Like many other aspects of life during the coronavirus pandemic, the home-buying process has changed dramatically. In some cities, it’s no longer allowed to physically tour a home, and can even lead to strict fines if you’re found to even encourage physical tours. The level of public health order differs in each state, however (and sometimes in each city), so be sure you’re following local public health guidelines.
But don’t worry, if you are under stay-at-home orders, or if you simply want to be extra cautious about letting people enter your house right now, there are lots of options available to you. City governments and the residential real estate market are all proving to be pretty nimble and flexible in these changing times. For instance, many title companies have already adapted to provide drive-by closings or even virtual closings, utilizing DocuSign software and secure websites to handle all the personal due diligence and contracts. Some city governments have even removed the stipulation for an in-person notary at the time of closing, allowing you to be completely remote for all aspects of the transaction. As for showings, video call software is available to anyone with a cell phone and internet connection and gives you plenty of options for remote tours. So don’t worry, you can absolutely still sell your home without letting a bunch of strangers traipse through it, and you can close with very little in-personal contact. Here’s how to get started:
1. Do your research. There is no end to web information on COVID-19 and how it is affecting residential real estate. Review articles and real estate websites that provide the latest information on guidelines for your area. Find articles (like this one) from homeowners who have successfully sold homes during this pandemic to see how they did it. Check in with a real estate agent (or two or three) to see what they recommend. They’ll also be able to tell you what the current city/state requirements are for real estate.
2. Decide what you are most comfortable with. Remember, this is *your* house – you get to decide how to show it. So do your research to gather all the options, and then do a gut-check to see what really matters to you right now for your family and your specific circumstance.
3. Move forward. Once you’ve decided what is most important to you, select a real estate agent that supports your needs and concerns, and move forward with a plan to list your home!
For a personal experience from a real homeowner, read “How I sold my home using ZOOM during the coronavirus lock-down” and "What a house closing looks like during stay-at-home orders"