THE HOME BUYING PROCESS During COVID-19
By now it is no secret that Covid-19 affects every aspect of real estate: from the initial consult all the way through the inspection and closing. Even with all of the changes Covid-19 has forced us to make, we are confident that we can help you find your dream home and do so while protecting your health as well as ours. The reality is that we have been though many dips and market changes and know how to navigate through this blip in the buying process. Our top priority is the safety and health of everyone we are working with, including our own health, and will continue to monitor new rules and regulations as well as guidance from the CDC and revamp our plans as things change.
In the meantime, here is how our processes have changed due to Covid19:
If you’re just starting to work with us, we’ll be meeting with you via FaceTime and Zoom for the initial consultation for the time being rather than in person at a coffee shop like in the good old days as we discuss your home buying search! That said, we’ll still be able to discuss your needs, wants, answering any questions you have and discuss our game plan to help you find your next home as well as set up a MLS search for you. We believe it is important to protect as many people as possible with social distancing as long as it is recommended by the CDC and government officials. Video chat is a great tool and we are happy to have it!
Showings and Open Houses
Obviously showings are key to finding your next home. In order to view an occupied home, you will need to have a preapproval letter and be willing to make an offer that day. We can walk you through this process so it doesn’t seem so scary, but for everyone’s protection, including the seller’s, most listing agents won’t allow in-person showings unless the house “is the one.” Before an in-person showing is allowed, most listings agents are requiring virtual showings be done first via Zoom, FaceTime, a video walk through or a Matterport 3D tour, etc. Therefore, if you see a property you’re interested in let us know and we can ask if the listing agent has a video tour or can set up a virtual showing for us. Typically if you still want to see the property after viewing the video or virtual tour and think you’ll likely be putting in an offer, the listing agent will require a copy of your preapproval letter as well as ask you to fill out a health questionnaire to make sure you aren’t sick and haven’t been in contact recently with anyone who has Covid19. If the showing is approved, we’ll be asked to wear a mask and gloves as well as booties. Likely it will just be us as most listing agents are no longer attending showings and are putting properties on lockboxes instead. If there is an elevator in the building, we’ll go up first and open the door and have you come up separately since it’s not possible to practice social distancing in most elevators. Most listing agents are asking that we do “touchless” showings meaning that the sellers are leaving on all lights and opening all doors and we are asked to not touch anything in the home other than the front and back door handles. Please note that per the Governoer, showings are limited to a maximum of 4 people right now including the buyer’s agent so that would mean you and max of two other people are allowed to attend. We suggest keeping children at home, if possible, to limit their exposure. If that isn’t possible, if you’re part of a couple, we suggest having one person wait in the car with the child/ren while the other person does the showing then switch.
As of right now in person open houses are not allowed so the only way to see a property in person is with a licensed Realtor. That said, many listings are doing virtual open houses via Zoom or Facebook Live.
If you decide to put in an offer, we can do that completely virtually via DocuSign for electronic signatures.
Home Prices and Covid
There’s no magic formula to dictate what is going to happen when the stay at home orders are lifted. In general, we do not anticipate that home prices are going to drop significantly, however that doesn’t mean there are not good deal to be found because of Covid. We will set up searches and make sure new listings are hitting your inbox so we can capitalize on these deals as they come on the market.
Once Under Contract
After getting the home under contract, there are still several steps before the home is clear to close and before you sign for your keys.
The first major step is the inspection. Typically inspectors are asking that you do not attend the inspection right now and instead are FaceTiming you through the property at the end to go over the findings with you. If the inspector does allow you to attend, generally they are only allowing you come for the last 30 minutes to go over the results in person and are requiring you wear a mask, gloves and booties. Typically children are asked not to attend. When negotiating inspection repairs and credits we are advising clients to ask for credits instead of repairs since it may be hard for the seller to get repair people into the home for repairs or they simply may not feel comfortable having anyone in their home for repairs right now.
Next step is the appraisal, which you wouldn’t have attended pre-Covid anyway. Because of Covid, a lot of lenders are authorizing drive by appraisals instead so appraisers aren’t required to enter the home.
Last step before closing is the final walk through. We can Zoom or FaceTime you through the final walk through if you prefer not to come in person or can do an in-person final walk through with gloves, booties and masks.
The last step is the closing. Most buyers right now are opting to skip attending the closing in person and are having your real estate attorney sign the paperwork for you via a Power of Attorney instead. If you do choose to attend closing, plan for it to take between 2- 6 hours and many Title companies are doing car closings instead where you sign the documents in your car as opposed to being let inside the Title company for closing.
We have an entire team dedicated to setting up appraisals, inspections, repairs, notary services, and everything in between so we will make sure you are taken care of and protected from contract to close. Our goal is to make this a seamless as possible in the safest way we can – most everything can be done digitally or with little to no contact with others.
Let’s go find your new home!
As your agent, we are dedicated to finding you the home you want and need – sure, there are some modifications based on the current climate of the world, but we are confident that our process will be thorough and safe for everyone.