Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. During this time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help buyers navigate the buying process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered.
1. Can we still go see home listings in person? – This will depend on the seller, the agent, and the city or county you’re seeking to find a home. Real estate has been classified as essential, but some cities or counties may have a more restrictive standard that qualifies as essential and then that local order must be followed. Talk to your agent to find out what they have available for the buyers to prescreen the home virtually before setting up the visit; they might have virtual tours already available which can help rule out those that don’t suit your needs. Be prepared with a pre-approval from a lender and/or proof of funds, such as bank statements. You will most likely need to provide this to the seller before the showing.
2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes? – Everyone’s health has to be the priority; this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. If you are going to see a home in person during this time, carry hand sanitizer and wipes to use before, during and after the tour. Drive separately from your agent and meet at the homes. During the tour, designate one person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the showing. Avoid bringing the whole family. Agents have been informed to bring in only two people at a time with one agent, and to follow the 6 feet distancing rule.
3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? –Most real estate contracts include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. If you think you’re at a risk of being laid off, then it might be better for you to wait.
4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – It’s very common for the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections, final walk through and just measuring are all common reasons to visit the home during escrow. Consider grouping these activities whenever possible.
5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal ball and no way to predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans right now, making it the perfect time for some home buyers to find security in owning a home rather than renting.
The Covid-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers and sellers. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this time.
If you have any additional questions about the current market and real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime. We’re all in this together. Above all, I hope you and your family are staying safe and well.