Buying During Covid-19
By now it is no secret that Covid-19 affects every aspect of real estate: from the initial consultation 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.
If you’re just starting to work with us, we’ll be meeting with you via FaceTime or Zoom for the initial consultation 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, answer 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 as sellers only want to show their home to serious buyers to keep their risk of getting Covid down. We are happy to offer virtual showings for you if you don’t feel comfortable viewing properties in person (or can’t if you’re moving from out of state) via FaceTime or Zoom. If you’d like to see a property in person then the listing agent will likely require you 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 or to remove your shoes in the property. 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. Typically, showings are limited to a maximum of 4 people including the buyer’s agent so that would mean you and max of two to three 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. If that isn’t possible and you need to have more than four people at the showing, let us know and we’ll speak with the listing agent.
As of right now in person open houses are allowed although some REALTORS® are only allowing one group into the home at a time and asking other groups to wait outside until it’s their time to go inside. If you are going to go to an open house be sure to take your mask with you and be prepared to be asked to take off your shoes or wear booties as well as wear gloves or use hand sanitizer. That said, many listings are doing virtual open houses via Zoom or Facebook Live as well. 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 due to Covid and its affects on the economy over the next year or so until things get back to normal. In general, we do anticipate prices to decrease this fall and winter if Covid cases spike, although there’s no way to say how much they will go down or how Covid will affect next year’s spring market at this time. Right now the suburban market is seeing strong prices with people wanting to leave the city due to the riots and wanting more space due to Covid. We’re also seeing the same trend with single family homes in the city and to a lesser degree, townouses. On the opposite side of the spectrum, small condos, especially in high rises, are taking a hit right now and seem to be taking longer to sell. Our guess is people won’t want to be in high rises with Covid as they don’t want to share elevator, lobby and hallway space plus they want more space so how Covid is affecting properties is really a case by case basis at the moment.
Once Under Contract
After getting the home under contract, there are still several steps before you own the home and can move in. The first major step is the inspection. Some inspectors are asking that buyers attend only the last 30 minutes so the inspector can go over their findings with you whereas others are comfortable with you attending the whole time so this is dependent on each individual inspector. Typically you are required to wear a mask, gloves and booties and children are asked not to attend. When negotiating inspection repairs and credits we are advising clients to ask for credits instead of repairs in general 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 their real estate attorney sign the paperwork for them via a Power of Attorney instead. If you do choose to attend closing, plan for it to take between 2 – 3 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.