While buying and selling real estate was recently deemed essential in Washington State, the landscape looks very different than it did before the COVID-19 outbreak. Real estate offices remain closed to the public with agents (like me) working remotely and hosting virtual client meetings. Important safety regulations prohibit in-person open houses and limit the number of people who can tour a home or attend an inspection. Social distancing will remain at the forefront as we wait for a vaccine or treatment to become widely available.
So how do you buy or sell a home safely in this new environment? Thanks to modern technology, there is a lot I can do to help you through the process while minimizing the risk to you and the community. Here are some tips on how to do it right…
TIPS FOR BUYERS
- Do your homework before you tour a home in person. Take a virtual online tour, research the neighborhood and ask your agent to delve into the property and title history. If a virtual tour isn’t available, your agent can give you a preview via FaceTime or Skype while walking through the home.
- Get pre-qualified. Knowing your exact budget in advance will help you save time and avoid any non-essential showings.
- Schedule a 1-hour showing window. When you think you’ve found “the one” and are ready to tour it in-person, have your agent book a full hour so that you are less likely to run into other buyers. This will also allow time for each person to see the home since there is currently a limit of just 2 people in the home at once, including the agent.
- Meet your agent at the home. Instead of carpooling, drive separately and then wait in your car until your agent confirms that the home is empty and ready to tour. Condos may have special rules for showings and you’ll also want to take separate elevator trips if you’re touring a high-rise.
- Play it safe during the tour. Wear a mask, wash/sanitize your hands when you enter and leave, limit touching of surfaces, and maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from your agent at all times. Assume you might be recorded by the homeowner and observed by neighbors.
- Meet virtually with your agent. When it’s time to write an offer, your agent can use any number of video conferencing apps to share documents with you and discuss them in real time. You can then sign and authenticate all contracts electronically via a secure service such as Authentisign.
- Don’t skip a professional home inspection. Due to the difficulties around seeing the home in person, it is more important than ever to make sure you know of any underlying issues it may have. The 2-person rule still applies at inspections so your agent will likely request the seller’s permission for you to be in the home alone with the inspector while the agent waits in the car. You’ll also need to make sure you and your inspector comply with all social distancing and safety rules.
TIPS FOR SELLERS
- Give your listing agent a virtual tour. Rather than meeting in person, utilize an app like FaceTime or Skype to virtually walk your agent through your home using your smart phone. Hold meetings virtually whenever possible and sign documents electronically through a secure service such as Authentisign.
- Move out first if at all possible. This makes it practical for buyers to comfortably view your home while following the current 2-person limit for home occupancy during showings. It also protects you from any potential exposure—especially important if you are in at at-risk age group and/or have health problems.
- Time the market with expert advice. Talk to an agent you can trust who follows the ins and outs of regulations from the Governor’s office and also has access to showing data and activity reports that can help you determine the best time to sell.
- Look your best online. Make sure your agent will coordinate truly stellar home preparation, staging and photography. Consider having a professional video tour and interactive floor plans as well.
- Have your agent hold a virtual open house. Live-streaming a virtual tour from inside the home is a great way for your agent to reach buyers and answer their questions in real time. Virtual open houses are also now promoted on virtually all home search websites and apps.
- Prepare diligently for in-person showings. Be sure that you or your agent provides hand sanitizer, single-use booties and masks along with a sign detailing the safety guidelines you would like visitors to follow while in your home. Open interior doors and turn on lights ahead of time to minimize touching. Disinfect high-use surfaces after each showing.
We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446
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When Britons voted to leave the European Union on July 23, 2016, in a referendum commonly known as Brexit, the impact on the British economy — and on Europe’s too — was immediate. Here across the pond, though, it’s not been totally clear how Brexit would affect the U.S. economy, and in particular interest rates tied to mortgages.
A month later, we have a better understanding of how Brexit affects US real estate market. Here are some of the benefits Brexit is bringing us [and a drawback too].
There’s no guarantee, of course, when the market will right itself and the immediate impact of Brexit abates. And there’s no knowing whether a more stable European economy will allow interest rates Stateside to begin to climb again. That’s why homeshoppers need to make their move now and get into a new home while rates are low, home prices have not yet begun to climb and their dollars go further.
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Favorable weather and restored confidence are propelling home buying activity aournd Western Washington to the highest level in nearly a decade, according to NWMLS report released on Mar. 5th, 2015.
Pending sales surged 18.7% in February compared to the same month a year ago. The number might be even higher given the ample supply of buyers, but inventory is far from ample.
"listings are flying off the shelf faster than allergy medicine in this early spring market", quipped MLS director Frank Wilson. Brisk activity is posing challenges for buyers. "They will probably make several offers before one is accepted and they just need to expect to be competing with others"
The housing market is on fire now. Sellers haven't experienced a market this favorable since frothy days. (of 10 years ago). Savvy sellers need savvy listing brokers to help market the listing, also an ABR to help find a replacement homes. Contact email@example.com for a listing consultation to help you get top dollars in this market.
websites answer your question?[/caption]~~Fast and Easy But is it Accurate? – 3/2/2015
There are sites all over the web that offer to tell you what your home is worth. Simply plug in your address and email and you’ll get a value. It’s fast; it’s easy but is it accurate?
The value is determined by what is called an Automated Valuation Model (AVM) that analyzes public record data with computer decision logic. Square footage, age, number of bedrooms and location are easily definable objective data. The challenge is identifying, measuring and comparing the subjective data.
An AVM cannot identify how unique features might add or detract from the value, if the market is declining or why the comparable sales apply or don’t apply to the subject property. Is a home worth more because it is near shopping or less because it is across the street from a high-traffic commercially zoned property?
Experienced professionals are more likely to make proper adjustments for condition, market appeal and positive and negative influences.
Imagine that you’re going out for dinner and you consult HamburgerAVM.com to tell you how much a hamburger is worth. It might be accurate based on condiments, vegetables and weight but can it address things like taste, quality, cleanliness, service, convenience or atmosphere. You certainly couldn’t present the printout to the waiter to negotiate a lower price.
An AVM can be a tool that a homeowner, prospective buyer, mortgage officer, appraiser or real estate agent can use to get a quick idea of price but there are inherent limitations that can only be considered by personal examination balanced with experience in the market place.
Experience and understanding of the subject property and the marketplace are critical to having confidence that a value is accurate. Any person could go through the same steps to arrive at a value but an experienced, well-trained professional is far more likely to assess all of the variables more accurately.