For the most part, the coronavirus pandemic has radically changed how the real estate industry functions. With that in mind, even as states are beginning to slowly reopen, potential buyers should expect a slightly different house hunting experience than they would have had before the virus began to spread.
To that end, I’ve brought you a list of tips for house hunting during the pandemic. Read them over so that you have a better idea of what to expect as you begin to tour homes and put in offers.
Use video tours to limit your exposure
For a while, in-person showings were prohibited in several states and buyers who wanted to put in offers during that time were limited to taking video tours of homes. While video tours are not your only option any more, they’re still a handy tool to use. Put simply, you can use them to help you rule out potential listings and limit your exposure by only seeing a few of your top-choice listings in person.
When combined with listing photos, video tours can help give you a fairly decent sense of the property, including its condition and its layout. Odds are, if you aren’t in love with the property after taking a video tour, you won’t be impressed when you see it in real life.
You may need to fill out paperwork before going on showings
Second, be prepared to fill out some some sort of paperwork before going on any showings. While each state is setting its own guidelines regarding real estate practices, many states are having buyers fill out new forms related to the virus.
Some states are having buyers fill out a type of heath questionnaire that certifies that they are not having any symptoms. Other states are having them sign paperwork that says that they understand that going on a showing presents a possible risk for transmission.
Your real estate agent will likely know what, if any, paperwork is required in your state. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of him or her if you don’t understand what you are signing.
Keep your time table flexible
Next, you may need to be a bit more flexible with your time table than you were before the spread of the virus. Some states have rules in place that stipulate that showings need to be spread out in order to reduce the risk of transmission. In short, you may not be able to see the home at the exact time you’re hoping for and you may need to accommodate certain time frames.
That said, it’s important to keep that flexibility throughout the home-buying process. As states reopen, many real estate agents and mortgage professionals are dealing with a major influx of business. While they’re working to meet your needs, you may need to be a little more flexible with them than usual as they navigate these busy times.
Bring your own mask
It almost goes without saying, but it is a good practice to wear mask during showings. Your real estate agent will likely be wearing one as well. Not only will you likely be unable to effectively social distance from each other during showings, but you’ll also want to reduce your risk of potentially spreading something to the homeowners as well.
If, for some reason, you are unable to wear a mask, let your real estate agent know that ahead of time. He or she has the right to know, personally, and it may also need to be reported to the sellers.
If you like it, be prepared to go in strong
Lastly, if you find a home you like, be prepared to make a strong offer on it. Many real estate markets across the country are experiencing an intense influx of buyers right now. Not only is it time for the spring market, but may buyers who put off their home searches during the worst of the pandemic have recently decided to start looking again.
To put it mildly, you’ll likely be up against a lot of competition, so if you like a property, put your best foot forward.