Selling and buying homes right now looks a lot different than it did just a few months ago. Selling your home during the COVID pandemic presents some challenges, but it can be done. And if you're tired about hearing about COVID, join the club, but unfortunately, unless you're safe and sound and home without the need to ever do anything with the public again, it's going to be a topic of conversation.
If real estate is the transaction of choice right now, there are so many parties involved in a deal that we MUST discuss the protocols and because real estate is deemed essential in many, yet not all states, buyers and sellers still need to feel safe and close on time.
Many things are being conducted differently when it pertains to the real estate market during this time. Once of those things is the closing process on home sales.
Here are some things sellers should be aware of and even prepared for when it comes to the real estate closing on the sale of their home during Coronavirus.
Home closings are taking longer than they were last year or even in January. The average time to close on home sales according to LendingTree in January was 26 days. The average time to close on a home sale in March came in at 60 days and is expected to be longer in the most recent months.
Right now there is a backlog in refinances and home equity loans. This slows down the underwriting process for all loans including home sales. This is also coupled with social distancing restrictions and shelter in place orders complicating the steps to close from inspections to walk throughs.
"Each city and county is taking things differently so if you're planning on selling in one area and moving to another, make sure that the rules still apply. Some places are not allowing certain real estate transactions so before you move, verify that you're able to complete a real estate transaction." - Annette Mejia, Big Island Realtor®
Normally when an offer is accepted the buyers will accompany a home inspector as they walk through the property while the seller is out and about. With shelter in place orders sellers are permitted to stay in the home while the inspection takes place. For some sellers this may be a little uncomfortable and they can request a remote inspection take place instead.
A remote inspection is when the inspector takes a look at the home by themselves and reviews the findings with the buying party via video conferencing platform. They can also share findings with the seller this way as well.
Related: With everyone looking online first, make your home screen-worthy with these awesome selling tips.
"Home inspections must be done on new construction as well, which poses an even more interesting conundrum as most new construction needs three inspections, one at the pouring of the foundation, one at the framing and one when complete. And that could be three different inspectors. Buyers need to prepare themselves for these inspections and plan accordingly." - Todd Blair, Mirasol Homes for Sale
Nearly every bank orders an appraisal to be conducted by a licensed official before approving and closing on a loan. Traditionally an appraiser comes to the home for sale and walks through the entire property to assess its value. During this time, to keep home sellers safe, lending companies are temporarily allowing exterior only appraisals or desktop appraisals done from an appraisers office with the help of public records on the home. Taking the time to track down the paperwork makes the process longer and pushes out a final closing date.
"Many companies are limited to in-person gatherings of 10 or more people right now. This slows down the process of putting final paperwork together and the number of signings that can be conducted in a day pushing back the closing time further. " - Frank Tinsley, Quorum Realty Group, Central Indiana Real Estate
"In Arizona, real estate is still essential and we are quickly adapting to the proper way of doing things right now. We are allowing one person in a home at a time, disinfecting everything and staying our required 6 feet away as often as feasible. Buyers are still out there and need to buy a home so sellers are finding ways." - Aaron Shumway, Gilbert Realtor®
If you are selling your home during this time, keep in mind there are more delays in every step of the process, but home sales are still going through.