First, the rules are constantly evolving and vary by market. Many new procedures have been instituted, and real estate professionals have been highly committed to keeping everyone safe.
Many seniors are eager to buy or sell a home after sitting on the sidelines during the pandemic but worry about exposing themselves to COVID-19. What should you know about the current state of real estate transactions if you fall into this camp?
While traditional open houses aren’t allowed in most markets, real estate professionals are employing measures for in-person showings that adhere to local health guidelines, promote social distancing, and respect their clients’ personal preferences. For example, during scheduled showings, potential buyers may be asked to wear a face mask or covering and gloves, remove shoes or add protective booties, and use hand sanitizer. Owners may ask that no surfaces are touched— a request that works better if they leave all lights on and keep closet doors open.
Leaning on Technology
Agents are using technology to facilitate nearly every aspect of real estate transactions, including client communications and property showings. For example, if you prefer no in-person showings, talk to your agent about virtual options like 3D virtual tours or virtual open houses. These technologies come much closer to replicating an in-person experience (versus only offering property photos). As a buyer, you may want to request a virtual property tour, where your agent uses a live video service like FaceTime to walk through a home on your behalf, providing a closer look at various features, like the views from windows or the property’s landscaping. While phone calls, email, and text messages have long been popular communication tools, ask your agent about video conferencing options. They’re often a better way to discuss important topics when in-person meetings are difficult or undesirable.
Technology is also playing a pivotal role in managing transaction paperwork, security deposits, loan applications, closing documents, and more, reducing or eliminating the need for in-person contact. For example, you might be able to attend the closing in your car in a parking lot. Your contact will be minimal, similar to using curbside pickup services.
On a Positive Note
In most markets, inventories are low, and home prices have remained stable. Additionally, mortgage interest rates are at historically low levels. These factors contribute to a solid real estate market and make it a desirable time to buy or sell a home.