Should you list your house during a COVID-19 pandemic?

I'm out here with my COVID-19 hair and COVID-19 nails and outside my house, because there's so many people in it now, to talk about that subject.

It's come up a lot on social media, in newspaper articles, lots of forums across the country. And we see over and over and over again a lot of people trying to answer it without asking what we think are a few important questions. So here are those questions so you can make an informed choice if you're thinking about listing your house during a pandemic.

1.) Is it safe? The first question to ask if you're thinking about listing your home during a pandemic is, is it safe?

There's a lot of talk about virtual showings and we do tons of that anyway, virtual open houses; those are great. But to keep our agents and our clients safe, healthy, alive during this terrible situation, we wanted to use the utmost caution. So the best way to do that is for the house to be empty.

A vacant house is an opportunity to list during a pandemic. If it isn't vacant, you're really going to want to talk to your realtor and talk about your specific vulnerabilities and situation. Most of the time it's just really not going to be a good idea.

If you can find someplace to move for a while, a hotel, move into a new house that you're buying, if that's a possibility. But to show a house that's occupied right now, is just fraught with hazards. There are ways to make it safER, but there's always some risk involved.

2.) It's really important to know if your specific market is even moving. Many are. Most are seeing a pretty small number of listings, so inventory is low. So even though the buyer pool is small, those few buyers that are out are really motivated and definitely need to move.

So we are seeing some movement in some sectors, but you want to talk to a highly skilled realtor at this point and make sure that you're looking at your price point, location, the style of house, all of those need to really have some demand showing before I would recommend listing in this market. Here's one we're always asking, but it's even more important now.

3.) Do you need to sell? This is really not the time to throw something on the market and kind of test it or see what you can get for it. Anybody going on the market right now needs the house to be in great condition, aggressively priced and ready to get through the process, so they're really going to have to have a strong motivation to get that house sold.

4.) Are you really ready? Have you done everything to put your house in top condition for this specific market? The buyers that are out are going to be making decisions quickly. They're not going to look at a ton of houses, and they're not going to look at any house that seems like it needs more work or there are more projects to do than another similar house at a similar price. If there's still something you can do to get your house market-ready, spend a week or two on that. Get that done, come on the market in your best position.

5.) Finally, are you really ready to do what it's going to take? So you've put your house in great condition, you're pricing it appropriately for the market, which is going to be pretty aggressive. Now you're going to have to get through showings and get that buyer, once you get one, to the closing table. Lenders have increased restrictions. Buyers are having a more difficult time. They're getting cold feet. We're seeing transactions fall apart. Sellers really need to have the stomach to get to the closing table in this market.

So if you can answer all of those questions and you're ready to list, let's chat. I'm Ruth Sheahan with the Ruth Sheahan Team of EXP Realty.