With real estate being considered an essential business that continues to operate despite the stay-at-home order, many of my clients are continuing to proceed with their real estate plans.
I, of course, want to make sure that it is done in a safe and secure manner. The safety and health of clients is my number one priority.
For those buyer or seller clients who either need to or want to move forward, I want to keep you informed and make you aware of some of the new procedures you will encounter, including a new coronavirus addendum.
Here’s a Q & A on what you can expect at this time and in the weeks and months ahead. I will continue to monitor the situation and expect the industry will continue to adapt as needed.
As expected, in-person contact is kept to a minimum through most of the home-buying and home-selling process can be done right now using virtual and online technology as much as possible.
What can buyers expect when it comes to buying and home showings right now?
· I am conducting new buyer initial consultations by Zoom or FaceTime instead of in person.
· Expect to have more phone conversations, Facetime, Zoom and other online interactions, and we will be adhering to CDC and other social distancing guidelines if we need to meet in person.
· While there are agents holding regular Open Houses and posting social distancing guidelines for access, most Open Houses being offered currently are Virtual ones. I am only promoting Virtual Open Houses for any of my listings. A virtual open house can be held during certain hours; I will be at the house ready to answer FaceTime or Zoom calls with any buyer who is interested in the home.
· Appointment-only to visit a home in some situations where safety precautions are taken.
· As usual, I only show to our buyer clients who are pre-approved.
· Virtual showings options – prerecorded video recordings of homes some with 3D or 360 degree technology.
· Live-chat tours where we walk around the home and can answer questions and show more areas of the home and address detailed and more specific questions or concerns.
· More professional photographs of homes and several shots of rooms for buyers to look through on listing websites. This can be a first step in the process to see what is out there of interest.
· After viewing video/photo options, serious buyers can request in-person showing.
· Buyers can expect fewer homes on the market, but still high demand from other buyers.
What can sellers expect when listing their home?
· Communication via phone, Facetime, Zoom and other online measures as much as possible.
· If and when we do meet in person, we will be abiding by CDC and other social distancing guidelines
· We are seeing less showings than we are used to, but the buyers who do see a property are more serious and have a specific need to buy right now — relocating, already sold a home – and are more qualified since lenders are more stringent now.
· Buyers are also interested in jumping in because of low interest rates.
· Sellers who have vacated their home may have an advantage when showing it. Buyers are feeling more comfortable viewing vacant homes in person.
· I will market and show your home via prerecorded videos, offer live-chat videos to potential buyers, and as usual, we will have professional photographs to entice buyers online.
· I recommend staging vacant homes (check out my Staged To Sell Program) so they look better online and will bring in buyers who are serious and committed to purchasing right now.
· Any in-person showings are done by appointment-only and will be done only one buyer group at a time.
What is different in the way buyers are making offers on a home?
· Offers can include a coronavirus addendum which allows for an extension of time and more flexibility with delays. This is in case anyone becomes ill during the process or there are roadblocks when it comes to appraisals, home inspections, closing procedures.
· More than ever, it is recommended that your job and finances be stable before going down the path of writing offers.
· Sellers should be prepared and understand that the coronavirus addendum gives the buyer more flexibility to cancel the contract.
How are home inspections handled now?
· Some sellers are requesting home inspectors be done by just the inspector and not the buyers in attendance. This is on a case by case basis and something we can confirm before writing an offer.
· Inspectors will take more photos and share results electronically.
· All safety precautions will be taken before and after a home inspection takes place.
· We will review the inspection report over the phone to determine the best next steps rather than talking on site.
How are lenders having homes appraised?
· There can be some delays when it comes to appraisals but many lenders are allowing exterior-only appraisals or having appraisers use a tool that allows them to appraise the home via online or “desktop.”
What is the lending process like right now for buyers?
· Buyers can expect to have only phone or online contact with a lender.
· Some, but not all, lenders are more stringent and expect higher FICO credit scores, offering less loan options and few jumbo loans, and verify employment several times during the loan process.
· Lenders can use a digital platform to verify employment.
How are closings taking place?
· Title companies are requesting as few people as possible attend closings. Some title companies prefer settlements be conducted at your home. Documents are left on your doorstep and then the title agent conducts the settlement remotely from his/her car or possible in your home. I’ve even had settlements be conducted outside to allow for amble air flow. As an agent I am attending via phone.
· All CDC guidelines will be adhered to when it comes to social distancing. Only one pen can be used per person, and it is wiped down prior to your use.
· Together, we will review documents over the phone prior to settlement day to make sure you are knowledgeable and confident about what you are signing.
· No paper checks; wire deposits only.
What are any specific safety procedures you are implementing?
· For any appointment-only showings in person, I am placing signs at each property requesting that no one touch anything in the home. To support that effort, I am asking sellers to leave lights on and keep things like closet doors open.
· I will have disposable gloves at each property and request that they be put on during the showing. I also have a container of hand wipes to use at each property. This procedure is in place since there may be times that someone touches something accidentally or needs to touch something that we didn’t expect. We can’t control 100% of everything so we are ensuring that there is another level of protection in each home.
· I also request that no client or customer with known virus symptoms in their household come inside the property for the showing.
· I recommend bringing your own hand sanitizer or wipes. Of course, you can use mine if you do not have any.
· All people present at showings will need to wear masks and latex-free gloves to all showings or video recordings. For any in-person showings, we must. remain at least six feet apart.
· My goal is to help clients who need it while protecting everyone’s health.
Now more than ever, I hope you stay healthy, stay safe, and I thank you for understanding my current policies. This benefits everyone as we continue to meet your real estate needs together.
Please never hesitate to reach out to me with your questions or concerns at any time.
I'm Nancy and I love helping homeowners who have outgrown their current home and are ready to buy a new home but don’t know where to start. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
4040 Fairfax Dr. #10C
Arlington, VA 22203
staged to Sell
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