Five tips for buying or selling a home mid-COVID

In these unprecedented times, there are some important steps to take to ensure a smooth real estate transaction. Members of Sierra Nevada Realtors from rural Northern Nevada shared their insights about this new world and recommend the following five tips to help navigate the process of buying or selling a home a little more easily.

Buyers should take extra time to prepare for showings

Buyers should view all property photos and the virtual tour before viewing a home in person and should also bring a mask along to showings, though most agents are supplying these for their clients.

“Buyers are encouraged to virtually tour the listing before a physical showing to get a feeling of whether the home is what they're looking for,” advises Claudia Saavedra of Charles Kitchen Realty in Carson City. This will minimize traffic in available listings and contribute to the health and safety of all parties.

Robert Bartshe of RE/MAX Professionals in Dayton adds, “In an effort to keep our industry considered essential, all parties should be prepared to follow CDC guidelines and the

governor’s directives. The days of bringing family along to view potential properties to purchase are over. Only the primary buyers should attend appointments.”

This means a buyer may want to show the family a virtual tour of a potential home before the in-person tour to get feedback or collect questions to ask their agent. The initial preparation to see a home in person is more involved these days.

Sellers are encouraged to make it easy for buyers to abide by their requests

Jason Lococo of INTERO Real Estate Group in Minden is asking his sellers to leave all lights on prior to showings so that buyers and their agents don’t need to touch the light switches. He also recommends that sellers set out “sanitation stations” around the home to make showings convenient.

Sellers can establish clear requests for showings by communicating with their real estate agent. These requests will be passed on to anyone viewing the home and local agents are requiring their clients to adhere to homeowner requests. Plus, buyers beware – many homes are now equipped with cameras, allowing sellers to confirm compliance!

Set aside scheduled time to speak with real estate professionals

Fallon agent Shannon Nelson of Berney Realty stresses the importance of making time each day to have a phone conversation with her clients so she can keep them very informed on the status of their listing or transaction.

Under normal circumstances, regular meetings with a real estate agent would be part of the process to stay informed. These meetings are still crucially important but require a little extra planning to make sure they happen.

Allow a little extra time from signed contract to close of escrow

“Appraisals are taking a little longer; from what I hear this is due to an uptick in refinances. Some lending guidelines have tightened up due to COVID, including more overlays and stiffer requirements,” Robert Bartshe is reporting.

These factors could lead to a slightly extended escrow, so be prepared to be patient.

Prepare for differences in the escrow process

Saavedra says many title companies are utilizing mobile notaries for signing. “Even though this adds to the buyer's closing costs, it gives buyers and sellers the flexibility to sign at home,” she says. This makes it easier to protect the health and safety of everyone involved – plus it’s more convenient!

It may be a good idea to wire funds for both the earnest money deposit, or EMD, and the balance of the down payment, Lococo says. This will save the buyer a trip to the bank for a cashier’s check and all of the potential exposure that comes with such a trip.

“Inspectors are sometimes requesting that buyers not attend the inspection appointment,” Bartshe has noticed. Buyers should discuss this possibility with their agent and make arrangements to talk to the inspector via telephone if necessary.

The real estate transaction looks a little different these days but the market is still active with homes selling in just a few days, sometimes with multiple offers. It is more important than ever to use a Realtor to locate a property and provide guidance on structuring an offer in order to secure an ideal property off the bat. When buying or selling a home, a Realtor can assist with navigating the transaction and will ensure a successful closing.


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