Many industries are affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including the housing market. Some people are pulling homes off the market, but other individuals are racing to find their next property. There are steps that buyers and sellers can take to preserve the safety of all parties, including those tips mentioned below.
Choose Broker Wisely and Start Early
If the real estate agent you are working with does not take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, you should avoid hiring the agent. This person should remain committed to going that extra mile to ensure your safety and provide a smooth buying process, even during this unprecedented crisis. For example, an agent who allows you to close on the home digitally and handles the notary signing and other aspects on his end is taking the situation seriously and putting your needs first. A broker should also request that the home is thoroughly cleaned before you move in with your family and belongings.
Even if you are not ready to move, it would be best to start looking for homes early on. With the COVID-19 pandemic, banks could be understaffed, sellers may take longer to reply to your requests, and a real estate agent may need to limit her services to ensure every client’s needs are being met. Therefore, starting the process early can help you avoid lengthy delays once you are ready to move.
Ask for a Virtual Tour
Many walkthroughs are being canceled for health purposes, but as a buyer, you can request photos and virtual showings. This option allows you to get a sense of a home’s layout; you can use the tour to determine if the property would be a good fit for you and your family. Asking sellers or a real estate representative for a virtual tour prevents you from violating government orders regarding crowd sizes, and it could reduce your risk of being a victim of community spread.
When you have questions for a real estate agent or seller, you can speak with these individuals via telephone. You could also request video conferencing options for a real-time effect. There are a variety of programs you can use when speaking with an agent or homeowner, such as Skype and Messenger. The conferences allow you to ask questions, make requests, and work out other details before making an offer or entering a contractual agreement.
If you must meet your real estate agent in person, or you want to do a quick walkthrough, you should drive to the location separately. While inside the home, stay at least six feet apart from the agent while touring the property. For added safety, try to avoid going into a room at the same time as your broker.
If the owners still reside in the house, it would be best to cancel an in-person tour and rely on your virtual options. An occupied home has a higher risk of spreading the virus, especially if the residents are going out in public regularly. However, empty homes may not have much traffic, aside from real estate agents and the associates of a property management company.
It would help if you took a mask to wear while looking around the home. Remember not to touch any of the doors and surfaces; if you accidentally touch these things, you should have some hand sanitizer available to wash your hands immediately. It is important not to touch your face without using soap and water or hand sanitizer to clean off the germs and bacteria.
Signing contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic is not too complicated, thanks to modern technology. You can take advantage of various e-signing programs without leaving your home and going into an office to meet your real estate agent. If you are unsure of how to get through this process, bring it up to the representative. They will give you the best options and walk you through the process virtually to ensure you sign all documents correctly.
Once you close on your new home, the best thing to do is to scout moving companies that have taken precautions for the virus. Several moving companies – generally the larger, national ones – have already made adjustments to their household moving plans.
Investing in a home right now may be lucrative because of the financial markets. More owners could be open to lowering their asking prices, and banks may be willing to finance your purchase, leading to attractive offers you don’t want to pass up. Although buying a home during a pandemic is possible, you need to follow the safety tips mentioned above, in addition to any guidelines outlined by a real estate company or property owner. Together, you all can develop a plan that benefits everyone involved while keeping your families safe.