Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus. During this time, you many have more questions than normal about the home buying process and your 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 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.
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, and any fast-changing governmental policies put in place. Recently, agents are offering virtual tours of homes. This will help to pre-screen a home prior to setting up a visit. Also, Skype or Face Time is an option to offer a virtual tour of a home. This can help rule out homes that don't suit a buyers 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. I also have sanitzer, sanitizing wipes, gloves and shoe covers available. I have been requesting that sellers leave all lights, doors and closets open prior to leaving. Should anything need to be opened, I will open while using disposable gloves.
3. What happens if I lose my job prior to closing?
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. During this time, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® has provided agents with a COVID-19 Addendum that will be issued for signatures to all parties of a transaction. This addendum protects the parties of a transaction for unforeseen circumstances, such as job loss, that occur as a result of COVID-19.
4. Will I still have access to the home during the contingency periods?
It’s very common for the buyer to have some access to the home during the contingency period; home inspections, appraisals 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, but with everything that’s going on, sellers in the market may be very motivated to sell. There are also 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.
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, we can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this challenging time. Let's discuss a plan to put you on the path to homeownership.