How COVID Has Changed the Selling Process

03/19/21  |  Kalena Masching

There’s no question that COVID has affected almost every aspect of our lives — including real estate.

How to Navigate the Changes!

In normal circumstances, selling a house means interacting with quite a few individuals. These interactions include everything from shaking hands to in-person house tours to roundtable closings. There’s no question that COVID has affected almost every aspect of our lives — including real estate. Selling or buying a home can be a stressful process, especially during this unprecedented time.
But don’t worry, that’s where I come in. I am here to help make this process as smooth — and as safe — as possible. I will walk you through some of the ways that COVID has changed the selling process and what I have been doing as a response. For example, prior to Covid appointments weren't required so multiple buyers could tour the property at the same time (think open houses) and take as long as they wanted inside the house. During COVID, all properties require an appointment and most appointments are 30 minutes long. This means that there are often people waiting right after your appointment. It can also be hard to get an appointment. Recently, I had a client decide they wanted to see a house on Friday and then asked if we could see it Saturday. There were no appointments left for Saturday and the only appointment available was on Sunday at 8:00 am or 8:30 pm. Because of this, and because we have no in-person broker's tour, I'm seeing a lot of homes list earlier in the week than they may previously have listed, to allow people more chances to see the property aside from just weekend appointments. For sellers, doing so would help maximize the buyer traffic into the home. For buyers, planning is the key to touring your future home. 

1. Comprehensive Marketing Plan 

Given all the new rules, it's paramount that a seller and their agent come together to make a comprehensive marketing plan. If you’re a first-time buyer or seller, let me explain. A real estate marketing plan comprises a comprehensive document that defines your marketing strategy, budget, target audience, and forecasts for the coming year. This helps us build a concrete plan of action.
During COVID, this step is especially important! Everyone wants to stay safe during this uncertain time, and buyers are trying to find out as much information about the house as they can before they venture out in person. A marketing plan will help give clients this highly sought-after information.

2. 3D Walkthrough

If you have worked with me in the past, you know how passionate I am about putting my clients’ wants and needs first. I’m all about finding ways to better accommodate our clients and have continued to seek out ways to accommodate our clients throughout the pandemic.  For all of my listings, I make sure we have a 3D walkthrough scan of the house posted online.
3D virtual tours have increased in popularity recently, especially during COVID. They offer clients an immersive experience and help the potential buyer feel almost as if they are touring the residence in person. Plus, if you’ve never participated in a 3D walkthrough, let me tell you: it is fun! Virtual tours especially come in handy with out-of-town or out-of-state buyers who are unable to simply stop by and visit the property themselves.

3. Taking Good Photos

In addition to offering my clients virtual tours, I’ve also expanded my listings to include a floor plan, extensive photography, and drone shots. All of these components allow the buyer to get a feel for the house without leaving the comfort of their own home.
I’ve found that — especially during COVID — one of the most important things you can do when you put your house on the market is to take high-quality pictures. According to the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers indicated that photos are the number one feature they use when searching for a home online. No grainy or blurry photos for us! I want to guarantee that my potential clients have the best possible experience, whether that’s in person or online.
A look through my listings will reveal crisp, high-quality photos, all taken by professional photographers. The photos posted also focus on highlighting some of the most impressive features of the home. This might include beautiful hardwood floors, a stunning view, or outdoor dining spaces. High-quality photo is always a must, I want to make sure that I am showcasing everything the home has to offer from every angle! Pairing high-quality photography with a 3D scan for whole-house immersion is what is really putting sellers over the top.

4. Property Entry Advisory and Declaration Form 

Taking safety cautions is one of my top priorities right now, which is where a property entry advisory and declaration (PEAD) form comes into play. Before entering a home, buyers need to sign a property form that states they haven’t been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 and confirms that they are not showing any symptoms. The PEAD form is a legal requirement and as a listing agent, I need to make sure that everyone who has scheduled an appointment has sent me a completed form and I need to have my sellers sign it also. Safety is our number 1 priority and it's not a passive activity on my part.

5. Interest Rates 

Interest rates are low right now and are currently driving the boom in the market. We’ve seen the return of multiple offers on most properties, especially along the peninsula. We're a little over a year into the pandemic, and with work-from-home protocols, people are more aware than ever of the inadequacies of their current homes. We still have low inventory, but with the vaccine rollout, declining COVID rates, and low-interest rates, buyers are pouring into the market, trying to get themselves some more space. Not just the local market but the national market. With post-pandemic work being more fluid, more people have remote work options and this is driving the markets in most major cities. Despite low inventory and a pandemic, not all is lost in the real estate world. Far from it! Buyers are still out there and still looking for homes, and if that’s you, then I’m here to help assist you through this process.

6. Making Myself Easy to Contact

COVID has called for limited in-person contact, which can make us all feel a bit disconnected. That’s why I’ve made it a priority for my clients to be able to contact me easily. Whether it’s by phone, email, or through my website, you’ve got a variety of ways to get a hold of me. Here are some easy ways for us to connect!

7. Neighborhood Guides

I serve a wide range of neighborhoods across the Bay area. This includes Redwood City, San Carlos, Menlo Park, Belmont, and Palo Alto. All of these neighborhoods have distinct, appealing qualities, but they all make a wonderful place to call home. Since COVID has narrowed down the ability to travel, my neighborhood guides come in handy.
On my website, I have thorough guides for all of the neighborhoods I serve. Getting to know the neighborhoods is an important part of familiarizing yourself with the potential location of your next home. Are there parks and green spaces? Are there quality schools nearby? How about coffee shops? (If you know me, you know just how much I love coffee!) The guides I have created give an overview of each community, the people and lifestyle, dining, shopping, entertainment, things to do, and schools.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of great information packed into these guides, and they will allow you to familiarize yourself with what the neighborhood has to offer. The neighborhood guides have become even more valuable during 2021. You can explore a neighborhood virtually from the comfort and safety of your home! Whether you’re a working professional hoping to be close to the excitement or a family with young children wanting a slower pace of life, I’m here to help show you everything these neighborhoods have to offer.

8. Find a Great Realtor 

A great realtor can make or break the selling or buying process, and that’s where I come in. Navigating the housing market can definitely be hard, especially if it’s your first time or you are attempting this process on your own. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a good real estate agent to guide you through this process.
With all the uncertainties caused by COVID, this final step is more important than ever before! A qualified realtor will have in-depth knowledge of the market and will use their knowledge and expertise of the local market to help you meet your objectives. They will also have access to home listings and sales data and be familiar with market trends over long periods of time.
A qualified real estate agent also works with other real estate professionals you might need to call upon during the buying process. This list could include mortgage consultants, home inspectors, title companies, and more. If complications arise during the home buying process, your agent can easily recommend the best professional help for your specific situation.
That’s where I come in. As someone who was born and raised in the Bay Area, it’s safe to say I know this area like the back of my hand. I want to make sure that you have the best possible experience, whether you’re house hunting or listing your home. No matter what process you are in, I am here to help you through this exciting change in your life. I have one ultimate goal, and that’s to get you into the best home possible while showing you everything the town has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

Work With Kalena

Kalena utilizes the latest technology and market research to make your home buying experience smoother than you could imagine. Most importantly, she listens to what you need and wants in your new home and new neighborhood, making sure that you get the perfect fit.

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