As COVID-19 has been quickly changing the way we interact with one another and conduct business it also leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions.  As many businesses have been and remain shuttered, others are deemed essential such as Real estate.  In most, if not all parts of the country this remains true, however just being essential doesn’t mean there aren’t necessary precautions you need to take and risks that can be associated.  So, here’s what you should know.

COVID-19 related disclosures and acknowledgements are becoming more common.  Your agent will likely present to you for signature an acknowledgement of this national emergency and its sometimes unavoidable associated risk.  This may be off putting or even unnerving, but  rest assured that these acknowledgements are intended to keep everyone safe – think of them as safety reminders for everyone involved.

If I’m looking to buy a home what should I consider? 

The most important question you should ask your real estate agent is, “how will I see this home safely?”.  Here are some criteria you should follow:

  • Does the agent provide virtual showings? This is a signal that the person or company you are working with is a technology forward company, and knows how to effectively leverage various technology platforms, such as FaceTime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or GoToMeeting to name a few.  Zeal Realty, for example, has adopted Microsoft Teams as a secure way to connect with their customers, because after all buying a home is a team effort.
  • Does the agent provide one-time use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)? During real estate showings, some of the most commonly used PPE would be masks, gloves and shoe coverings.  What if my agent doesn’t have PPE?  The answer to this really depends on how the home is set up for a touchless viewing.  For example, when in the absence of PPE for everyone, the agent should go into the home and open all rooms, turn on all lights, and allow for you to simply walk through without finding yourself in the position where you need to touch anything.  Zeal Realty offers both of these options to their clients.
  • Now that I’ve picked a home can the rest be handled remotely? YES, should be the response.  Whether you need mortgage loan approvals, inspections via virtual capability, electronic signatures, remote notary and even remote closings can and should be accommodated for you.
  • What if COVID-19 causes me delays?. Your agent will assist all parties in completing a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Extension Addendum to Contract.  This extension can be used for essential milestones in your contract such as but not limited to; Closing, Financing Period, Inspection Period, Title Cure Period, Feasibility Study Period, Due Diligence Period and HOA/Condo Approval Period.

I’m selling my house.  What should we be doing?

Taking the time to get your house sold safely and carefully will pay off in the long run.  Here are some things you and your agent should consider when you are listing your house:

  • The Agent should be cautiously providing access to your home. Virtual showings are a preferred method given the current situation, however often times that’s not solely possible.  Buying a home is arguably the largest expense milestone in someone’s lifetime and a virtual showing might not completely convince a buyer to make the purchase.  That’s okay because there are additional precautionary measures that can be taken to ensure a safe and smooth showing.  Appointment only is another great way to pre-screen how many people are entering the home, at what time(s) and allows you to provide enough time in between to properly sanitize and prepare for subsequent showings or reentry of homeowners.  Virtual Open Houses have not only been mandated by most MLS’s, they are a great way for many people to dial in and be able to walk through the home without physically being there.
  • The Agent should be providing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) guidance. Just as was mentioned in the above buyer’s section, masks, gloves and foot coverings are common PPE items.  If Agents have those available, then they should have them staged at the entryway, however we have seen how hard it is to get necessary equipment like this.  If PPE is not available, then guidance should be given to the showing agent as to how they can prepare the home for their clients to walk through without needing to touch anything.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. A list of frequently touched surfaces can be found on the CDC’s website.
  • Discuss with your agent if you should even be putting your house on the market right now.  Every seller should assess their own tolerance with putting their home on the open market in the current situation.  Members of the household who are deemed people who need to take extra precautions should follow the advisements of the CDC and conclude with their own decision as to whether or not they put their house on the market at this time.  If you decide to, your agent can help you take necessary precautions when showing the home.  Generally speaking, housing inventory in Central Florida still remains low, so it’s always a good idea to list your house for sale when there is a need for inventory.

Whether you’re buying, selling or looking to rent please always advise your agent if you feel or have recently been sick. We’re all in this together.

In Summary

Zeal Realty is monitoring COVID-19 advisements from CDC and WHO to keep their agents, customers and teams informed and equipped to safely handle all of your real estate needs.  We remain technology forward so that we can limit your interactions while still providing an immersive experience when buying, selling or renting. We also continue to be vigilant in staying up to date on new disclosures, addendums and acknowledgements that are being administered by the Florida Realtors.

Contact us to see how we can help you Zeal the Deal!