As you are certainly aware the CoronaVirus (Covid19) is causing a dramatic change in the way we all interact and complete business. The CDC and most local governments are now requiring that you stay in your home unless you must accomplish an essential task. If you must go out to you should continue to practice social distancing which means to keep a minimum of 6 feet away from other people. You should of course continue to practice washing your hands often and cover your nose and mouth if you have to sneeze or cough. All things you have undoubtedly heard what may seem like thousands of times over the last few weeks. I know I have.
What does this mean for real estate? Real Estate transactions are considered essential during this pandemic. That means that you may continue to market your home for sale and you may continue to shop for a home if you are looking to buy. However, expect delays in the process. Transactions are still being completed but there are impacts to showings, title searches, financing, appraisals, and the actual closing appointment. Several of these tasks are being completed by people that are now working from home.
As a buyer the way you shop for a home should change slightly during this time. You should check to see if a virtual showing is available for the home you may be interested in prior to requesting an appointment to visit the home in person. Also, you should get to know the neighborhood and area you are looking into and perform a “drive-by” prior to requesting an in-home showing appointment. These 2 tips will help to continue social distancing and also reduce the possibility of spreading the virus to the sellers’ home and reduce your chances of exposure if someone in the home is not feeling well. Once you have determined that the home is definitely a possibility then you can contact your Realtor and request a showing appointment. You should expect the sellers’ agent to ask if you are prequalified and have performed a drive-by and or viewed any virtual tour that may be available. Once at the home try to have as little impact on the property as possible. It would be best if you removed your shoes at the entryway and refrain from touching any personal property.
As a seller, we recommend that you have your Realtor create a great virtual tour that can be shared with prospective buyers. This will help the buyer determine if your house is a strong possibility and reduce the impact that multiple showings will have on your health and cleanliness of your home. We also recommend that your agent prequalifies all buyers that request an appointment to view your home in person. This would include making sure that they have the financing or funds available to purchase your home, sending out the aforementioned virtual tour and doublechecking that the buyer has had a chance to view it and asking if they have performed a drive-by viewing of the home. Another great idea would be to ask your Realtor to host a video-chat with the buyer and/or buyer agent instead of an in-person showing.
The good news is that it is still a great time to buy and sell residential real estate. If you are looking to sell, buyers are still out there looking for homes. If you are in the market for a new home, inventory in the Tampa Bay area is still low but we can help you find a great new home. Mortgage rates are still at record lows. Builders are still building. Agents are still working hard. Title offices and attorneys are still working to complete transactions. We will continue to have a strong economy after this setback.
We all must adapt to stop the spread of this virus as quickly as possible so that we can get back to “normal” soon. By the end of the “Stay at Home” order, we are certain that you will either love your home or be ready for a new one. We will be here to help you sell and find the next place to hang your hat. As always, we are excited about the real estate market and we are here to help with any real estate needs or questions you may have.