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Despite the ongoing coronavirus health crisis in America, many people are still opting to move.
Perhaps your job requires relocation or your lease is about to end. Interest rates are low, too, so maybe you’ve decided it’s a great time to get that dream house you’ve been eyeing. Whatever the reason, sometimes finding a new place to live can’t be put on hold. What’s the best and safest way to go about checking out properties amid COVID-19? Fortunately, savvy real estate agents are harnessing technology as well as their creativity to effectively show and sell properties during this unusual time.
In this article, we’ve compiled our best advice for homebuyers to safely explore real estate during the coronavirus pandemic.
Engage a well-informed real estate professional.
It’s always wise to have a knowledgeable agent working on your behalf, but it takes on new importance during the current health crisis. He or she should be well-versed on the current situation in your local community to offer the best guidance regarding safety protocols. This includes an awareness of all orders and restrictions happening in your area and how they impact the buying and selling process. Also, a reputable agent should be able to streamline the process so that you don’t have to worry about risky in-person tasks such as paperwork, showings, appraisals, and inspections. That means they should be willing to tour real estate on your behalf and fully versed in utilizing conferencing technology such as Zoom and Facetime to carry out showings and tours. This is in addition to adhering to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, including frequent hand washing and/or application of hand sanitizer, social distancing, and mask-wearing.
Browse properties online.
Rather than asking your agent to conduct virtual tours of multiple homes, narrow down your search online. Thanks to the many virtual real estate marketplaces that exist today, you can now check out properties right on your computer. These listings typically include detailed descriptions, an array of photos, and 3D tours that enable you to virtually navigate through the house to view the rooms and exterior as if you were there. In many cases, digital tools that allow you to take measurements of the home are even available.
Have your realtor perform a live virtual home tour.
With coronavirus precautions in place, you may not feel comfortable touring homes in person. If this is the case, request that your agent conduct a live virtual tour of the property. In this scenario, he or she walks through the home using a camera and video conferencing platform like FaceTime or Skype. This allows potential buyers to see and experience the home without having to physically be present. Unlike a pre-recorded virtual tour, a live walk-through provides an interactive experience and allows you to ask questions throughout the session.
Check out the neighborhood by car or on foot.
Has a property caught your eye? Get a feel for the neighborhood by taking a walking or driving tour. Visiting the community not only allows you to see the home’s exterior in person but also allows you to size up its surroundings. How accessible are desirable amenities such as shopping, dining, recreation, and schools? Conversely, be on the lookout for obvious property neglect, noisy neighbors, and bad pet owners. Scoping out the area is always a good idea, even when there isn’t a health crisis.
If you’re determined to tour the home in-person, follow these safety tips:
- Don’t go if you feel unwell. If you or someone in your home has a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or has been exposed to COVID-19, postpone the tour until you’re feeling better and/or have had a negative coronavirus test.
- Take your own car. Homebuyers often ride with their agents to view prospective properties, but for now, it’s safer to drive your vehicle.
- Wear protective shoe covers. If the home you’re touring provides shoe covers, make sure to use them. It will help prevent extra germs from tracking into the home and keeps you from bringing the germs with you when you leave.
- Be mindful of touching things in the home. Minimize your contact with doors and hand railings as much as possible. If you have to test a light switch, for example, wash your hands immediately after or use hand sanitizer. While many sellers provide it, it’s wise to bring a bottle of sanitizer. You might also consider wearing disposable gloves for further safety.
- Practice social distancing. Stay at least six feet away from your agent as they walk you through the home. And of course, wear a face mask at all times.
The COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t have to stop your search for the perfect home.
By relying on virtual home touring options, you can view them in detail without ever setting foot inside. And if you do attend an in-person tour, adopting strict safety measures protects you, as well as the sellers and your real estate agent.
Digital experiences and other workarounds can’t fully replace face-to-face home sales, but during the COVID-19 health crisis, they’re essential. If you have questions about the safety precautions for home tours or need assistance with a real estate transaction, please contact our experienced professionals.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for their industry-leading reliability and exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.