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What to Expect as a Buyer During COVID

While we are open for business again here in Philadelphia, the real estate market is unlikely to look the same for a while. If you are thinking about buying a home this year, its worth prepping for the "new normal" in house shopping.

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Showings will be limited to just two people and their agent for a while, we assume. That means while in the past, family members often walked through homes as well to weigh-in, only two primary buyers may walk through at any given time.

Further, during a walk-through, you'll be asked to wear a mask and potentially shoe covers/gloves. Further, you should refrain from touching every single surface as everything has to get wiped down.

Sellers' Priority 

While a seller may have listed their home and opened it to the market, they have the right to lay down additional stipulations. Some may require additional time between showings, ask for further coverings, or even limit the buyers looking at a house to those with a pre-approval.

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Additional Forms 

Speaking of additional stipulations, most agents, representing buyers and sellers alike, will be using new forms to conduct COVID-related questionnaires before EVERY showing. That means you will likely be signing a lot of paperwork before even going to see a house.

Further, every person who walks through a house has to be known for tracing reasons. So if you just started working with an agent, don't be surprised if he or she asks for your full names and additional health info right away.

Going Virtual 

Since each in-person showing can be a headache, its likely going to be more common for you to do your in-depth research on a house before you see it in person and, ideally, view a virtual tour before you schedule an appointment. That way you don't go through all of these steps for a home that had deal breakers to begin with (like being on a busy road or having old electrical wiring).

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

Getting Finances in Order 

Not only might a seller request you have your pre-approval in line before stepping foot in a house, its smart to make sure amid the changes to the mortgage market that you still qualify. There have been some restrictions from certain lenders as economic uncertainty continues to prevail that might affect your lending approval.

Further, with rates at record lows, its good to look into rate lock in options sooner than later!

Under Contract 

After you've finally found a home, toured it, fallen in love and put in an offer, there will be a few changes to the process. You may have to limit the number of people who attends a home inspection or do a virtual meeting with the inspector as the only one in the house. Townships might be more difficult to work with to capture local requirements like use and occupancy certifications. Your final closing may just be you with a title clerk while all other documents are signed remotely.

The point being, when looking to purchase, don't expect the process to be smooth when under contract for purchase. Particularly because things change daily and agents, inspectors and other real estate professionals are updating their information and tactics as well, its smart to expect a few hiccups and changes as you progress.

Have any additional questions on buying this summer in the greater Philadelphia area? Call, text or email me anytime!


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