Buying a Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I am normally a positive/upbeat person, but we are living in unusual times with buying a home during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  So forgive me while I go over the new issues to tackle in regards to protecting the safety of all the people involved in real estate transactions including: buyers, sellers, real estate agents, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, lenders, etc. Please read the following information very carefully.

BEFORE WE BEGIN

In order to plan a home tour for you, I will need you to confirm in writing that none of the people touring homes (Buyers) with me, nor people they work with closely, or live with:
 
  1. Are currently diagnosed with COVID-19.
  2. Are currently under quarantine due to possible COVID-19 infection.
  3. Have had close, unprotected contact in the previous 14 days with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19. (If you are a healthcare provider, see guidelines below).
  4. Have traveled in the previous 14 days to anywhere designated by the CDC as having widespread ongoing COVID-19 transmission (please read).
  5. Have experienced COVID-19, Cold, or Flu-like symptoms in the previous 14 days.

BTW: I pass all five of these! Rest assured I will not knowingly expose you to COVID-19 and I take proper sanitization and social distancing very seriously.

The reason I bring this up is that I will be emailing you some documents before we go on our first home tour. One of these documents (see example) will be used to obtain appointment confirmations with various home sellers (via their listing agents). In return, I will try to obtain this information from all occupied homes that we may want to tour. 
 
If you do not want to tour a home without the Seller’s Response on these issues (see example) then please let me know.
 
 
VIEWING ALL HOMES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK”
   

Healthcare Professionals

Please alert me if you are a Medium or High risk in Exposure Category according to CDC’s guidelines. 


OTHER ISSUES

There are some known issues with buying a home during the COVID-19 Pandemic, including:
  1. Longer time needed to set up appointments for home tours, because of the new forms that are to be submitted confirming neither side is potentially infected with COVID-19. Some Sellers my not allow showings.
  2. Longer time frames needed for typical deadlines such as inspections, Option periods, loan approval time frame, appraisals, etc.
  3. Problems with lender appraisers who will only view the exterior of the home or do a drive-by appraisal.
    (I have no control over this so please discuss with your lender.)
  4. Problems with low, under value appraisals that are not necessarily based on current market data. PLEASE TELL LENDER TO ORDER APPRAISAL DURING OPTION PERIOD. (I have no control over this but we can use an Addendum to protect you, by giving you the option to cancel the deal, if the appraisal comes in too low. Otherwise, if  a home appraises below the sales price, a lender may require you to come up with the difference between sales price and appraised price, in addition to your down payment and Closing costs.)
  5. Delays and problems with loan processing and funding during the pandemic. MAKE SURE YOU DISCUSS THESE POTENTIAL ISSUES WITH YOUR LENDER!
As always, I am here to protect you to the best of my ability, but I have limited control over viruses, sellers, listing agents, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, etc. So the best I know to do is to warn you in advance of these potential issues so that you can be prepared for them. 🙂 
 

EXPECTATIONS REGARDING HOME TOURS WITH ME

I don’t like setting “requirements” for touring homes with me, but for both your safety and mine, I would like to set proper expectations regarding what we all agree to in order to go on a home tour:
  1. Everyone must wear a face mask at all times during the home tours and maintain 6-feet apart as much as possible. That includes time outside of the homes when we are on the front porch, back yard, back patio garage, etc.
  2. Buyers travel in their own car, not my car (social distancing).
  3. Buyer clients will be prepared for it to take longer for me to “clean up” after a showing, and before I get into my car. (I will probably wear gloves since I have to handle un-disinfected keys, doorknobs, etc. I plan to properly dispose of gloves after each showing, before I get into my car.)
  4. Buyers will bring their own hand sanitizer and use it between each showing.
  5. Only the parties to the transaction are allowed on showings: no children or other friends or family members.
  6. Please send me your pre-approval letter, not just a pre-qualification letter (learn the difference), because many Sellers will not approve appointments without one (see below). We will need a pre-approval letter to make an offer anyway.

 


OTHER THINGS TO KNOW

A few other things to expect when buying a home during  COVID-19 Pandemic and upcoming months…   
 
To minimize unnecessary exposure:
  1. I may not be allowed to attend home inspections or Closings. Most real estate agents don’t attend these appointments anyway, so there should be no issue with me not attending them during this pandemic. (Agent attendance at these appointment is generally a “courtesy” only.) 
  2. Instead of meeting in person, we may have to do more phone or online conferences. 
  3. All paperwork will be handled via DotLoop for signatures and email when appropriate. (This is the norm anyway.)
  4. Earnest money (1 percent of sales price) will be delivered to the title company by you in person (personal check) OR via a Wire Transfer (your choice). You will be responsible for doing this within 3 days after the contract is Executed by all parties. I will give you exact instructions when it’s time. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!


    Beware of Wire Fraud! NEVER Wire funds unless you have called the title company and verbally verified the account number in the emailed instructions. Don’t just wire money based on an email, even if it looks like it came from me or the title company.


  5. Option fee ($200-400 usually) will be delivered by you to the Seller’s Broker’s office. Or, if possible, we will  see if you can deliver it directly to the Seller via PayPal, Venmo, or some other service you like to use. You will be responsible for doing this within 3 days after the contract is Executed by all parties. I will give you exact instructions when it’s time. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!  

 

ONE LAST THING

Since this is a challenging time for getting permission from sellers to tour homes, I would like to minimize unnecessary viewings as much as possible. As best you can, please view the Virtual Tours for potential homes to weed out floorplans and homes that won’t work for you. 🙂  
 
The red arrow (below) points at where you can access the Map and Virtual Tour tools on your custom home search that I set up for you.
 
 
 
 
Also use the Map tool to view a Satellite map of potential homes and Zoom In to see if there are any potential defects. Lots of buyers don’t want a home that backs up to utility poles, commercial properties, busy streets, etc. You can see what’s around a home by viewing the Satellite map and Zooming In.
 
 
 
I hope this helps you in understanding the new issues we will face. I am happy to help you find a great home!
We just have to “jump through a few hoops” to achieve our goals during the pandemic. 😀

 


Also Important to know when buying a home:

 


Please share this info with your Friends!

 


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If You Think This Website is Great, Wait ’till You Get Me As Your Agent!

 

sheila cox five star realtor5Candid Advice—I promise to give you candid advice on all homes and areas so you can make the best decisions. I won’t ignore potential defects that can cost you money, or effect your resale value, in the future. My job is to protect you from defective homes as much as possible while helping you make a sound financial investment. (Read client testimonials)

Local Area Expertise—This isn’t just my business…it’s where I work and live (for 20 years) so I really know the area. I will help you narrow your options and find the best neighborhood for you based on your specifications. For long-term resale value, the neighborhood you choose is just as important as the home you buy. (Download my Ultimate Katy Guide)

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Best Home Searches—Yes, you can search on your own, but no other home search available can filter down to the school level…and filter out the subdivisions that may be known to flood. Tell me exactly what you want, and I can narrow down your options better than any search you have access to. (Request a Custom Search)

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How I Work to Protect You

My job isn’t “just” helping you find a house to buy…I’m helping you buy a home. There are over 100 tasks that I perform for you during the purchasing process. I’m looking out for you every step of the way and keeping my eye on the listing agent, the seller, the builder (if applicable), the lender, the inspector, and the title company. I’m on your side because I’m YOUR agent. I help with price analysis and negotiations, legal paperwork, inspections, repair negotiations, home warranties, HOA compliance inspections, hazard insurance, surveys, appraisals, title commitment, home warranties, and more. I have the expertise to help solve complicated problems that often occur in the process. Real estate is a huge financial and legal commitment. Don’t you deserve to have a Five-Star real estate agent on your side? 

Please read:

⇒  Does My Agent Really Represent Me?

⇒  How Real Estate Commissions Are Paid

Take a look at a sample House Report that I do for my clients. This is the extra “due diligence” I do for you, to make sure that you are getting a great home. This is when I triple check taxes, schools, aerial maps, sex offenders in the area, flood zones, etc. NO other agent in the world does this! Check out p. 27 regarding the sample Flood Map info I provide.

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