How do you sell a house while social distancing?

On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a “Stay at home” order. How do you show and sell your house when your buyers are forced to stay at home? How do you show and sell your house when you want the buyers to stay at home unless absolutely necessary? If these are questions on your mind, and you are about to sell your home, read on. You will find the answers here.

The Governor’s Order

It’s not just a rumor. The details are available on the state website. Under this new government-issued mandate citizens are ordered to “heed the current State public health directives,” which read:

“To protect public health . . . stay home . . .”

(Governor Newsom’s full order.)

How do you sell a home when you cannot get buyers in the door?

If you already have your house listed for sale. Stop reading. Talk to your agent, because your exclusive contract prohibits anyone from helping you but your agent.

…but, if you want to know how a house should be sold in the time of social distancing, read on!

The magic of “subject to” listings.

A little known fact…

Most home seller’s don’t know: You can sell your house without letting anyone inside. Forget open houses. Make daily tours a thing of the past. Avoid inviting buyer after buyer on an endless fishing expedition. Sell your home “subject to,” and you can get into a contract without a single person entering your home!

What is a “subject to” listing?

“Subject to” is often misused in the Real Estate industry. Today, I actually want to use it for the very limited usage that most real estate agents intend when they say “The house is listed ‘subject to.'”

“Subject to” listings are most common when selling investment properties. Because the home owner (an investor) does not want buyers to harass the current resident (the tenant), they market the house “subject to interior inspections” (or just “subject to”).

This means that a buyer has to put an offer on the house after only looking at the neighborhood and the outside of the house. It also means that your buyers are not meeting the occupants, and the house only admits 1 or 2 buyers rather than 150 buyers.

If you could sell your home and only allow 2 buyers inside to see it, wouldn’t that be better in today’s COVID-19 market?

Why do buyer’s hate “subject to” listings?

Buyer’s hate “subject to” listings. First, I will tell you why they hate them, and then I will tell you how you can reduce their pain and make your home shine.

Buyer’s hate “subject to” listings, because they are offering $250,000 or more for a house they have never seen. That’s scary!

Most “subject to” listings don’t have pictures of the inside. The tenants usually don’t want pictures of their personal belongings on the internet. Also, the owners often don’t want to show the mess that the tenants create.

Buyer’s feel that they can only see one house at a time. When a buyer submits an offer on a house, they have to also put money into escrow. Often the “earnest money deposit” is $2,000 or $3,000. If the buyer likes three houses, they cannot simply offer on three houses and come up with $9,000 to put into three different escrows. This slows down the buying process so the buyer has to consider one house at a time.

Those are the two big reasons that buyer’s hate “subject to” listings, but I promised you solutions, and if you keep reading, I will deliver them to you.

Fixing Problem #1 – Take lots of pictures

To remove that fear that buyers have, I hire a professional photographer for my home sellers (at my own expense, it costs you nothing). My professional photographer takes lots of pictures using state of the art expensive cameras and flying drones, because he wants the best pictures possible.

Buyer’s usually hate subject-to listings because they cannot see the inside, but on your listing, we are going to show it to them. So, now we are saying to them, “You can’t come inside, but you can at least see my house in pictures before you put an offer. Come inside only after I have accepted your offer.”

By taking detailed pictures, you remove the fear of the unknown, and then only buyer’s who already approve of the pictures will submit offers. This helps reduce the number of people who will potentially come into your home, and if the first offer is the one that closes, you have only allowed one buyer into your home. You cannot get any more COVID-19 safe than that!

Fixing Problem #2 – Be EMD friendly

The second reason buyers hate subject-to listings is that they cannot afford the earnest money deposits to see more than one house at a time. Your house is better than others, and you know that if they see your house, they will buy it. So, how do you encourage buyers to consider your house first? Be earnest money deposit friendly.

What does this mean? This means that you give your buyers two options. They can deposit the full $3,000 into escrow and get the full $3,000 back if they decide not to buy your house. But, if they want, they can deposit only $100 into escrow and deposit the rest after they see the inside of your house. (The catch is, that if they choose option 2, the $100 is non-refundable.)

For the buyer who wants to see more than one house, this makes entering contract easier. It also makes the process easier for you too, because you get to keep $100 for every buyer who causes you to take your home off the market and then decides not to buy. It’s win-win.

Some buyers will choose to deposit the full $3,000, but that’s okay. That means they are serious about your house.

The purpose of being EMD friendly is to give buyers the flexibility that they need to make an offer on your house and enter into a contract before they see the inside.

By doing this, we can honor the governor’s call for social distancing and still sell your home.

How do we take it to the next level and make your home stand out?

I’ve already given you the two tips that make selling a house easy in a world of social distancing. But how do you make your house shine among all the others?

The secret to taking your home listing to the next level is providing a 3D tour in addition to the professional photographs.

We have all seen how a professional photographer can make an ugly house beautiful. Buyer’s who have been on the market for more than a week are wise to the fact that you cannot trust pictures. But a 3D tour is the most accurate and best way to show a house as it truly is.

The secret to staying ahead of the pack is to show the blemishes in a way that the buyer says “I trust this person.” When we remove fear of the unknown, we make it easier for the buyer to say, “I want that house.”

Few agents in Bakersfield use 3D tours. I use them on every listing, because I know the value they add. But now that 3D tours are the only way to be completely COVID-19 safe, they are a critical feature of your home listing.

If you want to list your home for sale and be COVID-19 safe, then call me. We will meet by phone, skype or facetime, and I will help you sell your home while staying safe.

Here is what you will get…

First, you get my promise that we will handle as much of your transaction remotely as possible. Phone, skype, and facetime will be a safe way to communicate.

Second, when you list with me, I will hire a professional photographer. We will take pictures and build a 3D tour for your home. This will give you an edge in the current market, because buyer’s can walk your home from their couch at a safe distance miles away.

Third, you get my 45 day guarantee. That’s right. If I cannot get you your first buyer in 45 days or less, then I walk away, tear down my signs, and you pay nothing for all the marketing that I put into selling your house.

If you’d like to try me out for 45-days, then call me.