Selling your house in the midst of COVID-19

Selling your house in the midst of COVID-19

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus has turned our world upside down and we are trying to maintain normality in the face of this crisis. Although we are experiencing the most difficult of times it is absolutely necessary to remain positive about the future. There are always things to be grateful for and there are still many opportunities out there if you know where to look. You don’t have to be an expert to know that all aspects of the property market has been heavily affected by the virus. That does not mean that selling your house in the midst of COVID-19 is not possible – there are just a few more obstacles than before.

How has the property market been affected?

The truth is that we are all finding our way in these turbulent times and there are so many unknowns. Only time will tell what the long-term effects of this uncertainty will mean for the property market.

As a result of people having to stay home and avoid venturing out, many technological solutions have emerged that have made it possible to flourish despite the stumbling blocks on our path. Such solutions will have benefits far beyond our current circumstances. One such solution has become quite useful for researching properties; virtual viewings are a fantastic way to find out more about a home. Obviously physically seeing the property will always take preference over virtual viewings as purchasing such a large asset is a huge decision requiring supporting evidence. However, the more this technology is used the more people will become comfortable with using it to assist in the decision-making process.

No one can completely predict what is going to happen in the coming months and years, but it is always possible to find good in the bad. In the absence of more evidence we can only take our lead from other world disasters that had financial implications for global economies. It is clear that the upturn expected at the beginning of 2020 has been reversed and is not likely to improve in the next year or longer. Human beings can however be surprisingly resilient in times such as these and will quickly adapt to the current conditions, hopefully thriving in spite of adversity.

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What can you do to make your home an attractive sale?

Why not take the extra time you have at the moment to spruce up your home? Get it show house ready for when people will be able to view it. If you have been procrastinating on doing some repairs now is a great time to make the improvements you haven’t had a chance to do. A good first impression will go a long way towards persuading potential buyers to purchase your home. Here are just a few things you can do:

  • Clean, clean and clean some more. Dirty or untidy homes will always influence the perceived value of your property.
  • Do a spring clean of your belongings. Throw out the things you don’t need that just clutter up your home.
  • Experiment a little with the layout of your furniture. It is surprising how just moving your furniture around can completely change your home.
  • Small accessories that you usually may disregard can be used to brighten up and beautify your home. A few candles or a pretty vase will go a long way.
  • Now is the perfect opportunity test your interior decorating skills, let your imagination run wild and upgrade your décor. Before getting carried away, be mindful of colour combinations and focus on the overall space rather than individual aspects of a room.
  • Some fresh air will do you the world of good so put some effort into your garden. Getting a little sunshine and exercise will keep you healthy. It is also a perfect activity to occupy your family and do something together.

It is never too late for improvements to your property even if your home is already on the market. Remember to take new photos of any alterations you make so that your property practitioner can update your listing. Not everyone has been blessed with creativity so there is nothing wrong with consulting an expert if you are having trouble conceptualising what can be done in your home. The wonderful thing about the technology available is that experts don’t even need to inspect your home. Sending photos followed up with a Skype of FaceTime call will get the job done. There are also many online resources for decorating so do your own research if a professional is not in your budget.

If selling your home is not urgent it would be beneficial to wait and see how the market behaves. Concerned you won’t know what indicators to look for? Contact your local property practitioner to keep you up to date on any developments.

What to expect post lockdown

As mentioned before no one, including the experts, can offer solid predictions of how the property market will look on the other side of the lockdow, but there are a few things that are reasonably certain. Cities have been the hardest hit with many people confined to small apartments and homes. The ability to work from home now, and in the future, could lead to more city dwellers moving to less densely populated towns and areas. Lockdown is a lot more pleasant in a spacious home with a garden. Surviving this pandemic will encourage people to reevaluate their lives and consider their living circumstances. The allure of more space may persuade many to make drastic changes as their priorities change.

Lifestyle changes are not the only factor to consider in anticipating what will happen to the property market post lockdown. There is a strong possibility that property prices may actually fall temporarily before the property market stabilises, following which there will likely be a sharp rise in prices, far beyond the pre-pandemic levels.

Social distancing may be here to stay — at least for the next several months — so the more proactive you and your agent can be, the better and less stress you will experience. If you decide to sell your home, devise a plan with your for agent on how you’ll proceed in this new normal using some or all of the points we’ve discussed above. The worst you can do is sit back and wait for something to happen.

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Adri Pretorius

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