Can Selling a Home be Safe During COVID-19?
By Katie Wainman | April 14, 2020
On a normal day, in a normal world, selling a home can be a hassle. On top of that, now you have to factor in that the world seems to have been turned upside down. The question isn’t simply if you can sell your home during COVID-19; After all, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has deemed real estate an essential service, although local laws may differ. Rather, the question is, can you sell your home safely?
The answer is yes. Thanks to technology and the adaptability of real estate brokerages and agents, selling a home can be done safely during this strange time and here’s how:
Phone calls and video chats have been a life-saver for families and friends during these past couple of months. It is the only safe way to have interaction with others. Thankfully, that applies for the real estate industry as well. Any questions, comments or concerns that you have can still be communicated with your Realtor by using the right technology!
The implementation of virtual showings has been one of the biggest changes to the industry. Realtors have discovered ways to show houses to potential buyers without the buyer stepping foot inside the home and risking contamination.
A virtual showing may be a video chat (via Zoom, Facetime, etc.) with a buyer, where the seller or the Realtor walks through the home while on the call. It might also be a pre-recorded video or a series of 3-D photos that buyers can look at.
Virtual showings can prevent unnecessary traffic into the home and even weed out unrealistic buyers before they request an in-person showing.
Minimal-Contact Inspections and Appraisals
Inspections and appraisals would normally require face-to-face contact, but now these can also be done with minimal-to-no contact with the homeowners.
Depending on what lenders are allowing, many appraisers are going to homes and taking photos from the sidewalk or car. They then use special software, algorithms and data to determine a proper estimate for the home’s value.
Inspectors are also being encouraged to go through the home by themselves, while wearing proper safety gear to complete an inspection. Detailed reports can then be delivered and reviewed digitally.
Safety Precautions Taken by Realtors
Although virtual showings have been an asset, unfortunately they cannot completely replace the experience of a buyer viewing your home in-person. In cases where the buyer wants to physically see the home (most likely after they already had a virtual tour and are serious about buying the home), Realtors have extended their services to ensure that safety procedures are being utilized.
Many Realtors have put together “showing-kits”, consisting of sanitizer, wipes, shoe covers, masks, etc., to provide to potential buyers. Sellers are also advised to sanitize any common surfaces, such as countertops and handles, to leave the lights on, and to leave open cabinets and closet doors so that the buyer will not have to touch those themselves.
Closings used to consist of the buyer, seller and both of their Realtors and attorneys sitting around a table ready to sign all of the necessary documents. Now, it is required that only the buyer and seller be involved. Some companies are allowing buyers and sellers to come into the office at different times to sign. They would then verbally confirm their signatures with a notary, while following social distancing guidelines. In other circumstances, companies will bring the documents out to the buyer and seller’s vehicles to sign instead.
Selling is not only possible, but it is possible to sell safely. The advice given above may differ depending on location and company policies, so it is important to check with your local government to know what is “essential” and to virtually keep in touch with your Realtor to ensure that all safety guidelines can be met.
For more advice during the buying/selling process, please visit www.crye-leike.com/blogs.
ABOUT CRYE-LEIKE: Crye-Leike Real Estate Services (www.crye-leike.com), a full service real estate company for over 40 years, is ranked as the third largest independently owned real estate firm in the nation and the largest serving Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and the Mid-South. Crye-Leike has more than 3,200 sales associates, over 800 employees and 140+ company-owned and franchise offices spread across nine states. It generated $6.5 billion in sales volume and 29,925 closed transaction sides corporate wide in 2019 – its biggest year ever – and is on track to achieve the company’s goal of $6.8 billion in sales volume this year.