How to Sell a Home During Social Distancing
Are you considering selling a real estate property during these times of physical and social distancing? Don’t let social distancing put a stop to your desire to sell homes and real estate. With Zoom and other video conferencing apps for meetings, digital property presentations, and e-signature software, virtually every step of the home sales process can be achieved online or with physical distancing. So with a bit of preparation, you can complete each step of the real estate sales process safely and effectively.
Top tips on how to sell a home during social distancing:
1. Host initial consultation(s) between agent and seller online
2. Stage the home yourself to avoid having a home stager enter your home
3. Prepare a digital marketing package including floor plans, virtual photos, virtual 360 views and more
4. Host select in-person showings following local health and safety guidelines
5. Close the deal with an electronic contract
1. Initial listing consultation
Initial meetings between real estate agents and sellers can easily be held online. Use Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, Whereby, or other similar video conferencing software to get to know each other and find the best fit. As a seller, you could ask potential real estate agents about their experience with remote sales – certain agents may already have experience selling second homes or investment properties to remote buyers. This would have provided them with useful experience for the current social distancing situation.
To collaborate on the selling price range, the seller can give a tour of the property using video conferencing software on their portable device. With this visualization and the agent’s knowledge of the neighborhood and market, you can limit the need for in-person meetings for this step.
2. Home staging consultation
It’s important to prepare, or stage, a property so that it looks its best for photos, videos, a 3D Tour, and eventually the in-person showing. At this step, we recommend the seller do the bulk of the work themselves, before involving the real estate agent and home stager. Start with a good clean-up of the house, then read up (and follow!) tips you find online on how to prepare your home for real estate photography.
Once this is completed, set up a video conference call with the real estate agent and home stager. Use a phone or portable device, connect online, and then take a longer tour through each room, panning the device to show the features. During the session, the real estate agent or home staging consultant can note suggested updates in the chat, or a seller can even record the session to capture the feedback.
Depending on your location and country, you may be able to do this step in-person, wearing masks, and using your area’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols for physical distancing.
3. Digital marketing
With social distancing, it is more important than ever for your business to have a good online presentation of the real estate property for sale. It’s like ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) has finally reached the real estate industry with full force! Take advantage of the increased focus of online research that has happened as a result of physical distancing. As consumers are spending more time online, the digital presentation of the real estate property has never been more important.
Here are some exciting options that will make your property stand out. You can attract not only local buyers but even buyers from other states or countries!
3D virtual tours
With this cool and growing technology, prospective buyers can “walk through” from room to room inside a virtual version of your property. Best of all, they are doing it on a computer or tablet, from the comfort and safety of their own home, and on their own schedule.
Some virtual tours are created based on a digital 3D model created from the floor plan, so no physical visit from a photographer is required. These tours are entirely virtual, and are easy and affordable to create. They provide an engaging, interactive experience for the potential buyer. Live 3D from RoomSketcher is one such solution, where the potential buyer can even change out the furniture in the floor plan and then instantly see the Live 3D virtual tour being updated.
Other virtual tours require a trained photographer to enter the house and actually film the virtual tour. Matterport is a popular technology, as are Cupix, VPiX and many more. If you go with any of these options, make sure to plan ahead with the photographer and observe the local health and safety guidelines for physical distancing. You can also create a film using your iPhone and a virtual tour software, and with a bit of practice these can turn out ok. Make sure you set your phone to high-quality imaging to get the best result.
Learn More – Matterport
If you want to learn more about how you can use RoomSketcher with Matterport, check out this blog!
If you prefer to showcase just a few rooms, a 360 view may be the best option for you. These allow potential buyers to stand and turn completely around inside a room. Buyers can look left and right, up and down, and zoom in or out.
Again, you can have a photographer create these for you, but then the photographer would have to pay a physical visit to the real estate property. An affordable (and safe!) alternative, is to create 360 Views using digital floor plan software.
Here’s a digital 360 View created using RoomSketcher:
Floor plans are perhaps the most essential part of the online presentation, particularly in these times of physical distancing. You want to provide both 2D and 3D Floor Plans of all floors of the home. Our top recommendation is to have 2D Floor Plans that show fixed installations, select measurements like room sizes and total area, as well as room names. This is your “objective” presentation of the property.
Then have 3D Floor Plans complete with furniture, colors and textures, to show potential buyers how the home can be furnished and help them understand the size and layout of your home.
Floor plans can easily be created by the home seller, so there is no need to have a physical visit from a contractor. If you have time, you can draw floor plans yourself using floor plan software. Alternatively, floor plans can be ordered through an online provider, based on a simple hand-drawn sketch.
Virtual 3D Photography
Virtual 3D Photography is rapidly becoming an important alternative to “real” photography. Current distancing rules mean that in some areas photographers are not available to make house calls. Expensive CGI often requires a trained professional and we are seeing the emergence of more affordable and easy-to-use software apps. These often require little training to get a great result. The additional benefit of virtual 3D photos is that you can present different options and in essence virtually style your home as an added presentation of the property.
Learn More – 3D Photo
If you want to learn more about 3D Photography, check out: 5 Tips for Great 3D Interior Design Photos
4. Safe in-person showings
Busy open houses are not recommended in these days of social distancing. Instead, host scheduled in-person showings that are limited to select pre-qualified buyers and follow Covid-19 health and safety protocols. Here are some safety tips that you may want to share with everyone involved in the in-person showing:
- Be clear that if anyone (in either the buyer, seller, or real estate agent’s household) has a fever or symptoms of respiratory infection the showing should be rescheduled
- Prospective buyers should come alone or with the minimum of the family
- Request that everyone bring a face mask and have a few extra disposable ones ready
- Everyone should arrive on time so that one tour doesn’t overlap with another
- Avoid hand-greeting. Ideally, keep hand sanitizer at the entrance or encourage everyone to wash or disinfect hands when they arrive
- Ask visitors not to touch anything on the property. Leave interior doors open and lights on
- Keep at least a 6 ft (2 m) distance between non-family members during the showing
- Disinfect surfaces after each visit, including doorknobs, light switches, countertops, and anything else the buyer might have touched
Another option is to go all out and all digital for your showings. Some real estate agents, particularly in hard-hit countries, are hosting open houses over a digital platform like Facebook Live or an internet portal.
- The viewings are scheduled and buyers just click a link to watch
- Viewers can typically ask questions in a chat that the real estate agent can answer on camera
- The real estate agent walks around the property and presents each room
If you are considering going to this option, it’s important to note that these viewings should ideally be filmed with a professional camera to get a good view of the agent and the room, so no selfie-filming if you go for this approach.
Note that many buyers will want to physically view the property before they sign the deal. Buying a home is usually the biggest investment of a lifetime. But a digital viewing can narrow down the list of potential buyers so that you limit the number of people that enter your home.
5. Electronic closings
Depending on your country, sellers may be able to sign any necessary documents electronically. The real estate agent can use an electronic signature system like DocuSign, HelloSign, or similar, and the seller can sign from the safety of their own home. The real estate agent can then work with the appropriate parties to complete the sale and the proceeds can be wired directly to the seller’s bank account.
For the physical home transfer, make sure the home is emptied of all personal belongings and have a certified cleaner do the final house clean. Clean the keys and leave them on a table, and meet with your buyer and real estate agent. Make sure to keep a safe physical distance and allow the buyer time to ask any questions they might have. Make yourself available for questions by phone and email as well, so it’s easy for them to contact you. Then, make sure to get an approval signature for the quality of the cleaning and then congratulate yourself and your agent on a home sales transaction made whilst respecting social distancing. Well done!
Ready to Get Started?
Get started creating your digital marketing presentation. RoomSketcher is an online floor plan software that lets you create your floor plans, virtual 3D Photos, 360 Views and virtual 3D tours. Start by creating a free account, then upgrade to get all our professional features. If you need any help along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly customer services team.