Coronavirus and Real Estate

  • Sammy Kohn
  • 03/6/22
 
There are a lot of articles online about the current outbreak regarding symptoms, prevention, testing, etc. That is not what this is. I am not a doctor after all! But, what I am is a level-headed, responsible real estate broker, so here are my two cents on the real estate side of things.
 

For Buyers

For local buyers that don't require air travel to view potential new homes, you are probably safe. But, what if the seller recently traveled, or one of the 30 other home viewers was exposed and touched that doorknob or light switch that you just used? Since they (doctors, scientists, etc) don't know exactly how this is spread, better play it safe. If you have to buy this week, or next, here are a few tips to minimize your risk:
 
  1. Drive by the homes you are interested in first. People did this all the time a decade or so ago. This can eliminate your need to see inside a particular home, or several if you don't like the setting.
  2. Do as much online research about the house before scheduling a showing, again, to eliminate or reduce the number of homes you need to see, reducing your exposure. Google maps, satellite views, neighborhood crime stats, school reports, walking scores, flood zones, etc.
  3. If you have specific needs, have your agent call the listing agent and ask about those specific needs to make it is something that might work for you. Say you must have a master on the main level, and the listing doesn't specify, or you want a really open floor plan; or a zero clearance into the house, or a certain sized RV pad, it could be anything. Your agent could do a little leg work and narrow down the showing list for you.
  4. If you are in a hurry to move, and the seller of a house you are considering needs 3 more months before their new house is ready, or they haven't even found a new house yet and the sale is subject to that, you may also want to pass on it. Again, your agent can talk to the listing agent about the individual situation to see if there is any flexibility, or not.
  5. When you do view a house, touch nothing. Use hand wipes or sanitizer when you leave, and do not touch your face during or after the showing until you have had a chance to properly wash your hands.

For Sellers

I think you have to evaluate your circumstances. If you must sell right now, it is important to minimize your risk. Let's say you haven't traveled lately, but you don't want to expose yourself or your family to unnecessary germs. No guarantees here, because even "they" don't know exactly how to prevent coronavirus. But, here are a few tips to minimize unnecessary showings, and therefore germs, right now.
 
  1. Wipe down all doorknobs, light switch plates, and anything else that buyers and agents may touch after each show.
  2. When an agent calls to schedule a showing, verify the buyer is pre-approved and does not need to sell a house first (that isn't already in escrow). If the buyer doesn't have their ducks in a row, why risk it?
  3. Ask if the buyer has traveled in the last 15-30 days. You may not want to add exposure.
  4. Ask if the buyer is ill with flu-like symptoms, or has been ill in the last 2+weeks.
  5. Similar to the buyer recommendations, ask how soon the buyer is willing and able to move? Your timelines may not match up, and if you are concerned about the added risk, it may be best to wait until the right buyer comes along.
  6. Put hand sanitizer or wipes out for guests, just in case.

At the end of the day, unless a person has to buy or sell a house today, or this week, is there really any harm in waiting a couple of weeks, or until things blow over? For clients with weak immune systems, frail health, the really young or elderly, it just may be worth the wait.

Special thanks to Catherine Ulrey.

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