After pausing my business for two months, I have come up with these guidelines for how I will do business with home buyers starting the month of May. I created this process using input from the CDC, the Governors orders on what we are allowed to do, and included my own set of personal protocols that will make me minimize the risk of infection for myself, and my clients. This is the way I will be conducting business with home buyers, starting May 2020! –
- The meet up! This is where we meet via Zoom or Facetime for 45 min-1 hr to go over the home buying process, current state of the market, discuss your goals, and make sure we are a good fit.
- Set up your search online. After our meeting, if we decide we are a good fit, I will set up a home search with your criteria. I would recommend keeping an eye on how long your faves stay on, and how much they ultimately sell for (list price versus sales price).
- Identify homes of interest: Once you have a few homes of interest, then you can do driving tours to identify which homes you are still interested in. How is the street/neighborhood to you? Do you like the lot? Once you’ve vetted homes of interest and narrowed it down, we can schedule a day and time to see it! Same day showings are not always possible, please keep this in mind when you reach out to me to pin down a tour day and time. Some sellers are electing not to allow any in-person showings until there is an accepted offer on their property. Some listings might require documentation from us prior to granting us an appointment, such as your approval letter from your lender or answers to health questions in writing prior to touring. I will be finding out the criteria when you message me a home of interest and letting you know what is needed on a case-by-case basis.
- Offering on a Home: Once you decide which home you’d like to offer on, I will reach out to the agent and find out how many offers there are, what the seller is looking for, and see if there’s an offer review date. Based on this information, I will send you what I need to know to draft the offer, along with any recommendations I have. I will also email you similar properties that have sold nearby along with my offer price recommendations.
- Earnest Money: Once we have an accepted offer, you will need to wire earnest money (or deliver a check) to the escrow company. You have 2 business days to get the money to escrow once our offer is accepted, otherwise you have defaulted on the contract. I recommend you contact your bank with escrow’s wiring instructions soon after receiving the good news that your offer was accepted!
- Home Inspection: I will schedule the inspection and meet the inspector for you. I have inspector referrals, or you can let me know of a licensed home inspector you would prefer to use. If you’d like to be there for the end of the inspection to go over the findings, I will let you know what time would be good to show up. Only two people are allowed in the home at any given time – this goes for the home inspection as well.
- Appraisal: The appraisal is the last big hurdle! The appraiser will go out to the property without us, and take pictures/measurements, and will submit a final report to your lender with the estimated value. The value can come in above what you offered, at where you offered, or below what you offered. Depending on your loan type, the appraiser might issue work orders – repairs that are required to be done for your loan to go through. If there are work orders and the seller agrees to complete them, you will have to pay an additional fee to have the appraiser back out to verify the work orders have been completed prior to close. Ask your lender what the fee is for that ahead of time if you’d like to know!
- Signing Day: Once we are through the appraisal then escrow will reach out to you to set up a signing appointment. Right now escrow offices are open by appointment only. Most escrow companies have notary options that can also come to you if that is more convenient!
- Closing Day: This is the day that the lender releases funds to escrow and you get the home recorded in your name! Unless we’ve negotiated different terms, you typically get a key to the home on closing day, after the deed is officially recorded in your name. This happens around 3-4 pm usually. The sellers have until 9 pm to vacate the property and give us a key, but normally they are out before that 9 pm deadline.
Buying Guidelines to Follow:
- We will all wear masks at any in-person meetings. If you do not currently have a mask, I can let you borrow a clean cloth one during our meeting. I can provide resources on where to purchase a mask if you still need one!
- All homes require appointments now, even vacant ones.
- Only 2 people total are allowed in the house at any given time. This means me and one buyer in the home at a time.
- We will maintain 6 feet of distance during showings.
- If you are sick, or live with someone who has been sick recently, we are asked not to tour homes in-person. I can do virtual showings for you by using the app Marco Polo or a live tour via Facetime!
I can drive by homes of interest, give you my thoughts on the street, and send you a video of the area.
- Once you have honed in on a home that passes the street showing, I can provide Facetime or Marco Polo video tours of the inside of the home.
- I can set up the home inspection appointment and meet the inspector for you. The inspector can go over his findings with us virtually! We can do this via Facetime or Marco Polo. If you are unavailable during the time of the home inspection, the inspector can answer any questions you have after you have reviewed the report and pictures. I can still record his summary at the end of the inspection via Marco Polo for you to view later if you’d like.
- Sellers agents typically designate a preferred escrow company. However, we will want to make sure there is a location near you to make the process of signing your documents and dropping your earnest money easier. Wiring your earnest money through your bank is an option!
Things to consider:
- Are moving companies deemed essential where you live?
- Are you comfortable buying sight unseen?
- Are you comfortable moving into the home after you’ve purchased it? Even if restrictions delay your move by months?
- Buying and selling was stressful before the pandemic. Understand we could come up against unique problems, and there could be delays. Stay as open minded and flexible as possible to reduce stress.
- Lenders rates have been volatile. Understand your rate may vary from when you first received a quote from your lender to when you offer on a home.