used these techniques with great success. A Realtors job is to show your home in the best possible light and get as much exposure as possible. With fewer in person showings and no public open houses, the challenge is to get potential buyers excited about your home enough to make the effort to submit an offer. Using the following techniques, I have received offers from buyers who did not, or could not see the home in person. Resulting in a higher price for the sellers, and in one case, selling a home that would not have been possible otherwise.
So how do I accomplish this? Its all about media and online marketing. First, Exceptional photographs and video are imperative. This is the first thing buyers will see. Photography is a passion of mine, as you can see by these examples of some of my work, so I take numerous high quality photos that show off The home and highlight the space, but never misrepresent the home. If a buyer sees a home in person and it is nothing like the pictures, it creates a negative experience and hurts your chances of a sale.
Next is a 3D Virtual Reality Tour I call The Ultimate Always Open House! My 3D Virtual Reality Showcase is an online experience for homebuyers to move through a property and see it from any angle. The distinct Dollhouse view gives homebuyers a completely unique sense of the propertys layout and space. Your home comes to life with immersive experiences that are more than the average virtual tour that lacks the feel and emotional connection that Buyers crave. Statistically, because of this, Buyers are 95% more likely to view the home! The tech-savvy Buyer can even use Virtual Reality goggles to truly step into your home and get a feel for the space.  This is not only effective, but fun!
Now, since a public open house would be socially irresponsible and, in some cases, simply not allowed, I would conduct a Virtual Open House. Using live video, I can walk through a home and talk about the features. The coolest part of this is that I can interact with viewers and take live requests to show a specific part of the home the viewer wants, like opening the pantry or front hall closet to see how big it is. I can tell them how old the furnace and roof are, or talk about the neighbourhood.
Now, be aware that many Realtors use a listing as a way to promote themselves and use every opportunity to put their brand out there even if it means a buyer agent may not use the material because the listing agents name and face are all over it. But, because I always put the client first, I make a copy of all marketing without my branding for buying agents so they are more likely to share it with their clients. I also send Realtors a full feature sheet with as much info on the home and area so they can give their client the whole story, whether they know the area or not. It has an added benefit of making the other Realtor look good in the eyes of their client that they are so knowledgeable, further ensuring they will share the info with the client and bettering your chances of the buyer pursuing the home.
Step #3 is the most important step and that is to protect you and your family. Eventually, a buyer may need to see the home in person. If buyers do view in the home in person, you will need to minimize the risk to you and your environment. First, we could have disposable gloves and hand sanitizer at the front door, with specific instruction to use them. Even with that precaution, it would be advisable to disinfect any surfaces that may have been touched. Of course, I would qualify any buyers wanting to view the home in person before allowing the showing, to ensure they are no tire kickers and are seriously considering an offer on the home after seeing all the virtual tours and video. It is also possible to negotiate an acceptable offer conditional upon the viewing. Only serious buyers would go through that process.
Step #4 is to cooperate and negotiate. A Realtor must do everything they can to make it easier for the buyer and their Realtor to move forward and satisfy their needs so they are comfortable to buy the home. Keep in mind, there are many people who have to come together to close a deal. Appraisers, lawyers, lenders all have to be working to make it happen. Although it tends to be the buyers side that has these hurdles, all parties have to work together to make it happen. As a Certified Negotiation Expert, I have the skills to ensure the best for my client by managing emotions and expectations to ensure a smooth transaction in any environment.

Step # 5 is maintaining connection. Social distancing doesn't have to mean being cut off from the world. Virtual Meetings are not new, but more important than ever. I can easily and thoroughly council you and go through paperwork face to face via video chats so you are comfortable with every part of the process. I have done many deals with clients who could not be in person that have closed smoothly and given the client peace of mind from start to finish. So contact me anytime if you have any questions. Im always here to help. 

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