A lot of agents and home buyers alike are asking the question – What do I do now about buying a home, in light of the COVID-19 crisis? Many are putting searching on hold and waiting things out, others are still searching, but virtually only. So, what are your options at this point?
First and foremost, I do want to advise people to stay home. This is important so-as to help us through this pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a house under agreement. How do we do that?
In this technological age, 99% of your home purchase, from searching to closing can be done remotely. I have done virtual tours for people, composed offers and negotiated over the phone and in some cases, I never even meet the buyer’s attorney. Up to this point, I have always met with my clients, but that’s doesn’t have to happen in order for you to close on a house. Point is, you can get all the information you need and do all that is necessary right from the comfort of your home. Attorney’s can file your closing from their office. The most important thing in a real estate transaction is your signature. If you are able to get your signature on the appropriate documents, the rest is easy to do.
Disclaimer; under normal circumstances, I do recommend meeting with the agent that is ultimately going to be representing you in the purchase. It is important to build a good, trusting relationship with them so that you know you are being represented properly and that you are going to be able to successfully work with them. It’s hard to get a feel for a person over the phone, but if you ask the right questions, you should get a pretty good idea. Check out our article on Questions To Ask A Real Estate Agent to learn about the valuable information and service an Exclusive Buyers Agent can provide you.
There are some things you may have to leave your house for.
If you are going to purchase a home or at least get one under agreement during this crisis, it would be a good idea to at minimum take a drive by the house or even explore the yard. If you are comfortable enough, you can go inside and look around. Agents will keep their distance.
Another thing is the home inspection. Some inspectors are not doing inspections at this time. Some still will. I’ve always recommended that my clients be present at a home inspection, but again, this is something that could be done without you there. You could ask your agent to facetime you during the inspection so that you can still ask questions directly to the inspectors. Personally, I think it’s important that you are somehow able to follow the inspectors around and ask questions on the spot, even remotely so that you are fully informed of any and all issues that might come up once you purchase the home. You can discuss this with your agent. The other option is to wave an inspection, but discuss that option with your agent as that opens you up to some risks.
All in all, you can still stay safe and still purchase a home as long as you have been able to get a good enough feel of the house you are going to purchase. Most people need some sort of in person encounter with the house before they settle on it. This is still allowed. Real Estate agents have been deemed ‘essential’, which means not only can we open our offices, but we can do business as usual and still show properties.
Things I do not recommend during this time.
I do not recommend that you go to open houses at this time. Houses tend to be smaller, tighter spaces and to have even a small volume of people going through could cause you to be in too close of proximity to someone. Talk to your agent about setting up a private showing just before, or right after the open house is over.
I do not recommend seeing a house as a family event. A lot of times, people will go and want their friends, parents, kids, etc. to come along and check things out. The smaller numbers that go, the better and safer for everyone.
I do not recommend waiting or holding off on your home search because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Houses are still being listed and sold, even in these tough times. There are so many ways around buying a house even still without putting yourself or your family in danger. Talk to an EBA (Exclusive Buyer Agency) about what you can do to start or continue in your quest for a new home. We are happy to help.