Homes are selling fast during Covid-19
Many home buyers are getting prequalified to purchase a home as the Covid-19 lockdown is slowly being lifted. The huge amount of buyers combined with the fast sale of homes is why you are asking “should I sell my home during Covid-19?
I have been closely following daily updates regarding the Southern California Real Estate Market. There had been a major slowing in housing sales in April. Many sales had been cancelled as a result of the Pandemic. May and June show an increasing number of home sales as businesses began to slowly reopen.
Is it safe enough to sell my home during Covid-19?
As a Realtor I am classified as an “essential worker.” I must follow very strict guidelines from LA County, CDC and the California Association of Realtors. I am permitted to show a home only after a buyer is both prequalified and has shown “strong interest” in that home based on a detailed virtual tour. The buyer has already been educated about the home and its many features. Very strict LA County guidelines are in place for Realtors to follow to assure the safety of the homeowner, buyer and Realtors. Prior to entering a home for a showing the buyers and real estate agents wear masks, gloves, use hand sanitizer. There is also a “no touch” policy while inside the home.
Visitors must sign that they agree to follow CDC Guidelines
Every Realtor and buyer is required to sign a written agreement called a “Pandemic Visitor Agreement.” The Realtors and buyers in signing this agreement are pledging that they are not ill and will follow the strictest of CDC guidelines. The Realtor also agrees upon signing that he or she will use disinfectant wipes on anything that is touched and wipe down the doorknobs, key and lock box after each visit. This is done for the protection of the homeowners as well as any future Realtors and buyers who may visit the home at a later time. A new agreement must be signed for each home address prior to entering any home regardless of whether vacant or occupied. To see the most recent Corona Virus guideline updates from the California Association of Realtors visit
Record number of home buyers are getting pre-approved
Open Houses with large gatherings are still strictly prohibited because of social distancing guidelines. However, few homes actually sell because of an open house. Most serious buyers are prequalified for their loan and then view homes of interest with their chosen Realtor. I have worked as a full time Realtor for over 15 years but can count on one hand how many times I have sold a home at an open house. Anyone considering selling their home should strongly think about listing it now. There are record numbers of buyers getting pre-approved to buy a home because of the exceptionally low interest rates for home loans. Many of these buyers are looking to move to suburban areas of Northern Los Angeles such as Saugus, Valencia, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Canyon Country and Castaic. There is a very limited inventory of homes currently listed in our area and most of those listed are selling very quickly with multiple offers.
Suburban areas have become more desirable places to live
People are beginning to return to work and many of them are being allowed to work from home by computer or telecommuting. Social distancing adjustments are still being implemented as companies reopen and work to follow the CDC guidelines. As Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted many companies are beginning to realize the practicality of employees working from home.
I have received calls from buyers who are looking to leave their more urban areas close to their employment and move out to more desirable suburban areas. Many companies are continuing to allow employees the option of working from home at least part time. This helps the employees save on commuting time thus increasing their productivity. It also allows the company to follow the CDC Social Distancing guidelines by eliminating overcrowded office space. Research from the California Association of Realtors indicate that more people are looking for homes for sale in suburban areas. Many businesses are looking into opening satellite offices and branches in suburban areas such as our Valencia Industrial Park. Suburban areas offer housing that is more spacious and comfortable. Suburban homes are more affordable and allow extra square footage for home offices or work areas and are more desirable places to live.
Our local housing market is booming during Covid-19!
The local Santa Clarita housing market appears to be booming at a positively shocking rate. Prices are still increasing and homes are selling quickly even with many of the Covid-19 restrictions still in place. The number of potential home buyers applying for loans have skyrocketed because of exceptionally low interest rates. Interest rates are at the lowest that they have been in the past decade! Many buyers have been working on applying for loans and searching the internet for homes for sale while sheltering in place because of the Covid-19 lockdown. Now as the country begins to open up and more people are returning to work they have decided to start seriously looking for a home in a suburban area to purchase. Buyers are now grabbing homes almost as soon as they come on the market. The California Association Of Realtors report that this May home prices have increased 1% as compared to May of last year! We are seeing many multiple offers and homes are going into escrow often only in a few days. This is Amazing considering the stay at home restrictions and there had been a major drop in home sales during March and April. Starting in May I began receiving calls from a few sellers asking me “should I sell my home during Covid-19?” The answer to that question is YES!
The extremely limited supply of homes available is a home sellers best friend
Now is the best time to prepare your home for sale. It is the time to make little improvements to your home’s appearance in anticipation of photos and virtual tours.
The economy is rebounding and improving dramatically. People are returning to work and retail shops and restaurants are reopening. There is a severe limit of homes available for sale right now although there are large developments of homes already approved to be built in the very near future. This market is an incredible opportunity for a home sale. Interest rates are at ten year lows and housing inventory is extremely low. We currently have only a 2 month supply of homes on the market, way below our usual inventory. As both an experienced local Realtor and Accredited Home Stager I can help you. I can perform a free detailed comparative market analysis and teach you a few little things you can do to improve the appearance of your home. Small and inexpensive improvements will make buyers “fall in love” with your home. Timing is everything in life so don’t wait to get my free guide “Home Staging Fast and Easy.” As our country reopens, this summer is the perfect time to work on getting it sold and making your next move!
If I want to purchase another home is it best to sell this house first or purchase the other home and then sell this one later?
In a competitive real estate market where houses are often being sold with multiple offers, it is difficult for a buyer who already has a home to decide what to do in order to compete with the other buyers’ offers. Lets face the reality that if several buyers want a home and one of them says to the owner “ you will have to wait for me to sell my current home before I can purchase yours…” that buyer’s offer probably will not be chosen.
Often, if you want to move to another house the simplest thing to do financially is sell your current home first. This would be in my opinion probably one of the easiest choices given a market where your house could be sold at a price where you would be taking a financial gain from the sale of the house. This decision should be made only of after subtracting selling costs and possible capital gains taxes. A real estate agent and escrow officer can provide you with an estimate of the seller costs and profits prepared on a “real estate seller net sheet.”
Selling a home would free you financially from the responsibility of having your name remain on the mortgage of your current home while trying to purchase another one. Depending on your financial qualifications this can increase your debt to income ration and possibly cause you to have to take your new mortgage at a higher interest rate, assuming you can qualify to carry both houses. Likewise, you could be responsible for two mortgages that may become a financial strain if you buy and move to another house unless you can pay “all cash.”
If, after careful research you decide that based on a high demand for houses such as yours that it will sell fast, it is possible to take a “bridge” mortgage loan and purchase your replacement home while your current home is on the market. At times this can be a wise decision if your replacement home is found quickly and you would prefer to not make a “double move.”
If you are considering buying your new home first, possibly with a bridge loan and then selling off your current home, it is very important to consult with a real estate agent to get an estimate of the time it would take to sell your home given the current local market conditions. You would need to know at what price the home could be expected to sell and in how long a time period. A good experienced agent should be able to collect and properly analyze such data to help you make an accurate determination. Buying and possibly closing escrow on the replacement home should only be considered if you are fairly certain that your home will sell within a reasonable time and for an acceptable price.
By Lauren Nemeschansky M. S., Realtor & Accredited Home Staging Professional.
Direct phone or text (661)310-8215
For a complimentary copy of my new easy to follow 60 page book “Home Staging Fast & Easy” a $29.00 value, download it at www.HomeSearchSantaClarita.com/Home-Staging-Book/
Learn to increase your home’s value and psychological appeal to potential buyers. All contact information is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else (the book give-away is a limited time offer).
There are all types of improvements that could be made to a home before listing it with a Realtor and putting it on the market, many take lots of time or can be expensive. Most importantly, a seller should know which improvements are best to increase the home’s valuation and bring higher offers. Don’t get overwhelmed especially if you are short on time or money. Here is a list of ways to increase your homes value that are either free or do not cost much at all. These top 10 tips should cost less than $25 if you do them yourself. Just follow this handy list;
1. The most important and least expensive improvement a home seller can make to his or her home before putting it up for sale is to “de-clutter” and open up air space.
We don’t see our own home through the eyes of a stranger, what we see as “memories” and “treasures” the potential buyers see as “clutter.” Most people like an “open” feel when buying a house. The more open it is, the better they like it and that increases the value in their eyes and puts more cash in your pocket. Throw away whatever you are not taking with you when you move and box up and storage the rest of the “non-essentials” stacked neatly in your garage or in an inexpensive storage facility. Throw away old magazines and paperback books, or donate them to the library. Pack away all the trinkets, bowls, photos and baskets that you don’t need right now sitting around the house just making “clutter.” Part of the goal of doing a “de-clutter” aside from giving the house a more “organized” and “streamlined” look is to “depersonalize” it so the buyers can visualize their own trinkets and photos in the house.
2. The second most important and least expensive improvement a seller can make to a home is a good cleaning, this would be a “spring cleaning” that would include the windows, kitchen appliances, cabinets, etc. It could include a good “hosing down” of the outside of the house either with a power sprayer hose or alternatively a normal garden hose with a strong spray attachment. This will make the outside of the house and sidewalk and driveway sparkle and improve curb appeal.
3. Remove extra pieces of furniture and accessories so that the room appears “larger” and more “spacious.”
You might feel that the room looks “too sparse” but realize the buyer is buying your home rather than your furniture or accessories. The buyer will never notice that you removed items. Think about how model homes are furnished with very little furniture and accessories. Builders pay “big bucks” to decorators so learn from the builders and do the same. Certain pieces can be moved to other rooms of the house that are less filled with furniture so that the rooms have more balance and flow or moved to a friend’s house or inexpensive storage facility.
4. Clean out and pack up clothing from your closet so it appears “roomier” to the buyer
Remove and pack away clothes and shoes from your closets that you will not need for the next few months. Sell off or donate what you won’t take with you and box up and storage the rest in your garage, a family member’s garage or a storage facility. We want the closets to look as neat and large as possible.
5.Clean out your kitchen cabinets and pantry.
Discard or pack away food items that you will not be eating over the next several months. The goal here is to show any buyer that you have “plenty of cabinet space.”
6. Paint or spot paint old or dirty paint to spruce it up and make it look fresh, brighter and new. If repainting consider light, neutral and psychologically positive colors
If you have some very dark colored walls, it may be helpful to paint them a light neutral color that reflects light and makes the room appear larger. However, one darker accent wall can make a room look larger and create a “focal point.” Consider using neutral colors taken from nature that tend to promote a “positive” and “soothing” emotion. At the very least spot paint the fingerprints and any chips or scratches. While the kid’s “growth chart” or scribble marks and stickers on the doors may be cute to you, they wont impress a buyer so remove and paint over them. Painting is one of the least expensive and most cost effective improvements that any home owner or home seller can do. Paint it yourself if you have the time and are the handy sort. There are many great online videos that will teach you to paint and most paint departments will walk you through the job. If you need to hire someone then be sure to interview several professional handymen and painters and get estimates. Painting by a professional does not cost much compared to the increased profit and shorter time on the market that a well needed but inexpensive paint job will provide.
7. Trim and remove overgrown trees and shrubs from the front of your home and/or add some annuals or evergreens if needed for balance to improve “curb appeal.”
The first thing a buyer sees when they pull up in front of your home is the front yard, the buyers make an impression of your home based on those first few minutes BEFORE they step through your door. Don’t worry about the garden looking too sparse, studies have shown that in terms of landscaping “less is best” so trim and pull out to your hearts desire so your house can be seen in its best light. If you notice that the yard has some “bald spots” then add some annuals or pebbles. If it is “out of balance, “with too many trees and shrubs on one side and not enough on the other then a few small evergreens and annual flowers is a quick fix for those types of problems.
8. Clean the carpets and use a deodorizer, especially if you have pets. Psychological studies show that many people “buy with their noses.” I have seen this happen. A buyer walks through the door and immediately comments “this house smells nice.” When that happens I usually end up writing an offer for that home. Be very careful to not “over scent” the house. Choose natural light scents such as citrus, linen or vanilla because otherwise some buyers may have allergies to stronger floral scents and leave before they even see the entire house. Regarding pet and cooking odors, there is a saying in real estate, “if you can smell it then you wont sell it!” True words.
9. Paint the front door if it needs freshening up along with the front trim
The front door is the first thing that a buyer sees and touches when arriving at your home. A first impression is important. A shabby looking front door in need of a paint job sets the buyer’s expectations low so they will be “looking for shabby” throughout the house. An attractive front door with fresh paint, or stained wood, shows the buyer pride of ownership. The trim especially on the ground floor of the house near the front entranceway should also be spot painted or repainted to show the house is clean, fresh and well kept up. In my experience a fresh painted door and trim along with a good power washing can often take the place of an exterior paint job in giving a very similar effect.
10. Bring “natural elements” into your home to give it a serene and cheerful feel
These elements should be carefully placed around the home.
Most important is to put out a bowl of fresh fruit and or a vase with flowers in your kitchen area. I prefer using fruit that last and have a nice clean scent such as lemons or oranges, nothing artificial please! Tree branches and or garden flowers can be used as floral arrangements giving a nice “seasonal” look to the home and cost nothing to provide. I sometimes mix a very inexpensive bouquet of “supermarket flowers” with my garden flowers and leaves for an outstanding and easy arrangement.
Want to learn more than just the very basics? Order my new book “Home Staging Fast & Easy”
Free for a limited time only, a $29 value? Download at my website www.HomeSearchSantaClarita.com /home-staging-book/
Your name and contact information is kept confidential and NEVER shared!
Included in my book “Home Staging Fast & Easy ”
-Learn how to increase your home’s value “fast and easy” without spending lots of money.
– Learn to avoid the mistakes that cost home sellers thousands of dollars!
– Learn how to find the “focal points” of each room to increase your home’s value!
– Learn techniques that psychologically cause a buyer to “desire” your home!
And much more…
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What is the purpose of “staging your home before you try to sell it?”
By Lauren Nemeschansky, M.S. Realtor and Accredited Staging Professional
How home staging is VERY different than decorating your home
Home staging is the art of making slight changes to your home’s décor so that it is more appealing to a buyer. Just like you would detail your car before trying to sell it, you would also do the same for your home. Making your home more appealing to the buyer results in a faster sale and more money in your pocket. Home staging is different than decorating because the purpose of each is VERY different though people often confuse them. The purpose of home staging is to create illusions to the buyer so that they focus on the features that you want them to see so that they want to buy your home. The purpose of decorating your home is to add beauty and function so that your time spent living there is more enjoyable.
Staging consists of making small changes to greatly improve the home’s appearance
Think about all the model homes you have ever visited. There is less furniture than you would find in the average person’s home. These model homes are never “cluttered” or have numerous personal belongings. Understandably, we would not want to live our lives in a model home, we like our furniture, knick-knacks and personal items that make our house a home. However, when you are attempting to sell your home the goal is to make YOUR HOME become your BUYER’S HOME. In staging a home we make small changes to give the rooms a better flow and a more open feel so that they appear larger and more inviting to a buyer. We “depersonalize” and “de-clutter” the home so that the buyer can envision their own personal items in the home rather than yours. We “freshen” up the home in the most inexpensive manner with paint or touch up paint and by cleaning and polishing items so that the home appears cleaner, newer and more desirable to the buyer. We want the buyer to want to live in your home!
The staging process begins with viewing your home through the eyes of the buyer
Try to view your home through the eyes of potential buyers and notice what you can easily “tweak” about your home that bothers you. The best way to “see” your home through the eyes of a buyer is to start by standing across the street and then standing in the front entrance doorway and notice what “pops out” at you both positive and negative. Ask yourself “what would make me want to come in and view the rest of this home rather than jump back in my car and leave?” Do the same thing as you walk through the rest of your home. Stand in the doorway of each room and make a mental note or jot down on paper “what do you first notice?” “Does the room feel inviting or uncomfortable?” Be honest with yourself. It is also a great idea to ask your friends or extended family members, who do not live with you to “honestly” help you find items and points of interest that could be featured, improved or removed since it is difficult to “see” your own home through the eyes of a visitor.
The job of the home stager is to make the home more desirable to the potential buyers by making free or inexpensive improvements
As an accredited staging professional, I help my sellers to make small changes that make the home much more desirable to buyers. The changes we use to improve the home’s appearance are often free or cost very little, mainly just a few inexpensive supplies and or reusing what we already have available in the home. I consider myself very fortunate to know and work with very talented professional home stagers and decorators who are available to me for consultations. As a member of my international home staging association, which is very different than my real estate multiple listing services and association networks and groups, I have the unique opportunity to work, communicate, brain storm, and exchange ideas with some of the best and most talented home stagers and decorating professionals both locally and around the world!
Every home should be staged BEFORE it is photographed and viewed by potential buyers
The goal is to find your home’s best features and make them “pop!” Every home should be cleaned, de-cluttered and staged BEFORE it is viewed by any potential buyers. I am such a big believer in staging a home along with taking excellent photos and virtual tours that “I put my time and money where my mouth is” by including home staging with every home I list!
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about marketing a home or staging your home for sale please don’t hesitate to contact me at (661) 310-8215 or email me at RealtorLauren@gmail.com