Are We allowed To Buy Or Sell A Home During The Covid-19 Shelter In Place Order?
From Mass.org essential business faq’s
- What real estate brokerage services are considered essential? SEE SPECIFICS BELOW
- Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services, are essential
- Open houses: While open houses are not prohibited, they are subject to the Governor’s order about limiting gatherings to ten people and the DPH advisory to stay home. If an open house is held, the number of people in the home should be limited to 10 at a time and social distancing should be enforced.
- Are homeowners in the middle of buying a house still allowed to conduct house showings? YES, if necessary and if social distancing can be practiced.
Are People Really Buying And Selling Real Estate During The Outbreak Of Covid-19?
Working With A REALTOR® During The Coronavirus Outbreak
Video Conferencing- There are many ways to have a face to face over the internet. Replace face to face meetings with a conference call to reduce physical contact.
Contracts- Electronically singing contracts eliminates the need for a face to face visit.
Walk Through Videos- Many agents are trying to provide walk through video of listed homes to send to prospective buyers and tenants.
Best Practices For Home Buyers During The Coronavirus Outbreak
- Be Pre-Approved– Don’t waste time or put anyone at risk without showing your are pre-approved. Many listing agent will insist on seeing your pre-approval.
- Give Advanced Notices for Showings– It is unreasonable to expect you can call and be in a home in two hours for a showing. Give the agent and seller ample time to prepare.
- Cancel Your Showing If You Are Sick- If you show any signs of being sick between scheduling and the showing, cancel the showing.
- Limit The Showings To The Decision Makers– Do not bring everyone in your family to the showing. Limit the showings to the ones responsible for the decision. If you feel it is necessary to bring other people to confirm your decision, limit it to a second showing.
- Bring Hand Sanitizer- Please bring hand sanitizer and use before entering the home.
- Please Do Not Touch- Let your agent turn on lights, open cabinets and doors.
- Practice Social Distancing- Let your agent lead the way to turn on lights and open doors. If it is a small room let them out so you can enter. If the room is larger let them distance themselves from you to enter the room.
- Cover Your Mouth- Make sure you cover your mouth if you have the need to sneeze or cough.
Best Practices For Home Sellers During The Coronavirus Outbreak
- Discuss A showing Plan With Your Agent- Talk candidly with your agent about a showing plan. Discuss any measures that will prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Cancel Any Showings If Anyone In Your Household Is Sick- Put your home sale on hold if any household member is showing signs of illness.
- Ask All Buyers To Be Pre-Approved– Have your agent verify that all buyers are pre-approved to buy your home.
- Sanitize All High Touch Items Before A Conformed Showing- Door handles, countertops, etc… need sanitization before showings.
- Vacate Your Property- Do not be present for showings. Limit your exposure by not coming in contact with potential buyers. If you run into buyers accidentally, remove yourself and direct all questions to your agent.
- Request Buyers Sanitize Their Hands Before Entering Your Home- Insist that all who enter use sanitizer before accessing your home.
- Limit High Touch Areas- Request only the showing agent turn on lights, open doors and cabinets.
- Sanitize All High Touch Surfaces Upon Returning- When you arrive home make sure you sanitize all high touch surfaces again.
- Do Not Hold An Open House- Holding open houses are not suggested by the Baker Administration. While it is a suggestion, I believe an open house is not necessary and too much of a risk to have.
What Am I Doing As A Real Estate Agent To Protect Buyers and Sellers?
- I have a form filled out by buyers attesting they are showing no sign of illness.
- I am making sure each buyer is a pre-approved candidate to buy a home.
- I am sanitizing my hands before entering a home.
- I am wearing gloves upon entering.
- I am restricting the turning on of lights, opening doors and cabinets to myself.
- I am sanitizing areas I touched before I leave.
- I am providing a walk through video for sellers to send to prospective buyers. As well as doing live virtual tours for buyers.
What To Expect From The Massachusetts Real Estate Market In the Near Future
No one has a crystal ball into the future. If I had to take an educated guess there are two possible outcomes.
If things get back to normal relatively quickly, we will see the real estate market back to where it was in no time. The underlying issue is there was a shortage of housing inventory before this happened.
But as we sit and wait and bad news keep coming about the economy and job lay offs, we will see the market become balance or even see it become a buyer’s market. It all depends on the economic devastation that is created by the shelter in place orders and shuttering of businesses. The question is how long will it take to normalize.
As I pointed out earlier there will always be a need for buyers to buy and sellers to sell. The question is what is right for your individual circumstances.
Other Real Estate Resources Regarding Covid-19
- USA Today discuss how the coronavirus will change how real estate is done. Virtual showings, remote signings and more may become more prevalent.
- The National Association of Realtors discusses what the coronavirus will do to the spring market.
What To Know About Massachusetts Real Estate and The Covid-19 Virus, was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate in Tewksbury MA. Kevin provides real estate service in Essex and Northern Middlsex Counties in Massachusetts.
If you need to discuss whether you should sell or buy a home during the coronavirus outbreak, call Kevin at 978-360-0422.