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COVID-19 & Real Estate? Selling Tips, Remote Purchases, and Much More
Dated: May 21 2020
COVID-19 may have put a wrench in an otherwise strong spring market, but the great news is that real estate transactions haven’t come to a complete halt. However, buyers, sellers, and agents have had to navigate a complicated situation. Let’s take a look at how the housing market is staying active despite the safety restrictions put in place.
Selling your home
Yes, you can sell your home right now. The key to making a home sale work during social distancing is limiting person-to-person contact. This means that agent/client meetings can happen via telephone or video conferencing, and tours are limited when the fear is still looming.
Work closely with your agent
No one likes it when their home sits on the market, which is why you should consider some of the following selling tips during coronavirus. Begin by finding a top local agent and discuss the current regulations and restrictions in place. Work closely with your agent to price your home carefully. While inventory levels remain low, now is not the time to try to push a price hike. Buyers are even more cautious about their spending, so work with your agent to list your home for the fair market value.
It’s important to understand that your agent will need access to your home to photograph it and create a video walkthrough. Have a plan in place for protecting you and your family and discuss with your agent. This could include instructing visitors to remove shoes at the door, placing hand sanitizing stations around the home, and requiring your agent to disinfect door handles and light switches after use.
While a traditional open house is off the table, technology allows agents to conduct virtual open houses successfully. While agents are not prohibited from showing homes at this time, they are urged to use caution. To get as many eyes on homes as possible, agents across the country are conducting virtual open houses through Zoom. While not a typical drop-in format, buyers can ask questions as agents do a virtual tour through the home.
What sellers can do
A great way to support your home sale is to collect all of your house’s information and have it available in a binder or folder. Include information such as warranties, receipts, and invoices from renovations and repairs, as well as any permits for work done on your property. Should a question arise during a showing, your agent can quickly respond with receipts, rather than having to waste time researching and getting back to a buyer.
Finally, make use of your network. Before COVID-19, many sellers half-heartedly shared their MLS link on social media without much follow-through. Because so much of the home buying and selling process is taking place virtually, share your listing and virtual tour and ask your friends to share with their networks. The more shares, the more eyes you’ll have on your home.
What this means for buyers
If you’re one of the many people out there who are in a position where they need to purchase a home, don’t panic. The housing market is still forging forward, albeit with slightly altered procedures to keep everyone safe in the process. It’s more important than ever to find an agent you can trust, as they’ll be serving as an extension of you during this time of social distancing.
Your computer is a valuable tool in your home search right now as well, so use your extra time doing more research. To limit your exposure to others, attend virtual open houses, take video tours, and carefully sift through listing photos. Many agents are conducting virtual home tours through FaceTime and Skype, so ask about a virtual tour. Finally, ask all the questions you need to feel confident in requesting an in-person showing.
Buying a house remotely is a lot easier than you think. When you find the right fit, don’t sit on making an offer. With low inventory levels, you may still face competition in purchasing. Making an official offer and entering into a contract are processes that have been handled digitally with e-signing for quite some time, so it’s not a significant departure.
Once you’ve signed the offer and it’s accepted, it’s now time to channel patience while you wait for everyone else to do their parts. Home inspectors and appraisers are still able to conduct business, providing that they follow social distancing measures. Barring any significant issues with the home, you’ll be able to proceed as usual.
When everything’s completed, and you have your settlement date, you’ll be able to conduct a final walkthrough with your agent, remaining 6-feet apart, of course. Your settlement documents will be signed electronically, but you will be able to meet with your agent to receive the keys to your new home.
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