Here in Greater Baton Rouge, we are under stay at home orders until May 15, 2020. However, real estate is deemed an essential business, so we are still able to help you purchase a home. BUT… you knew there was going to be a but. If you are thinking of buying a house during COVID-19, things will look a bit different to you as a buyer.
What is different about buying a house during COVID-19
It’s more important now than ever that you are preapproved and know precisely what kind of loan you need, what your price range is, and if you will need closing assistance. Showings will be a lot different, and you need to be prepared before you even think about looking at homes.
Showings During Covid-19
This is where you will see the most significant difference in the home buying process. You will most probably experience some type of virtual showing before you ever step foot into a property. Many agents are providing virtual tours to keep foot traffic to a minimum. If a house you find interesting doesn’t have a publicly posted visual tour, your agent will ask the listing agent if there is one they can send to you.
After seeing the virtual tour, if you are still interested, we will try to get you into the home for an in-person showing. If the house is vacant, this will be much easier. If the home is occupied, you may encounter some roadblocks.
Purchasing a home without an in-person showing
We are letting our buyers know that they may have to make an offer on a house without actually seeing the home in person. The inspection will be the first time you may get to see the property in person. That sounds scary, we know. We will be there to guide you every step of the way if this is the route we have to go.
In-person showings will be very different as well. The first difference will be that we will ask you to meet us at the property so we can keep our social distancing of 6′ away. We know you like to bring your mama and dem to look at houses. We get it, we really do! It’s a super exciting time, and you want your family to be involved, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer.
If you are buying a house during COVID-19, we will ask that only the purchaser(s) attend showings. This will be a seller request as well. If a seller is opening up their home for you to come through, they will want as few people as possible walking through. The seller will have all the lights on, and closet doors opened, so we will not need to touch anything while in the home. If you have a mask and gloves, we ask that you bring those with you. Our agents will have sanitizer and gloves as long as supplies are available.
Inspections may be a bit different as well. At this point, we are taking direction from the inspectors as to who comes to the inspection. If you bought the house without an in-person showing, we would make sure you are there and have time to inspect the home for yourself. If you had an in-person showing before writing your contract, we might ask that you come during the last 30 minutes of the inspection so that there are not a lot of folks in the home in close quarters. Again, we will play this by ear and also follow the inspector’s guidelines.
Closings will look a bit different during this time as well. We have seen closings happen in people’s cars. The attorney will come around and have you sign your docs either on a clipboard or on the hood of your vehicle. We have seen some title companies have a tent set up outside, and each party comes to the table separately to sign. When the weather is nice, this is a wonderful way to close! Some title companies still have in-person closings at their closing table, and the way they handle that is that each party comes in separately.
Every title company is doing their very best to accommodate each closing party. Sanitization is happening like crazy! The one thing that we have seen across the board is that all title companies have asked that the lender and real estate agents not attend the closing. This new protocol makes us sad. Closing day is so exciting, and we love to share that moment with you! Hopefully, one day soon, we will get back to our Louisiana closing parties!
Real Estate Looks Different
Things are different but not so tricky that real estate has shut down. If you need to purchase a new home, don’t be afraid. We will be there to guide you every step of the way. Keeping you protected and well is our top priority in all of these new protocols.
If you are in the beginning stages of starting to think about purchasing and want to see what is out there, visit our website to see all of the Greater Baton Rouge homes available for sale.