Practical Real Estate Tips for the Quarantined Part 4: Homeowners

Following is the final installation of a four-part series for how the real estate industry can weather the quarantine and the COVID-19 crisis as a whole. In this part of the series, I will outline five tips for homeowners. Even though you may not have immediate plans to sell or move, take this time to be proactive. 


No. 1: Turn being cooped up inside into an opportunity that will pay off in the future whenever it’s time to sell your home. Start a folder of home improvements you’ve made throughout the years and use it as a place to log annual maintenance, record replacement costs and keep track of ages of heating/air conditioning units, your roof, and other important systems/utilities in your house. You can even keep booklets, receipts and other handy information in a convenient location inside the binder.

No. 2: Start that long-overdue decluttering — focus on your main level first (the garage/basement area is less important to keep organized than your kitchen, main living areas and master bath/closet areas). If it’s hard to get rid of even unused items, put them in a box and move them to the basement — if you haven’t gone into the box in six months, it’s likely safe to donate the box to be enjoyed by someone who will be blessed by your “hand-me-downs.”

No. 3: Start an online folder to store seasonal photos of your home. It can also be home to “before/after” photos if you complete improvements a future buyer would appreciate to have documented. Go one step farther and set reminders on your calendar to take quality digital (cell phone is fine) photos of your home during different seasons. Upload onto your online album shots that showcase views in the winter, lovely sunsets or sunrises, fall foliage and flowers blooming in the warmer months.

No. 4: Take a slow and intentional walk around the outside and throughout the inside of your home and make a list of major and minor maintenance projects you’ve been putting off. Now’s the time to make a plan and budget for completing them (or to check some off the list if you have the skills to earn some sweat equity). So many people wait until they sell to invest the time and money into improvements they wish they prioritized sooner to enjoy the benefits of the updates before handing the keys over to the buyer, who is sure to appreciate your investment in curb appeal and upkeep.

No. 5: Bite the bullet and begin pricing out big ticket items on your “to do” or “dream” list. Contact your trusted agent to brainstorm about the potential return on costly improvements. Calling on an expert for guidance can ensure you make an educated decision about your monetary investment vs. projected future impact on market value. Be ready to share photos or video clips with your agent so they can visualize your situation and be better equipped to educate you about the potential return on your updates.

Finally, make sure you review my other articles in this series written for sellers, homebuyers and agents for other suggestions you can implement.

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