We’ve been getting this question a lot lately. There have been a lot of you that have had moving plans for Spring and Summer - and here we are in the the midst of one the most interesting times in any of our lives.
There’s so many people that are still outgrowing their homes or that had a lease expiring. So many people that need to downsize, or that just have to sell. Some of you have wanted something new because this has made some of you sick of where you currently live - and we’ve been hearing that too.
But, if you did pull the trigger in the age of the coronavirus, what could you expect and what does the whole process look like?
Here you go
Selling a home can be a headache. It often takes longer and costs more than you think, and it can be an emotional drain. That’s in normal times. Selling a home during a pandemic will add a slew of new safety concerns to the mix.
But even during the COVID-19 crisis, real estate transactions are moving forward. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently classified real estate as an essential service, although local laws might affect what's allowed and might ban certain activities like open houses. (Be sure to check what's OK in your area.) Suffice it to say, many sellers are still listing their homes, and buyers are still buying, too.
Yet selling a home during a pandemic is new for everyone.
Virtual showings could be the new norm
Eye-catching photos and video have long been a must for any home listing, but that’s more important than ever now, since so many people are sheltering in place at home and likely house hunting online. These days, some sellers are taking their listings up a notch by offering virtual tours of their homes to drive interest among buyers and provide a more in-depth glimpse of the property.Doing a virtual tour reduces the number of in-person visits to only those who are truly interested
Agents are taking extra precautions for in-person showings
Open houses with large groups of people are mostly canceled for now, but many buyers still want to view a home in person before making an offer. Sellers, however, may worry about having strangers in their homes. So, in places where face-to-face showings are still happening, real estate agents are taking some extra steps to protect homeowners and only allowing them in on a case-by-case basis.Showings have been limited to buyers who are pre-approved and serious overall.
Before a home showing, sellers should clean and disinfect high-touch areas, like countertops and doorknobs, and leave lights on and doors, closets, and cabinets open to limit what visitors need to touch. It always helps to put a sign on the front door requesting people viewing the home to take off their shoes. Also, I recommend making hand sanitizer and soap available with signs encouraging hand-washing. Once the showing is over, clean and disinfect thoroughly to lower your exposure risk to whatever the buyers may have brought in with them.
Inspections and appraisals may not need in-person contact
Home sellers usually have to allow the home buyer's inspectors and appraisers into their homes before the real estate deal can go forward. But, these days, social distancing orders are allowing many inspections and appraisals to be done with minimal contact.
Inspectors are also following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, with buyers wearing booties, masks, and gloves, and sellers wiping down everything with disinfectant wipes when the potential buyers leave.
If the lender allows it, appraisals can be done by driving by the home, or viewing photos of the property, so the appraiser never has to set foot in the home.
A remote closing could be possible
Remote home closings have been an option for buyers and sellers in some states even before the COVID-19 crisis. Agility Title out of Newport, our preferred Title Company, has gone as far as to have buyers and sellers in separate closing rooms with the closing representative speaking to the buyer remotely and breaking down the documents they are signing through a speaker with a camera in the room.
But, there’s a push to expand this practice nationwide.
Currently, 23 states have remote online notarization policies, allowing a notary and signer to execute electronic documents while in different physical locations. The National Association of Realtors® recently sent a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to expand the policies nationally to make real estate transactions safer and easier during the pandemic.
The ability to close remotely also depends on the buyer’s lender, and some don’t have the technology to offer a fully virtual closing or work with buyers in states that don’t allow them. We've confirmed and ensured that our lenders are all up to speed and have the ability to close remotely.
Selling a home during the pandemic is an adjustment for everyone, but during showings The Nick Foltz Group has taken every step to ensure the safety of our clients and a smooth transaction for everyone.
We've Pre-Assembled "Realtor Survival Kits" with Masks, Sanitizer, Clorox Wipes, Booties, Gloves, etc, etc. We have been utilizing Zoom, FaceTime, & electronic document signing programs to not only successfully do meetings, but showings and buyer consultations as well.
For any other questions that I didn’t answer or that you’re curious about - just contact me and I would be happy to answer them!
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