How to Buy and Sell Real Estate “Virtually” Anywhere

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Guest Blog by Tabi Deas, Coolest Realtor® in Tampa Bay

There is no denying that the past couple of weeks have been difficult for most. COVID-19 self-quarantine and shelter-in-place guidelines have made access to employers, clients, friends, family, and fun much more difficult. And thousands have lots jobs.

Add to that empty shelves at grocery stores, working from home, homeschooling children, and the inability to visit elderly or immune-compromised friends and family members.

And if that wasn’t challenging enough, many people are still needing to sell their homes and/or buy new homes. This may be due to job or income loss, job/income change, job-related relocation, upsizing to move elderly parents in or downsizing to save money.

Real Estate Solutions

This combination is proving to be challenging for buyers and sellers in a time when many buyers are unable to walk-through occupied homes and many sellers won’t allow it.

Good news! There are workarounds. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to sell your existing home or need to buy a new one during this crisis, here are some things you can do to stay safe and healthy.

Host Virtual Meetings

Host virtual meetings with your Realtor® and Lender. From consultations to strategy discussions to reviews of documents and properties online, much of this can be done online via Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts.

Sellers: Protect Your Space

  1. Feel free to ask any visitors, including Realtors®, photographers, buyers, inspectors, contractors, and appraisers, to wear gloves, masks and shoe covers while in your home. 
  2. Require that door knobs, keys, and hand rails into your home be wiped down when visitors leave your home.

Buyers: Do Homework Ahead of Time

  1. Be more discerning while looking at photos online and locations on a map. In the past, many of us just skimmed through pictures to get a feel for homes before scheduling in-person visits only to confirm what we already knew. Try to make “yes” or “no” decisions on things that are truly dealbreakers for you ahead of time. 
  2. Utilize “Street View” in Google Maps to get a feel for the street and neighborhood.
  3. Take advantage of virtual open houses or walk-through videos to get a better idea of how the home flow functions, room to room.
  4. Once you have virtually found “the one”,  go ahead and make an offer without seeing it in person. You can always use your inspection period to do an in-person walk through to confirm how much you love it!
  5. If you are still trying to decide between your favorite 2-3 homes and feel you absolutely must see them in person before making an offer, discuss the best way to do that with your Realtor® and they will find out if any occupied home(s) are able to be shown.

All Visitors: Be Mindful

  1. In this critical time of crisis, if you absolutely must enter an occupied home, please be respectful and safe. First and foremost, if you are sick, or have been in contact with anyone who has been sick – do not tour any homes. Period.
  2. If you are healthy and haven’t been exposed to someone who is sick, take extra care to drive your own car (buyers separate from Realtors®) to the homes, wear gloves, a mask and shoe coverings BEFORE entering and don’t linger inside. See what you need to see, then leave.
  3. Remove all protective gear before re-entering your vehicle and sanitize your hands, making sure not to touch your face.

It’s Still Time to Buy and Sell

  1. Home values and prices have been holding steady. If you are looking to buy based on the idea that this crisis will make prices drop, it hasn’t happened yet. If you are holding off on selling in fear that prices have dropped, you can relax. Lowball offers are still being rejected, if not totally ignored.
  2. Now is a great time to speak with a lender to see what you can afford with current rates and get pre-approved!

These are trying times, for everyone, but there are still housing needs, and as long as we can all be vigilant and cautious, we can still help one another in our times of need.  

For more information on buying or selling your home, contact me.

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