Real Estate and COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed the way the world does business, and with that- many changes in the real estate industry. More than ever the services of experienced real estate professionals are needed to navigate successfully through a real estate transaction.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I've heard about the process.
WHAT DO I DO NOW IF I WANT TO BUY A HOME?
One of the first steps in buying a home regardless of what is going on is to get pre-approval from a mortgage lender. Qualified borrowers are receiving some of the best interest rates for purchases and refi’s the industry has ever seen. It is highly recommend to give me a call if you need a recommendation for a good lender. Side note: many banks and lenders have tightened up underwriting guidelines, which means to make sure all of your paperwork is in proper order.
HOW DO I SEE HOMES FOR SALE?
The trends of viewing homes at least, initially, seems to be that buyers are going online to view properties using virtual tours, 3-dimensional tours and/or a virtual open houses as their initial viewing of the homes they like. After finding a property a potential buyer wants to view, they contact their agent. Prior to seeing a home in person, all buyers are required to wear a mask and sanitize prior to entering the property in person. Wear proper personal protective items such as face masks and gloves, and limit what you touch while viewing the home. The seller must leave the property during all showings.
HOW DO I MAKE AN OFFER? Writing and presenting of an offer on a home you want to purchase is largely unchanged. . Contingencies, inspections and close of escrow are still essential elements of the contract and will remain items that you and your agent will discuss in detail when writing your offer. Scheduling time to revisit the home, perform inspections, and sign closing documents are all items that your agent will coordinate with you during the escrow period. For the most part we are seeing escrow periods of between 21 and 30 days which is also very similar to what it was before the Coronavirus.
WHAT IF I WANT TO SELL MY HOUSE? Of course, if you are going to be selling a vacant home, the process is relatively straightforward with minimal risk to the sellers. If the home is occupied, the seller(s) must understand the risks and be comfortable with allowing people into their home. Of course, the people coming to see the home will be wearing face masks and proper PPE, but these measures do not necessarily eliminate all risk. It is also still necessary to get pre-sale inspections and properly prepare the home for market which may entail painting, replacing carpet, making various repairs, and allowing access for staging, photography, videography and virtual tours; and finally allowing agents and buyers to view the house once it is on the market.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MARKET MY HOME? Now more than ever high quality virtual marketing is the key to a listing, marketing and selling a home, successfully. Since I began building my virtual marketing and systems year ago in my career, I have the experience and knowledge needed to get the job done and get my sellers the highest possible price. I leverage all of the latest technology offering custom and creative online properly tours and virtual tours. I also have over a decade of experience in successfully marketing and gaining exposure to small businesses thus exponentially expanding the growth in the companies. I integrate high quality photography and video in conjunction with various social media platforms, lead generation services, websites, and a blog. Because of the extensive experience with virtual marketing, this, over the years, has built a large audience of potential buyers. This affords clients the best possible exposure and the ability to focus on a large audience of potential buyers in their specific market area.
CAN I BE PRESENT WHEN MY HOUSE IS BEING SHOWN? If the home isn't vacant, the homeowner is required to leave the during showings. During showings, the homeowners are not allowed to be in the home or anywhere on the property. I will be there to provide access to all agents and their clients, along with the appropriate procedures to tour the home safely. I will make sure the home is properly wiped down and disinfected prior to and after all showings, inspections, or whenever anyone goes into your home.
HAS THE ESCROW PROCESS CHANGED? Once your home is under contract (pending), we schedule times for the appraisal, additional inspections and buyer visits. I will be present to ensure that proper care is given to following all required safety and health protocols. When it comes time to sign off, you will schedule time with the title company and arrange the proper method to have you sign and notarize all necessary documents. Finally, at move out, it is important to make sure that the home is cleaned prior to transferring ownership to the buyer.
STATUS OF THE CURRENT MARKET? Surprisingly, the market in Central Arkansas and surrounding cities including Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Maumelle, Benton, Bryant, Alexander, etc have been very active across all price ranges. Overall, the changes that arise with COVID-19 seem to have motivated many buyers and sellers to make also make changes in their living situations. The housing demand is strong and inventory is low. Buyers are enjoying improved buying power due to low interest rates and, as a result, well priced homes selling quickly, often at or above the list price and often with multiple offers. Thus, turning the market in the seller's favor due to the heightened situation. In either case, people are making moves, and by the masses!
If you or anyone you know is thinking about buying or selling a home, please give me a call to discuss the details of your current situation, your concerns, and needs during this time.
River Rock Realty