Social Distancing During The Home Buying/Selling Process

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Published date: Apr 02, 2020
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Being a homeowner after many years of moving from one rental to another is probably one of greatest accomplishments a person can feel. Also, during our lifetime we will be faced with the decision of selling our homes for various reasons. Maybe you want to move out to a more family-friendly place, or you want to be closer to your family and friends, maybe it’s the job opportunities that intrigue you.

Whatever your reasons are, at some point you will have to go through the process of home buying or selling. This can be daunting at first but it is very rewarding once you see yourself in a new home, the home you always dreamed of. 

The home buying/selling process can be even more challenging nowadays now that we are facing the coronavirus epidemic. The quarantine situation and the social distancing is making things way harder for home buyers or sellers in these troubled times. Whatever our hopes for a future home are, you won't be able to enjoy it if you're in a poor health condition.

That is why safety and well-being come first, both for you and others around you. Because we believe you should not miss out on some of the most important moments of your life, we have some good news for you. Buying or selling a home is now possible in spite of the outbreak of coronavirus if you follow these steps that will make social distancing possible while closing the deal.

Go online with the home buying/selling process

The home buying/selling process is made a lot easier nowadays thanks to the internet. With so many listing sites and online contacts, it’s easier than ever to list your home for sale or find a top real estate agent to do it for you. For a long time now the real estate industry has been relying on online marketing.

This is great since most home buyers are searching online for their future home and they sort their options using online listing websites. A 2018 real estate report said that back in 1981, 22 percent of buyers read newspaper ads to find homes, and 8 percent got information about homes for sale from their friends.

Nowadays about 45 percent look for properties online first. During the epidemic, we can see the advantages of modern marketing vs old-school marketing. With the help of online listings and virtual tours, home buyers can now narrow down their search to a selected few in order to save time. This is a huge advantage during a quarantine situation when social distancing is advised.

Virtual open house tours and showings

virtual technology concept

With the coronavirus spreading globally the real estate is impacted in such a way that both buyers as well as sellers are increasingly canceling open houses. Standard property showings are no longer a viable option since social distancing is advised. More home buyers avoid standard property showings, or want to be reassured about their safety.

 The risk factors make people more cautious therefore many consider canceling open houses. Agents working with home sellers are now encouraged to propose alternative marketing strategies such as video tours and other virtual methods for touring a property.

Also, home buyers are more hesitant when it comes to standard property showings which is understandable. That's why some might prefer to view the property remotely via a video tour. If however home showings are pushed by the buyers a showing can be scheduled not without taken into account safety first. Sanitized contact points throughout the house and hand sanitizer are a good way to make the buyer feel more comfortable. Also, limiting showings to maybe one per day can be a good way to keep everything in control and everyone safe.

During this time agents found out that hosting open houses virtually is a lot more appealing for home buyers. It’s not the same as being present but, it works given the current situation. Many real estate agents and brokers offer remote 3-D tours as well as conducting virtual tours via video chat or facetime. Although, many don't recommend the last since they say it makes the place look a lot smaller.

Although, if a home buyer is looking for a home on the more expensive side of things, in-person house tour might be pushed on the agent as well as the seller. Hosting an open house for a luxury property might be inevitable, so be prepared to take all the necessary safety measures and make sure to check the local areas quarantine measures to make sure visiting a home for sale is permitted.

Remotely closing on home deals

Also, if you rather not meet others except when necessary, real estate agents and brokers provide their customers with means of closing online. Home buyers, as well as sellers, can now complete every part of their contract online. Agents say that they can let home buyers see a home, bid on it and close on it, all virtually which makes it advantageous during times when social distancing is advised.

For example, Redfin offers fully digital closings that allow for customers to close on home deals completely online. Another advantage in regards to the online closing is the fact that you no longer have to go through the tedious process of signing piles of paper. Online closing is made much easier and faster. 

Now all you have to do is decide if you want to sign while you're in your pajamas, during your lunch break, or maybe while you're on vacation. All you would need is a good internet connection and a webcam. What used to take hours can now be done in under an hour. Closing real estate deals is now more accessible than ever thanks to virtual tech, therefore it is the perfect way to avoid contact with other people during quarantine and social distancing.

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What are home buyers looking for during a pandemic

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The real estate stage has seen quite a bit of change during these times both from the sellers and buyers perspective. We see deals fall-apart very quickly, and people that are ready to write an offer walk away. Fear as well as awareness are the determinant factors for people turning down deals.

If you can get over these hurdles it might actually be a great time for sellers because of the low inventory. Home buyers can take advantage of low-interest rates. A good home that is priced well will sell for sure according to many real estate agents. 

Showings have reduced significantly with the recommendation to stay home but agents suggest not to take your property off the market. Now with the social distancing people have more time than ever to search for homes while they are stuck at home.

With these real estate trends that spread faster than the pandemic sellers can easily find buyers for their listed properties. But what exactly are home buyers looking for? Is the pandemic shifting home buyer’s interest and tastes in terms of housing in a different direction? Here are a couple of things that might intrigue a home buyer and end up in closing the deal.

  1. The first thing that agents might ask a home buyer that is prospecting a new home is “Can you see yourself living here during a quarantine?”. With the current situation of the epidemic in the USA, a lockdown might occur if the disease spreads at a fast rate. So home buyers are definitely concerned about how well will they cope with staying indoors for long periods of time.
  2. With that being said there are a couple of features that would make life easier during quarantine times. There are pros and cons to installing an in-ground swimming pool at your home. Given the current situation with the pandemic, this could be the perfect place to spend time during quarantine.
  3. Catching up with some of your favorite TV shows and movies is a great way to go over quarantine times. That’s why home buyers would prefer homes with features such as a theater room. If you don't have one, it isn't too late to consider building the ultimate theater room that will definitely sell your home in no time.
  4. A man cave is definitely going to be very appealing for the male home buyer especially during quarantine. On the other hand the female side is going to find a she shed very comforting during a lockdown. While she shed vs man cave are very different in terms of design and things that are held within, consider having them both in order to increase your reach.
  5. Did you know that colors impact our lives in ways you never thought possible? Vibrant, bright colors such as yellow and green can make you feel energetic and full of life. On the other hand dark shades and neutral colors such as black, grey, brown can cause depression, anxiety, and discomfort. In a time of quarantine, you want to aim for more vibrant colors to make home buyers feel energetic and full of life indoors.
  6. Last but not least would a glass of Cabernet make you feel better at any point during the isolation. Or wait! Are you a white wine drinker? A Chardonnay perhaps? A desert type of wine, like a Port wine, will surely lift up your spirit! With a wine cellar in your home, it’s hard to make up your mind which type of wine suits you best. This feature will definitely please home buyers.

Safety tips for home buyers/sellers and agents

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As we all know the outbreak of coronavirus already caused damage and it is in our best interest to stop the spreading of it by being socially responsible. Without a cure for it yet and because of how contagious it is, the best thing to do is to social engineer our behavior to stop it from spreading.

The virus can last on surfaces such as copper for up to 4 hours and up to 24 hours on cardboard. On stainless steel and plastic it can last for up to three days. It is well known by now that it spreads mostly through droplets. That’s why measures such as social distancing and isolation have been taken in order to prevent it from spreading further. Hand sanitizing is very important as well therefore, being aware of all these things is crucial in times like this.

The real estate industry is definitely affected by it, but the social awareness and distancing is a small price to pay for our well-being and those around us. In spite of the pandemic, here are a couple of safety tips that home buyers, sellers, and agents should follow in order to keep themselves safe and the others around them.

The gravity of the pandemic is in all of our hands both literally and figuratively. There is a lot of emphasis put on keeping our hands clean and for good reason. Wash your hands thoroughly each time you have the opportunity and avoid touching your face.

  • If home showings can not be avoided, then sanitizing contact points such as door handles and stair rails. 
  • Keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer close to the entrance during an open home tour is a necessity and it comforts the buyers thus giving the agent an advantage if he wants to close the deal.
  • Common practices such as handshakes and holding, hugs or holding the door for someone as trivial as they might seem they should be avoided in this context.
  • Schedule appointments for in-person meetings and limit the number of persons in the room. If possible avoid face to face meetings
  • Keep a safe distance from other people and agents should consider limiting home showings to one per day.
  • Finally, respect the laws and regulations imposed by the local authorities that are meant to keep the community safe.

 

The real estate market scene has changed during the outbreak of coronavirus. Restrictions imposed by authorities are hurting the economy of the country in many areas including real estate. But, the quarantine, as well as the social distancing, is for the greater good and the well-being of the population.

With mindfulness and awareness the opportunity for home buyers or sellers to close a deal is still possible but in different terms. The process of closing a deal is going in a different direction that is beneficial for all parties involved in order to provide both healthy people and businesses.

Practicing social distancing during the home selling/buying process can be easy if you follow these simple steps. Paying attention to the changing real estate landscape will ensure that closing deals will remain consistent no matter what. If this article helped you, let us know in the comment section below what you think.

 

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