Americans are still buying new homes but others are rethinking their plans. Some are moving to find better employment opportunities. 16% of Americans have temporarily relocated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many millennials have recently moved back in with their parents. About 26% of Americans said COVID has caused them to consider moving permanently and 45% of the 26% were laid-off. Others are postponing or canceling their moves. The most common reason was the inability to tour new places due to restrictions and their states stay-at-home orders.
For those of you that are moving or considering moving it is important to be prepared for some of the new guidelines and systems in place. Because every state is in a different stage of reopening it is difficult to give one set of processes that fits everywhere. Your best resource will be your real estate agent or the title company located in the area you are planning to buy.
Using the internet to search for homes has not changed much but you will find many more virtual tours or showings available these days. Some of you can make a decision based on a virtual walk through and buy and close without ever visiting the property but most people still need or want to see a property in person before they are willing to buy. I would fall into the category of the person that needs to see the property. I need to see the neighborhood or neighbors, the entrance to the community or building, the surrounding area, the feel of the entire location and pictures or videos can’t tell the whole story.
The next challenge is if your move is out of state, traveling to the city or town you plan to buy in will be the first hurdle to overcome. Driving is the easiest if you are within range and if not and you need to fly take all the necessary precautions and bring your facemask and hand sanitizer. Where will you stay? Many hotels are open again so call ahead and plan on the same precautions as when you flew. Bring all your PPE Personal Protective Equipment.
Once you have overcome the challenges of traveling then you can look forward to some newly adopted guidelines when looking at homes. Most are requiring you to wear masks, booties, & gloves when looking at homes. You will not be allowed to use the restroom. For the home seller wanting to show their home, you could have several people touring your home from out of state or that have been on an airplane or in confined areas with many other people. Be prepared to clean and disinfect after each showing and open windows and doors so you freshen the air inside your home. Most agents and home shoppers are very respectful of the environment we live in and have done a good job following the guidelines.
You will find some new things at the title company, some are offering curbside closings, and some are starting to have inside appointments but usually only the buyers can be present. Some banks are even starting to accept “RON” or Remote Online Notary. If you are paying cash you may want to use DocuSign which is a secure way to sign remotely without having to leave the comfort of home. Much of the closing process can be done through your computer or remotely ahead of time. Always check with your local Real Estate professional to see what is allowed in your area. Make sure to allow for more time to close because these processes can slow the process down a bit. Many people say that the new processes are somewhat easy to manage and didn’t mind curbside closings or doing more online processes when buying or selling their homes.
We hope this gives you a few things to think about when shopping or buying a new home in the time of Covid 19.