COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR BUYERS
We are living in unprecedented times. Efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19 have led to rapid changes in the way the real estate industry conducts business. Technologies like Zoom and Facetime have been around for some time, but seemingly overnight, they jumped to the mainstream. To keep everyone as safe as possible, guidelines have been mandated by the state of Louisiana as well as by individual parishes. Here’s what you should expect throughout the process.
While in-person meetings are still possible as long as safety protocols are followed, we understand that you may be uncomfortable going this route. We can meet face-to-face virtually via Zoom and still have the ability to review the home buying process together, assess your wants and needs, answer any questions, and go into the MLS together to set up your property search. All paperwork can be signed electronically throughout the process and we can always hop on the phone or Zoom to review it together before you sign.
Although restrictions have loosened up since the initial stay-home orders, there is still some anxiety for people when it comes to allowing strangers into their private domain. Obviously, sellers recognize that they need to provide access to their home, but you should be aware of some differences in the process. There is currently a state mandate that masks be worn in public, so please expect to wear a mask the entire time you are in someone else’s home. The seller may also request that we don’t touch anything in the house. If so, they will likely leave all lights on and doors open before we get there, or they may be present for the showing to open doors for us. Initially, it’s best to limit the viewings to the main decision-makers. Once we narrow down to our final choices, we can revisit those with other family members if necessary.
Video and 3-D tours allow buyers to view properties from a safe distance. This is always an option for you. If the listing agent does not provide a video in the property listing, your agent can record a video walkthrough of the house (with seller’s permission) or do a live feed via Zoom or Facetime.
Agents are allowed to hold open houses at this time, although many are choosing not to or being asked not to by their sellers. If you do attend one, you should expect these safety guidelines. Wear a mask the entire time. Limit the number of people in your party to the main decision-makers. Utilize hand sanitizer if provided. Don’t be surprised if the agent insists on getting your contact information. The agent may also limit the total number of people allowed in the house at one time to ensure that proper distancing is possible. Please understand that agents are required to follow state and local guidelines based on the current recovery phase in order to be allowed to do business.
Most inspectors are currently asking that no one be present for the home inspection. They are also utilizing virtual apps to review the report with buyers at the end of the inspection. If at all, they may allow you to come in at the very end of their inspection to review it in person, but mask and distancing protocols must be followed.
Although we find that most buyers still want to do an in-person final walkthrough before the closing, we can do this for you virtually if you prefer.
Procedures may vary between title companies, but they all have the same goal of providing a safe closing experience that makes all parties comfortable. If you do not want to attend a traditional closing with all parties sitting around a conference table, there are options. The parties can come in separately. You can opt to give power of attorney (if allowed by lender). You can even stay in your car.
Our network of agents and vendors want to keep you safe and comfortable. We want you to feel free to share any concerns you have throughout the entire process. Even if we need to get creative, we will find a way through any situation together.