These days there's almost nothing that hasn't been impacted by COVID-19, and that includes homebuying. The global pandemic has created seismic shifts in everything from supply chains to business processes to entertainment and travel. So it stands to reason that homebuying would also be affected. If sitting in lockdown has caused you to dream of having more space, more amenities, a bigger kitchen or a lush yard, you certainly aren't alone.
The good news is COVID-19 doesn't have to derail your dreams of homeownership. With a little know-how and guidance from the experts, you can find a new space to call home that can help you weather any storms.
Changes to the world of real estate amid the coronavirus crisis
Here's a closer look into homebuying in the age of COVID-19.
Alternatives to traditional showings
The spread of this pathogen has led to sweeping changes in traditional showings, including open houses. Sellers generally can control how their property is shown, so COVID-19 concerns could lead to limited or canceled in-person showings. Expect virtual tours and expanded online photo albums to gain popularity as well as 3-D tours as alternatives to the traditional home tour.
Also, open houses may become a rare commodity, particularly if local, state or federal regulations order individuals to shelter in place or if gatherings are limited in participant numbers for any length of time. When open houses do resume, expect social distancing protocols to apply, where appropriate.
Potential screenings to anticipate
To mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19, some agents are asking homebuyers to complete a screening questionnaire. And for multi-unit housing or housing where the seller still resides, be prepared to have your temperature checked, maintain social distancing protocols, follow hand-washing requirements, remove shoes and wear foot coverings or a face mask. The key to keep in mind is that everyone wants to stay safe, and these small inconveniences will ensure a positive process for everyone involved.
Travel restrictions and buying a home
If you are traveling at the time when travel restrictions are put into place, it may complicate your homebuying process. Your Realtor can help you navigate these issues and can keep every stakeholder informed about the situation you are facing. You may be able to complete much of your transaction through secure online forms — it's not uncommon for people outside the country to put in an offer on or purchase property. Keep in mind, U.S. embassies or consulates can also be helpful for notarizing forms, when needed.
Stay patient: delays are possibleWith nearly every sector of American life affected by COVID-19 related challenges, it's possible that any step of your homebuying process could face delays. From mortgage approvals to recording of the deed, to lack of inspectors or appraisers, to closing of government and business services, there are so many steps along the home buying timeline where you could encounter a delay. Stay patient and recognize that these are historic times which challenge all of us. Eventually, your dream of home ownership will come true, and you'll have a new home in which to celebrate our healthy future.