The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a seismic shift in daily life across the U.S. But even faced with stay-at-home orders, some of which may last for months, Americans are still looking for, buying, and moving to new places.
5 Questions Buyers Have During the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered
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 is the hardest question to answer and it will depend on the home, the seller, the agent and any fast-changing governmental policies put in place. Agents should be able to offer a Skype or Face Time home tour virtually. Talk to your agent to find out what they have available for the buyers to pre- screen 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 their needs.
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 meet at the homes. During the tour, designate one person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the showing.
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. Since every aspect of real estate is negotiable, consider asking for the contingency deadline to be extended and in place until the close; talk through this aspect with the seller and their agent in advance to set the right expectation.
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, appraisals and just measuring are all common reasons to visit the home during escrow. Consider grouping these activities whenever possible.
4.) Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal ball, but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated to sell. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.
5.) The Covid-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers, sellers, and even agents. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this time.
5 Questions Sellers Have about the Market during the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered
There are so many questions and concerns amid the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. The real estate market is especially hard hit and sellers are concerned. Real estate at its core is a people business. It relies on person-to-person interaction and the coronavirus necessarily limits this contact. As the spring selling season gets started, home sellers will have questions and it’s important to acknowledge concerns and offer practical advice and concrete information to help sellers make the best decision for themselves and their families.
- Should I still try and sell my home? – Of course, there are many aspects to this question. First and foremost, the health concerns of the sellers’ family have to be taken into consideration. Unless absolutely necessary, the elderly and those with underlying health issues should not allow unnecessary people into their homes; including buyers and agents.
If the household is essentially healthy and not considered high-risk, then this could be a great time to sell. Consider the advantages of lower inventory coupled with low-interest rates; as listings become rarer, the remaining inventory will get more attention which could create better offers.
- Is it safe to have people through my home? – This is certainly a concern, but there are practical steps you can take to ensure safer home showings.
- What can I do to protect my family during showings? – Protect the home, family and visitors alike by taking the following precautions.
- Keep hand sanitizer at the front door to offer buyers and their agents when they enter the home.
- If there is a guest bathroom, keep disposable hand towels and soap for guests to use and make the request known to the showing agent.
- Offer disposable gloves for use with a receptacle for used gloves.
- Limit the showing days and hours so you can properly clean between showings.
- Have cleaning wipes handy. Request agents to wipe surfaces, door handles, and banisters which are touched during the showing.
- Ask your agent to offer virtual showings or host virtual open houses
- What happens if my buyer loses their job? – Most real estate contracts include a contingency for the buyer loan approval and funding. Now more than ever, it’s critical to keep that contingency in place. In the unfortunate event the buyer loses their job or can no longer qualify for the loan during the contingency deadline, the parties cancel typically cancel the contract.
- Will I get a higher price if I wait to list my home? – The truth is no one knows. We don’t know how long or short the crisis will be and we don’t know how the financial market will weather the outbreak. While this is a question the seller will ultimately need to decide, the old adage about a “bird in the hand” is important to remember.
This spring selling season has proven to have unique circumstances – please contact your real estate agent to learn more about the current outlook and opportunities in your local market.