It’s no secret that the COVID-19 outbreak has affected almost every industry, including real estate. However, real estate is still an essential service! Businesses are adapting and there are several ways for you to continue your house hunt while staying safe at home. Here are six tips for buying a home during the COVID-19 outbreak.
1. Work with an experienced agent.
Whether we are in a pandemic or not, we always recommend working with an agent when buying a home. Your expert agent does so much: professionally negotiates at least four portions of a transaction; provides local market knowledge; helps connect you to key people such as lenders, inspectors, and others. The agent will represent you and work in your best interest, whereas the selling agent only represents the seller. Best of all, working with a buyer’s agent comes at very little cost to the buyer (or no cost at all)! Before choosing an agent, make sure you ask how they have adapted their operations to follow best social distancing practices and how they plan to effectively market your home.
2. Check for virtual tour options.
To allow you to still see listed homes without compromising you or the seller’s safety, many sellers have worked with their agents to start offering virtual tour options. These may range from video walkthroughs to more in-depth 3-D virtual tours through Matterport. If these are options that you would be interested in, tell your agent that you would like to see homes with virtual tours and check to see if your favorite listings already have these options available. Further, your agent can “front load” any paperwork for all of the homes you’re interested in: you’ll be armed with all the information you need prior to selecting the few homes you’d like to see.
3. Only schedule showings for your top homes.
If you absolutely need to see a home in person, make sure that you are selective with which ones you see. Requesting showings on every home you are interested in can create an unsafe experience for you, your agent, and the sellers of each home. Many sellers are not allowing in-person showings, especially if their family is still living at the home. Work with your agent to narrow down your search to your favorites. Then, only schedule an in-person showing if there are no virtual options available to you or if you feel that you need to see more.
4. Work with your agent to arrange showings via video conferencing.
Another way for you to virtually tour a home is through video conferencing. With apps like ZOOM or FaceTime, you can join a four-way video call between you, your agent, the seller, and the seller’s agent. The seller can then walk you through their home and answer questions, while both of the agents are present to help facilitate the tour and discuss any in-depth questions. If you are unable to tour one of your top homes in-person, ask your agent about setting up a tour over a video call.
5. Follow proper precautions when on in-person showings.
If you do attend any in-person showings, make sure that you follow proper precautions to keep yourself and the seller safe. Following guidelines set forth by our federal government, CDC, and your specific state’s health department is key. If possible, request that all doors are left open and all lights are left on to reduce the amount of contact between you and the home. When you arrive, leave your shoes outside or wear booties over your shoes. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after visiting the home. Your agent will be able to contact the selling agent to facilitate any requests from you or the seller.
6. Discuss remote options for paperwork and closings with your agent.
Thanks to the crazy world of technology and some quick action by title companies, you no longer have to close on your home sale in person. There are several options available to you such as drive-up closings, remote paperwork, and more. These will vary by the title company, but almost every company has adapted its procedures to increase safety for all participants. Ask your agent about what options might be available to you.
Are you looking to buy a home in South Central Wisconsin? Contact us today through the form below to see how we can help you!