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Here’s the big question: Are buyers and sellers still relying on real estate agents in the same way as before COVID-19?

According to recent survey by NAR, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In fact, the report found that buyers and sellers are turning to Realtors more than ever before:

  • 62 percent of sellers and 54 percent of buyers agreed that real estate agents’ guidance is even more valued during the pandemic
  • 55 percent of sellers and 54 percent of buyers agreed that it is very important to have a Realtor navigate many of the new virtual options in real estate transactions
  • 61 percent of sellers and 51 percent of buyers agreed that real estate agents can help glean more valuable information from online listings than they could on their own

It’s clear that homeowners are relying on real estate professionals to help them navigate the real estate market during the pandemic. However, if real estate professionals want to continue to win listings during COVID-19, they must develop a keen understanding of what home sellers are looking for in an agent.

According to NAR’s survey, the top three skillsets that sellers want in a REALTOR® are:

  • The ability to effectively market the home to potential buyers
  • The ability to sell the home within a specific time frame
  • The ability to price the home competitively

Real estate agents don’t develop these three skills overnight. Fortunately, agents can meet all these requirements by mastering the fourth item on the sellers’ wish list: helping the seller find ways to fix up their home to sell it for more.

Source: NAR’s 2020 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report

By helping sellers invest in the right pre-listing updates, agents can more effectively market the home to buyers, sell the home quickly, and increase the list price of the home.

Pre-Listing Updates are Critical to Attract Buyers Online
Even before COVID-19, buyers of all age groups typically began their search process by looking at homes online, and 65 percent participated in a virtual tour. More than half of homes purchased were originally found by the buyer online (52 percent). In other words, buyers are judging the condition of a home largely based on listing photos—and they give it a yay or nay within 10 seconds.

When agents can effectively advise sellers on the home improvements that will create curb appeal in person and online, they prove that they have the marketing expertise sellers are looking for.

The Right Pre-Listing Updates Help Properties Sell Quickly
Sellers want their properties to sell quickly, often according to specific circumstances in their lives—closing on a new house, moving to another city for a new job, etc. Investing in the right home improvements is a surefire way to reduce days on market (homes renovated by Curbio sell 58 percent faster than other homes in the market, on average), but sellers may worry that renovations will take months and months—a big problem if they are eager to get on the market.

To ensure that renovations are completed quickly, it’s key that agents choose a general contractor that specializes in renovating to sell and has a track record of completing projects on time, without sacrificing quality.

Pre-Sale Renovations Increase Sale Price
Many sellers base their target sale price on Zillow’s Zestimate or what their neighbors’ home sold for, without considering the condition of their home compared to recent sales. Even minor updates, like painting and staging, can significantly impact the listing price—and eventual contract price—of a home. Case in point: Curbio’s $19,000 renovation increased the list price of this home by nearly $124,000.

To learn more about which pre-sale renovations will attract buyers and maximize sale price, watch our on-demand webinar.

Rikki Rogers is the vice president of Marketing for Curbio.