How to sell a home during Covid-19 quarantine - move out so that it can be shownMost of the world seems to be in lock down during this novel coronavirus pandemic.  Despite that, some people do need to buy, sell, or move now or within the next few months. So how to sell a home during Covid 19 and the quarantine? Some cannot wait until this is over to move!

In Silicon Valley, right now it is virtually impossible to sell a home during Covid-19 isolation orders. There’s one exception. (See also Coronavirus impact on real estate sales.)

Sell a home during Covid-19: move out!

The main thing is this: to sell a home during Covid-19 quarantine rules, you must move out of your house, condo, or townhouse.

I don’t mean going to a hotel for a few days while leaving all of your furniture and personal effects in the property. No. You and your personal property must leave fully.

If you cannot move out, you may want to wait. Otherwise, most buyers will either pass or – if they write an offer on your home – will write a blind offer, “subject to inspection”. That means they’ll have a contingency to see your home and approve it.

Accept an offer like that at your own risk. It is VERY easy for a buyer to back out of a contract with such a big, open ended contingency. The buyer has very little risk, but the seller risks having the home tied up only to have it fall through, and then possibly or likely selling for less later.

When exactly do you need to move?

You’ll have to be gone before home buyers come to check out your property. You may be able to get home inspectors there for the normal pre-sale inspections (home, pest, roof, and others – depending). Not every provider may be willing to be there if you are still living in the home. Under normal circumstances, to minimize disruption, we’d have all of the inspectors there at once. Today, though, we are limiting contact, and may have to space those appointments out.  The photographer also may be willing to come when you are living at the house. The odds are stronger that they’ll come if you are gone, though.

Many changes if you sell a home during Covid-19 in Santa Clara County

Many things will be different from the usual situation.

  • no open houses
  • no physical broker tour (virtual only)
  • no physical staging
  • no paper fliers
  • no business cards

There will be more emphasis on distance, on not touching anything. Listing agents may be there before or after to open everything up and possibly to disinfect doorknobs after showings. (You can check the Santa Clara County Health Department’s website to see the current status of cases and deaths from Covid-19 to know it’s serious.)

This may well last until there’s a vaccine, so the “new normal” may take some getting used to.

As always, cash sales with a fast close of escrow and few or no contingencies will be prized, especially when sellers have moved out for the sale.