Real estate has felt significant impacts due to COVID-19. The pandemic has created uncertainty in our daily lives that affects everything. That being said, real estate transactions can move forward for buyers and sellers.
You can rely on my years experience. Now more than ever, having a knowledgable agent is key.
Here are some important points for buyers in the age of COVID-19:
- Find the right real estate agent. I am comfortable with technology and can offer virtual home tours & consultations.
- Virtual home tours – many Taylor-Made listings have 3D tours available online. Facetime or Zoom tours with your agent are also an option. If you want to see a home in person, Maryland Association of REALTORS® has mandated that no more than 3 people be at the showing and practice social distancing/masks/gloves/etc.
- Remote mortgage pre-approval – many lenders are working remotely and are able to pre-qualify you via online applications and interviews via phone or video.
- Remote home inspections – home inspectors are offering buyers home inspections with videoconferencing to review any findings discovered.
- Virtual home appraisals – rather than site visits, many lenders are allowing video or desktop appraising using the data and photos from the listing and comparing it with other similar properties.
- Remote closings – many title companies prefer virtual closings where the buyer is sent the closing package via email, having it notarized and mailing it back to the title company. Funds would be wired to the title company from the lender and no one ever has to come in contact to facilitate the closing except for possibly the walk through which agents are handling with kid gloves so that no one is compromised.
Here are some important points for sellers in the age of COVID-19:
- Can it be done? – the short answer is yes. Technology will play a bigger role than ever facilitating the sale but homes are selling. There are certain buyers who are on a shortened time frame to make a purchase – possibly because they sold another home and need to find a replacement home, or they were transferred to a new location for work, or they are finalizing a 1031 tax deferred exchange where they have to identify a replacement property within a short window.
- Ask your agent to create a video tour – The Taylor-Made marketing team can do this with traditional videos or 3D tours, and it is a good way for buyers to get an idea of the layout and feel of your home to determine if they want to keep it on their short list and schedule a viewing at some point
- Clean your home before & after showings – if a buyer has serious interest (with no COVID-19 symptoms) and you are willing to allow a showing, it is recommended that you ask agents and buyers to not touch anything in the home. Agents in our market are being asked to use sanitizing wipes to touch light switches and doors. Having hand sanitizer available at the entry is also a good idea.
- Use e-signing programs to facilitate offers and contracts – agents have been using this technology for quite a while and in times like this it is even more necessary to avoid face-to-face signing. Your agent can answer any questions by means of phone, text, email or video conferencing.
- Leave the home for inspections and appraisal – it’s a good practice to be out of the home during the inspection for your own protection and so the inspector can teleconference or video conference with the buyer to discuss their findings.
- Remote closings – you will either be asked to mail in the signed closing documents or drop them off at the title company rather than engage in a face-to-face traditional closing where buyer, seller, agents, lender, attorney and legal assistant would typically be present.
- Maryland Association of REALTORS® have handed down some guidance for agents after interpreting Governor Hogan’s Stay at Home orders:
· In-person activities must be by appointment only.
· No more than three (3) people, including the agent, may be at a property at any one time.
· Those three persons must strictly follow physical distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.
- Real estate licensees who strictly follow the above protocols are permitted to engage in the following in-person activities related to the purchase and sale of homes:
· Conduct listing presentations, take property photos, and create virtual tours for new listings.
· Facilitate signing of contract documents.
· Preview and show listings by appointment only.
· Facilitate photography/videography, inspections, appraisals, buyer “walk-throughs,” and key delivery.
If you were thinking of buying or selling, I know that you may have real estate questions right now. I am happy to be a resource for you.
You can browse local listings on my website if you are thinking of buying. If you are interested in specific listings, I can get you more information or set up a call for a virtual walkthrough.