Dear Claire: How Did COVID-19 Change Real Estate?
Adapting Real Estate Practices for Safety in a COVID-19 World
When I meet you or when we have buyers going through a listing, they have to wear masks, agents typically wear gloves, and I wear a mask pretty much constantly. I run around the house and wipe down things as you touch them or before you touch them. Typically, what we’re going to see on our listing side is a sign. It says, “Hey, this house has been cleaned and if you’re sick don’t enter or if you know of anyone that’s been sick don’t enter.”
We typically also have hand sanitizer on the premises so you can sanitize your hands as you walk in and walk out. Besides that, it’s all really pretty typical, however, there is a lot more involved.
A couple of other things when you’re a buyer: it’s really typical that sellers require that you give them a pre-approval before you see the house. The reason they’re doing that is for obviously the seller’s safety and frankly, to avoid having anyone that isn’t interested in buying the house in the property.
Additionally, one of the things we’re doing, especially on the listing side, is making sure that the buyer is interested, and we do that by giving them a 3D tour before they even come to the house. It’s this really crazy link where you can navigate through the house. It’s almost like a video game where you can turn around and walk through the house on your computer. So you have a really clear idea of what the actual house looks like when you’re inside of it, which is pretty cool.
Once we actually find you the house that you’re interested in buying on the buyer side, or on the seller side, once we find the person that’s going to buy your house, we do the same thing with all the precautions. Typically, inspectors aren’t allowed to have the buyers there during the inspection and of course, the sellers are not there when the inspector is inspecting the house. Typically, buyers are invited for the last hour of the inspection, but they have to be masked and typically they’re doing the summary outside.
As we truck along through the transaction at the end, there’s normally a bunch of paperwork for both the buyer and the seller to sign. It used to be signed at the title company. Nowadays, we typically have a mobile notary come to you, which I frankly think is kind of sweet so you can sign all the paperwork in the comfort of your own home.
On the selling side the other big change is that there are no open houses. Well, there are a few, but we haven’t been posting any because frankly, it’s not that safe for buyers, for sellers, or for me. We’re still under lockdown to the effect that we can’t have more than 10 people in a space at one time. It makes hosting an open house a lot more difficult.
Again, on the selling side, for scheduled showings we have a really cool app that we use to make sure no one’s in the house at the same time. Typically, people are bleach wiping themselves out of the property. So if there are multiple buyers looking at your house over a period of time, there will be someone bleach wiping it in between and will make sure everyone’s not on top of each other.
There are many ways open houses have changed, but at the end of the day it’s actually all very much the same, there’s just more gear.
Please reach out with any other questions you might have about this topic. I find it fascinating and it’s still changing every day because we are kind of reinventing the wheel here. Comment below if you have any additional questions you’d like me to talk about. It does not have to be COVID-related. I hope you have a great day.
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