We’ve all been working through the pandemonium of COVID-19 together and are now being given hope that we can soon have a sense of normalcy return to our lives. Operative word, “sense” of normalcy. Things won’t be as they were for some time as scientists, doctors, politicians and leaders get a sense of what it is we are truly facing and its current and predictable status. What does all that mean to real estate?
We must assume that many of our current “virus practices” will continue. We might see a different practice for local buyers versus out-of-state buyers.
For instance, somebody coming from Santa Clara County in
California has a higher potential for being a carrier than somebody in our four
counties with our low positive test and fatality counts. We must continue to
practice social distancing in both cases, but it makes sense that a local could
see a home with an at-risk occupant sooner than could a person coming from a
high-risk area with immeasurable “cooties.”
Time will tell on how that will work out, but it is certain
that we won’t just be opening doors to show everybody everything without proper
Sellers should continue to leave doors open and the lights
on. Buyers should continue to wear masks, minimize what they touch, and
disinfect their hands before entering a home. Handshakes are well intended, but
we should forego that ancient tradition for a while.
Real estate is emotional, hugs often abound as gains are
made and joy realized. Hard to stop spontaneous exhibitions of joy, but it is a
good idea to express your happiness verbally rather than physically. Real
estate is a social business with people interacting with one another and
strangers entering the private kingdom of a home. Time will put a better
perspective on these practices, but for now it is a good idea to minimize
physical contact of all types during your necessary social interaction.
While the real estate industry has been operating all along,
the manner in which business and public interaction is conducted has been
changed throughout. Undoubtedly, many of these changes will continue to be in
place, i.e., escrow signings limited to the signing parties in the front of the
office, meet the buyer at the properties, etc.? The industry has been
functioning OK with some delays due to inefficiencies brought about by the new
policies, procedures and practices, but the anticipated increase in the volume
of sales will stress these systems.
If you are on the sidelines waiting to jump in when public
interaction policies lighten up be advised that you aren’t the only one.
Whether a seller or buyer, you will find yourself with plenty of company. That isn’t a problem if you are positioned right in the market. Sellers should have their property cleaned up and ready to show, priced right, and easily available to a qualified, “purified,” buyer.
Buyers should be prequalified, know what they want and ready
to act. The competition will likely slow offer response times, extend inspection
time frames, extend loan processes, and extend closing. You may need extra time
to get the escrow closed for reasons unknown at this time. Build in a time
cushion. Sellers might have trouble getting their new property into, or
through, escrow. Everyone will need to work together the best they can to get
their lives moving again.
My advice: Anticipate abnormal
performance time frames when you write your offer. Don’t write 30 days when you
may need 45. Even short, cash escrows may not be done as fast as usual. Remember,
getting an extension isn’t an automatic if you find you need it. If a seller
gets a higher offer in the interim and you need more time you might not get it
without additional cost to you. It might be something as simple as the seller
can’t find a replacement property and changes their mind. Protect yourself. Talk
with your agent and write an offer that is realistic to the best of your
abilities. Nobody really knows what will occur, but if you prepare for the
“what ifs” you can save yourself unnecessary grief.
Be ready for the future for it is about to get here. Get prequalified, talk to your agent, be ready to launch.
When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. firstname.lastname@example.org