You are probably wondering how in the world homebuyers are purchasing homes during Covid-19. The pandemic has certainly impacted all aspects of our society but I’m here to tell you the entire real estate industry has evolved and adjusted in order continue to do business while keeping customers safe.
I’m excited for the opportunity to work with you and would like to share some of the ways buying a home is different for the time being but still possible. You will receive top notch service all while I follow safe procedures to protect you and your family’s health. All I ask is that you work with me so that I can stay safe as well.
Here are just a few adjustments to be aware of…
After our initial contact whether through a phone call or email, I will set up a meeting via Zoom or Facetime as our initial consultation. I like to use this opportunity to get a clear understanding of your wants and needs and provide time to answer any questions you might have. Virtual meetings has replaced the in-person consultations and is a convenient way to handle business these days. Most clients prefer to do the consultation this way and has been working out quite well.
If you prefer to meet for the consultation in person, I can set up a time to meet at my office. As with all in-person meetings, I will have to ask you a series of questions beforehand to ensure you have not been exposed to the virus as well as require masks be worn and that we keep a safe distance at all times. I will always have hand sanitizer available.
I have successfully shown homes to clients via virtual tour. Many listing agents are posting video walkthroughs or the visually detailed Matterport 3D tour for their sellers properties and request that buyers review them first to decide whether an in-person showing is truly necessary. However, not every buyer is comfortable looking for homes that way. Not to worry, in-person home showings are still happening but with precautions. Most sellers are requiring that buyers viewing their homes show proof of loan pre-approval or proof of funds (if paying with cash) prior to the appointment. This requirement during Covid-19 is a reasonable request and is an effort to minimize unnecessary foot traffic to only the most serious buyers. I prefer to delay showings until my clients are fully prequalified before going house shopping to avoid any problems. Also, you are asked to restrict the home tour to only the actual buyers and no other companions.
During showings, you will be asked not to touch anything. I will try to ensure all doors and cabinets are open and lights are on for your convenience and safety. Of course, masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing is required.
Home Prices during Covid-19
You may be surprised to find out that the pandemic has not caused a decline in home prices. The reason is Arizona has been experiencing a shortage of homes over the last couple of years which has only gotten worse as many sellers have decided to delay putting their homes on the market during the pandemic. That does not mean there are no deals to be had but we are in the midst of a strong sellers market so be prepared for some competition.
Most communications with your lender and title company will be by phone and email. Most buyers never meet their lender in person during a transaction. That hasn’t changed during Covid-19. As far as the Title company, they will be handling the closing procedures. At points during the transaction, you will be signing documents via electronic signature along just as you can expect when you submit your offier documents. However, prior to closing the sale, the Title company will likely require handwritten signatures. Covid-19 has put more pressure on the industry to utilize online electronic signing methods but we are not 100 percent there yet. Only a few title companies have this capability. You may however, be able to visit the title office in person (with a mask of course) if necessary. You can deposit your earnest money check or you can wire the funds from your bank account. Title companies are utilizing courier services for document deliveries and notary services for signing purposes more heavily during Covid-19. How things are handled during your transaction will depend on the Title Company you select.
When you go under contract on a home, you are allowed a 10-day inspection period to do your due diligence on the property. One of the most common tasks buyers take care of right away is to order a home inspection. Before Covid-19, home inspectors would invite the buyers to attend the client summary portion of the home inspection. It occurs at the tail end of the home inspection and lasts about 30 minutes. During Covid-19, some inspectors are asking that buyers not attend in person, but if you insist, you must wear a mask and maintain social distance. Some buyers are allowing the inspectors to email the report and discuss the results over the phone or virtual call instead of showing up in person. Regardless, you and I will review the report’s findings and figure out our game plan together on how to approach any repair requests. If attending in person is a must, then make sure it is part of your list of questions when you interview potential inspection companies.
The only thing different here with regard to Covid-19 is some lenders are allowing drive-by appraisals which means appraisers are not being required to go inside of homes to do their evaluations. Buyers never attend appraisals so you are only expected to wait patiently for your lender to send you the report when he/she gets it. If you are putting a large down payment on your future home (about 20% or more), you could ask the lender whether you can waive the appraisal.
This is your last opportunity to visit the home to ensure any requested repair items were completed, if any. It is also your chance to ensure the home is in the same condition it was when you initially made the offer. Masks and social distancing is expected here again.
It is my goal to make sure this experience goes as smoothly as possible. You will receive the same high level of service that I always provide with just a few adjustments to my usual processes. I look forward to the opportunity to help you find your future home. If you have any additional questions or would like referrals for local reputable companies in Title, mortgage lending, home inspection and more, I am happy to offer several options.