Buying

Buying or Selling a Home During a Pandemic: What To Know

04.16.2020

Just as our daily lives have changed dramatically in the last few weeks, so too have real estate transactions. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have an impact on the process.

Fortunately, it’s possible to purchase a piece of property or put one on the market while respecting social-distancing rules. With a bit forethought and the right guidance, you can help ensure that your transaction is as safe as it is successful.

If you’re planning to buy or sell a home in the not-too-distant future, here’s what you should know…

How things have changed

In a relatively short time, health officials have asked us to stop gathering in groups, stay home unless absolutely necessary, and maintain a two-metre distance from one another in public. All non-essential businesses have closed, while seniors and those who are immunocompromised have been advised to self-isolate.

Needless to say, the government hasn’t enacted these measures lightly. The potential threat posed by COVID-19 is a serious one, and all community members—including home buyers and sellers—have a role to play in preventing the spread of the virus. That’s where safer showings come in. 

Home showings and social distancing

While open houses are currently out of the question, home showings will still necessary in many cases. No matter which side of the transaction you’re on, here are some tips for making the process work for you.

Advice for sellers

If you’re a seller, you may have concerns about buyers entering your home. While it’s true that COVID-19 can linger on surfaces, a responsible agent will dramatically reduce any potential risk of that happening. 

The first thing to know is that virtual tours can be incredibly effective. The right technology will offer buyers a clear overall view of your property, providing them with a truly immersive experience that highlights its best features.

When a qualified buyer wants to see your home in person, they should undergo a vetting process that will include screening questions and consent forms. Immediately prior to the showing, the agent on the transaction should prepare your home by opening all doors and closets to minimize contact. Afterward, they should disinfect doorknobs, light switches, and other surfaces they may have touched. 

If you have any questions about these safety precautions, don’t hesitate to ask your agent.

Advice for buyers

As a buyer, you should be prepared to view a property virtually before you consider setting up an in-person tour. If you do schedule a viewing, be aware that only those whose names will be on the purchase contract should be in attendance.  

Before your tour, you should expect to answer questions about potential COVID-19 symptoms, recent travel, and the people with whom you’ve had contact in the last couple of weeks. You’ll also be presented with disclosure and consent forms—and you should read them carefully before signing. 

Most likely, you’ll be provided with hand-sanitizing products prior to entering a home. In general, you should practice thorough hand washing before and after your tour, and be mindful not to touch anything while you’re inside. 

Reducing the risk at every step

Of course, there’s more to buying or selling a home than a successful tour. Whether you’re communicating with an agent, reviewing advice from legal counsel, or signing paperwork, there are many steps in a typical real estate transaction. Fortunately, technology can help eliminate the need for face-to-face contact. 

From virtual-staging and video-conferencing platforms to digital document-signing apps, embracing the right tools is the key to buying or selling a home successfully. Your agent can help you navigate the process in the safest, most straightforward way possible. 

Above all, it’s important to adopt the right mindset. Making a major life transition may be one of your biggest priorities, but it can’t come before your health or the safety of your community.

Have questions about real estate in the current climate? Reach out to learn more about buying or selling a home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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