Let me first say that I want everyone to stay safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. I believe sheltering in place is an effective way to flatten the curve and think people need to take social distancing seriously. I do however understand that some people can’t put their real estate transactions on hold. Maybe you need to move for a job or you were mid transaction when this started. No matter the reason, here are some ways to stay safe during the home buying and selling process.
Listing Your Home:
- Choose your realtor carefully. Ask them how they are dealing with safety precautions both in dealing with you and potential buyers. Realtors should be able to meet with you over Google Hangout, FaceTime, Zoom or some sort of video meeting platform. They should also be able to do all paperwork electronically including signatures. If you aren’t comfortable with that technology, they should have a Dropbox for you to drop signed paperwork in. Make sure they are implementing safety procedures found in the next bulletin point.
- Implement Safe Home Showings. Your realtor should provide a video home tour for buyers and only do in person showings if the buyer is pre qualified and has a high interest. They should limit the showing to one or two people…no kids, parents or friends. Potential buyers should wear masks and use hand sanitizer before entering. Your Realtor should have all closet doors, a few cabinets, basement doors all open so buyers don’t need to touch anything in the home. I recommend you let at least a half an hour pass after the showing is over before re-entering the home.
Buying a Home:
- Use the above guidelines for finding a realtor and showings. Request video showings of properties you are interested in to narrow down your search. Only request in person showings if absolutely necessary and then be diligent in your safety precautions. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer both before and immediately after you leave. Wear a mask and gloves. Don’t touch anything in the home. Request that the realtor opens any doors you need open. Practice social distancing from the realtor. Request they stay 6-10 feet away during the showing.
- You will need to hire or deal with people through this process. You will need a home inspector, lender, title company, pest inspector, radon testing, and possibly more. Try to limit the number of parties involved by finding people that handle multiple tasks. For example, I do radon testing, home inspection and pest inspection. It’s safer to have one person going into the home rather than 3. Ask your lender and title company if they can do remote closings and if paperwork can be signed electronically. Be diligent about social distancing and have remote meetings whenever possible.
- Hopefully you’ve had a safe and successful transaction and were able to remote close on your new home. You may want to hire movers instead of doing it yourself or relying on friends and family. Go through the same vetting process with moving companies. Ask if everyone on their team has been ill? Will they wear gloves and masks? Can paperwork and payment be done electronically? If at all possible, wait a day or two between former owners moving out and you moving in. Prior to movers moving in, disinfect counters, keys, garage remotes, door knobs, sink faucets and anything else that may be a commonly touched area.
It is unfortunately a scary time to buy or sell a home. Hopefully these safety precautions can help you get through the process without any issues.
We at Advanced home Inspections want to make sure we do our part in making your transaction safe. We completed certification on how to handle inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic through our association, international Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
Here are a few helpful links to assist you. Stay healthy and safe.