Covid-19 has created an additional set of challenges to the process of buying and selling real estate. Through careful consideration, due diligence and research, we have devised a strategy that we hope addresses some concerns about transacting real estate during this pandemic.
For All Clients
For over a decade, we have utilized e-signature programs and electronic transaction management and that will continue. The in-person aspect of client meetings are being moved to Zoom or Face time (whichever the preference of the client) to ensure that our clients needs are being met and there is full understand of the real estate transaction.
Listing consultations can take place either over an electronic means or in person, as the client feels comfortable. During any in-home visits, PPE and sanitizer will be utilized for the safety of all attendees.
For Home Sellers
Some homeowners will make the decision to not transact real estate at this time, which is perfectly reasonable and understandable. However, some homeowners need to sell and for them and, as we are in a housing shortage in the Charlotte area, this market remains very favorable for most Sellers. We have modified our practices to ensure the safety of occupants (whether that’s homeowners or tenants) as follows:
Our marketing plan has always been heavily online targeted as 95% of Buyers are searching online to buy a home (not sure who the other 5% are). To that end, our marketing plan has been expanded to include:
- Detailed floor plans of each home with room measurements
- Immersive 3-D tours to allow prospective Buyers to walk through the property before touring in person
- Walk-through video tour of each property
In-person tours or showings will be limited only to prospective Buyers that are pre-approved for financing or are paying cash and have provided a proof of funds. This will limit the number of not-ready purchasers but will not turn off any qualified prospects.
Also, in-person tours will no longer overlap. Each tour will last for a maximum of 1 hour and there will be a gap between appointments. Most importantly, all touring persons (agents and their clients) are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the duration of their appointment. Masks are required and gloves are at the discretion of the owner / occupant.
All properties will be provided a bottle of sanitizer that occupants will be asked to use prior to entering if they elect not to wear gloves.
To limit the amount of contact within the home, owner / occupants should leave all of the interior lights on, blinds open, and closet doors slightly ajar prior to the in-person tour appointment.
Finally, we are requesting that only the Buyer(s) and their agent attend any in-person showings. This means no children, friends or pets (yes – some people to bring their pets) as a way to limit the number of people in and out of the property.
Home Inspections and Appraisals
At the guidance of the Mecklenburg County Health Director, we are asking that only the inspector attend the home inspection for the duration of the inspection. The agent may attend at the end to catch up on the findings but we are asking that the Buyer not attend during this step.
The Buyer and Seller can agree to allow the Buyer to attend at the Seller’s discretion but with keeping with the guidelines of allowing reasonable access as listed in the North Carolina Offer to Purchase and Contract and the South Carolina Agreement to Buy / Sell Real Estate.
Sellers are encouraged to perform a pre-home inspection prior to listing their home for sale, which would also help reduce the in-person traffic post-contract. Also, as some labor and materials are being delayed due to Covid-19, the pre-home inspection will help the Seller not miss any contract deadlines.
Appraisers are also asked to wear PPE during their in-person visit as well.
For those needing to sell but don’t wish to remain in their home while doing so…
For some, the idea of having prospective Buyers through their property, even protected, still is a difficult scenario to feel completely comfortable about. In these instances, we will work with our clients to find an alternative that is a win-win for all parties.
With vacant properties, we are providing sanitizer for use on-site and asking that the utilities are turned on so that agents and prospective Buyers can wash their hands. Also, once a week, during the on-site inspection, a member of our team will be wiping down the solid surfaces with disinfectant to limit the spread of any viruses.
For Home Buyers
For home purchasers, we are asking them to follow the same guidance as we are asking of others for our listings. This includes:
- Use of mask and sanitizer during all in-person appointments
- Limiting the attendees to only the immediate decision makers (no children or pets)
- Consultation appointments will take place over Facetime or Zoom (client’s preference)
- Inspections will be attended by the inspector only. If the Seller allows, the Buyer may attend in-person at the end. Alternatively, a Facetime or Zoom appointment will be setup with the Buyer and the Inspector to go over the findings.