How to Buy and Sell Real Estate During COVID-19
Every real estate investor understands that there is never a perfect time to buy and sell real estate. The economy, housing market, or real estate trends create an unstable ebb and flow of challenges that are often predictable and expected. However, COVID-19 presents an entirely new dilemma for real estate investors on various levels.
In addition to the uncertainty that plagues the market, investors now must consider safety and health issues as they meet with sellers and professionals in the industry. Investors must also find new ways of viewing and showing properties. Still, it is possible to succeed as an investor despite the challenges associated with the pandemic. Let’s look at how you can buy and sell real estate during COVID-19.
Remember Social Distancing Guidelines
The most important issue right now is safety and health. So, if you still plan to meet with sellers or other people, make sure you comply with CDC guidelines, including
- No more than ten people in the home at a time
- A required six feet of distance between guests
- Use of hand sanitizer upon entering the home
- The use of protective equipment, such as booties, gloves, or masks
It may be wise to take even more precautions, like asking visitors if they currently feel sick and if they’ve traveled out of state recently. Just make sure you ask these questions of all potential buyers to comply with fair housing. Once the showing is complete, always clean all surfaces of the home. Sanitize the surfaces of the house, especially doorknobs, handles, and kitchen surfaces after every showing for extra measure.
Try Virtual Tours
More sellers today are temporarily suspending on-site open houses and instead opting for virtual open houses. Virtual 3D real estate tours are not new, but they’re gaining a lot of traction now that COVID-19 has limited real estate professionals’ ability to show and buy properties. If you’re a real estate investor who hasn’t started to incorporate technology into your business model, now’s the time to learn.
Virtual tours provide benefits that on-site tours do not. For example, you save time and travel expenses by working from your home or office. Technology allows you or a seller to take a view of the house in real-time, using high-definition video equipment. Best of all, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on professional equipment. You can use standard cameras, camcorders, or even your smartphone to view or capture great footage.
Ben Sensitive to Sellers’ Needs
Regardless of your personal feelings of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are more likely to land the deal if you show sensitivity toward sellers’ feelings and needs. Demonstrating that you care about their health and well-being will show that you are sincere and real instead of driven to make the deal. There are several ways that you can demonstrate your concern.
- Adhere to CDC guidelines
- Offer masks or gloves
- Clean properties before and after showings
- Offer to look at properties without the seller present
- Keep your distance
- Be courteous to those who have opposing views
Take Advantage of Changing Trends
COVID-19 has been largely responsible for shifts in the real estate market and the economy at large. As a real estate investor, change is something that you should already be accustomed to. Instead of worrying or complaining about the trends, find ways to penetrate the market and take advantage of the changes. You may need to be flexible and get out of your comfort zone, which often means adopting new strategies.
Also, identify the selection criteria that fit your investment and select a market. If you are looking for rental properties, you might look for landlord-friendly states, low unemployment, business diversification, etc. Seek out trends in these sectors and develop a strategy for gaining leverage in the market.
Review Your Finances, Budget, and Spending Habits
While you should be surging forward despite the coronavirus, you may want to scale back on your budget and spending – or at least re-allocate and prioritize where your money goes. After all, there is no certainty of what the future will bring. Schedule a meeting with your accountant and undergo a comprehensive review of your portfolio.
Decide where you need to spend money right now and where you need to pull back. For instance, you may want to get more aggressive with your marketing. However, certain digital or traditional marketing tools may be more cost-effective than others. When the economy is tough, and the real estate market is shaky, you need to strengthen your financial foundation.
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