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 prescreen the home virtually before setting up the visit; they might have virtual tours already available online which can help rule out those that don’t suit their needs. Unfortunately Realtors have not been deemed essential employees, so in states that have imposed mandatory shelter in place orders, agents’ must heavily rely on virtual showings.
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. Remember to keep 6 feet of space between you and the next person. Keep in mind, in-person tours are only permitted where there is not a shelter in place order.
3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? –Most real estate contracts include a loan 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.
4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – It is usually a very exciting time for the buyer to have access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections, appraisals and just measuring. Currently, appraisers and home inspectors are still considered essential employees, and are permitted to continue to work. If you are comfortable having your home inspector conduct their inspection and provide you with a detailed report and pictures, that should be provided to you. If you are in a state that is currently under a mandatory stay-in-place order, preventing you from scheduling in-person tours, consider writing your offer contingent upon visiting the home in-person.
5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a 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. 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.