So you’re thinking about selling your home but wonder how to do it safely during a pandemic. Well, first of all, I’m here to tell you the market is very much in your favor. The inventory of homes all across the nation is extremely low and in Arizona, it is critically low. Let me put it to you this way, the latest numbers I received from the Arizonal Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS), shows our current inventory as under 1.5 months which means if no new homes come on the market, it will take less than 1.5 months until we run out of inventory. That’s not a long time. Of course there are new homes being built everyday but we are no where near new construction levels that we need to fill the gap. What I’m saying is, we need more listings, like yesterday!
If you have any concerns about listing your home, let me explain what I do to help sellers do it safely. Other listing agents may do things differently, I can only share my business practices. Whether you are an absentee homeowner, landlord or owner-occupant, I like to start with a virtual meet-and-greet consultation. We can do this by either Zoom or Facetime. Regardless of what method, I will conduct the meeting as I would a normal listing presentation.
Whatever is most comfortable for you. And if that means, meeting in-person, I can do that too. I assure you that I follow all CDC safety guidelines. I will wear a mask, bring hand sanitizer, conduct proper handwashing whenever possible and keep a safe social distance. I request that you kindly return the favor so that I can keep my family safe.
Most real estate documents can be reviewed online and electronically signed using a secure encrypted server and many sellers are more comfortable with that option in this new environment. These include all of the necessary listing forms and brokerage required paperwork. Should you decide to list with me, I will share my Seller Guide that includes tips on what to expect during the entire selling process. Once your home is ready, I will schedule a professional photographer to take photos of the interior and exterior of the home. I will show up as well to assist the photographer to ensure the home is looking its best. You may wish to order a 3D virtual tour that will allow buyers a more in-depth virtual walkthrough of the home for an additional fee. It gives buyers an option to view the home without having to step foot inside. More serious buyers will then schedule an in-person showing. This is a convenient option for sellers during this pandemic as it minimizes traffic with buyers and their agents.
Showings can be handled by requesting proof of funds or prequalification from any buyers prior to any appointments. If the home is occupied, we can require that only the buyers named on the loan can visit the property, that they use masks and gloves and that the buyers agents are the only ones who are opening doors and cabinets for their clients to limit touching of surfaces. I can leave hand sanitizer bottles on the property, as well as, disposable masks and booties for visitors. All buyers agents will be required to have their clients complete a brief questionnaire regarding Covid-19 exposure before any showings.
Once you accept an offer on your home, the buyer soonafter deposits their earnest money and opens escrow at the title company and your home sale transaction begins. In Arizona, by default, the buyer is alloted 10 days to conduct due diligence inspections. You must allow the buyer to do these inspections, even during a pandemic, but most often every effort is made to do these in the least invasive manner as possible. Buyers agents will work with the seller’s schedule. You are strongly encouraged to be away from home during these appointment times which last only a few hours. After the inspection period, the appraisal is ordered. You are also not expected to be present for this. Depending on the size of your home, it may take an hour to a few hours. Occasionally, drive-by appraisals are allowed by the lender. It is hard to say what will occur in your situation. It depends on the buyer and their loan and terms.
This is usually non-eventful if the sale price is in line with the comparables and current market conditions. At that point, if the appraisal comes in at value, the deal continues forward to the final closing phase. You should be well on your way through the packing process of your home. The last stage involves setting the appointment for the buyer and seller signing of closing documents.
Title companies have made the signing process very seamless. Many have offered mobile notaries to come to clients homes but office appointments are still available with extra safety measures in place. All of this will be discussed and arranged well ahead of the closing date.
This is a general overview of how I handle the selling process in Arizona from start to finish during a pandemic. I hope this puts your concerns more at ease. If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, feel free to contact me directly at (623) 312-8873.