Covid 19 and real estate. What can I say? I can tell you how I feel and I will. The decision whether to move now is ultimately yours. Let’s look at things for residential buyers and sellers. Please understand that this is my view. There are others with different views of how to proceed of course.
What is a virtual showing? The truth is that we’ve been doing this for years. Weichert has been promoting professional 3D Matterport tours for a very long time now. Many others call photograph slideshows a virtual tour but that really isn’t it. Here is an example for you to check out I did for a listing. As you can see, it’s quite literally a walk through the house.
Virtual tours are nothing new for us. There are others using video but customers really like Matterport 3D tours. This is because it gives them full control. They can go back and forth as they wish and zoom in on a specific part of the house.
Having a good floor plan is also something we’ve been doing for years. Today it’s more important than ever since Covid 19 entered our world. A good floor plan helps you understand a home’s flow and figure out furniture placement.
We didn’t need New Jersey to tell us to stop open houses. Weichert did that early on along with limitations on how people are allowed in a house. New Jersey Realtors has a web page on this that will most likely answer all your questions. Only very serious buyers should be considered with strong behavior restrictions.
This means only 1 buyer at a time (immediate family OK) and the seller is out of the house. CDC protocols must be observed along with New Jersey’s. The seller should open all closet doors, some kitchen cabinets etc. so that no one needs to touch anything.
Home Inspectors and Appraisers
There are typically 2 contingencies in a sales contract – the home inspection and mortgage. While buyers are usually at their home inspections, only the inspector is allowed to come now. Sellers have to be out then too.
Mortgages require that both buyer and house meet the bank’s requirements. The buyer does this by income, credit score, etc. Appraisals are how a house does it. Normally appraisers go inside to inspect and measure. Because of Covid 19, inspectors are no longer required to do this. As a result, appraisers must rely on MLS and online information.
You need to have a walk through inspection before closing on your home. This is to make sure everything is as it’s supposed to be. No one but the buyer and their attorney need go to the closing with the settlement agent (often the title company). Banks still need original signatures on documents. As a result closings are not done remotely so far.
Does This Work For Covid 19 and Real Estate Concerns?
Yes it can and for many people it does. Every day homes come on the market and homes are sold. Whether or not you choose to become active is entirely up to you. It is your decision.
Many homes are being sold entirely remotely. In plain English, through the internet with no actual showings. I would suggest doing it this way:
Once you’re in Attorney Review, see the house then. I know that articles are in the web advising buyers to do this at the home inspection so they can be there with their inspector too. This is a mistake because it hurts both buyer and seller. Taking a home off the market for weeks isn’t fair to the seller. Having a buyer pay for a home inspection on a house they may not buy isn’t fair either.
Additionally the contract should include that the house is disinfected by a cleaning company for closing. Regardless I’d have my own company disinfect the house immediately after closing and then move into it.
The Bottom Line
As a result of all the above, the answer is Yes to Covid 19 and real estate. You can buy and sell a home now. Should you? I would wait if you don’t have to move because I can not guarantee your safety 100%. It’s not fun for me to tell you this but it’s my best advice. If you don’t have to move now, don’t risk it. Nothing is worth it.
Hopefully you will call upon me when this is over. Meanwhile I will keep you fully updated on the market. If, however, you choose to move on, I will do my very best for you as always. We will just do everything remotely. Questions? Call or text at 201-741-8490 and Stay Safe!