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Your Guide To Pandemic House Hunting: Productive, Proven Solutions

Written by Karen HutchinsonREALTOR® and Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

There’s No Need To Put Your Plans On Hold

The Covid-19 Pandemic has altered and halted the plans of more people than it hasn’t.  The Real Estate Industry has not been spared the effects either. 

While unfortunate, it’s not surprising that so many home buyers and home sellers have delayed moving forward with their dreams and goals, not knowing when or if to resume.

While it might seem like a lot of doom and gloom and disappointment, there’s good news for those who would like to move forward. 

Realtors and Brokers have quickly developed ways buyers can view homes and sellers can show their homes to prospective buyers as safely as possible.

Consumers should know that there’s hope for them.  They should know that the Real Estate Industry has not lost hope and the Industry Professionals are there to help in many ways. 

Many Real Estate consumers have decided not to delay, however.  They’ve decided that moving ahead with their plans to buy or sell, or both, is what’s best for them.

And some consumers don’t have a choice.  For instance, renters may have chosen to let their lease expire early on in the pandemic as it was their mission to buy a house.  Now, they are without a place to live. 

Some consumers may have been transferred for work and have no other option but to sell and buy in a new location.  As a result, Real Estate Agents in many markets have been deemed an Essential Service. We’re here to help you!

Here are some of the things that can assist Real Estate consumers as they pursue their dreams:

Read the property listing thoroughly

Property listings contain valuable information about the home you’re interested in.  In typical times, pre-Covid, some of the information wasn’t paid much attention.  But it’s a necessary resource, always. 

The property listing is one of the first resources home buyers should look at to become informed. Your Realtor will provide you with this.

Ask questions of your Realtor

Don’t hold back!  Your Realtor has a wealth of information on listed properties and has the means to investigate in-depth and get your questions answered. 

Keep a running list of questions and never feel bad about asking them.  There are no wrong questions!

Review the floor plan and land survey

Included with property listings are professional measurements and floor plans.  In many markets, they are required. 

While these documents don’t give you a personal feel for the home, they can help you discover the flow of the house and assist with your furniture placement plans. 

They can reveal whether the rooms’ sizes will be suitable for you and your family or if you should move on to investigate a different property.

You can determine if the yard is the right size for you and if the sun exposure is to your liking.  This is also a time-saver!

Use online maps to cruise through the neighbourhood

This too is a time-saver.  Schools, shopping, public transit, and places of worship can all be identified with a few clicks of a button.  If you aren’t too savvy, ask your Realtor to assist you with this!

Request neighbourhood information, including schools and amenities, from your Realtor

Online maps are a great start, but they don’t always provide everything you need to know.

Your Realtor has an abundance of resources available to assist you with the nitty-gritty information you will need to narrow down the neighbourhoods that would suit you. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Realtor. They love to help you!

Take a hike!

Now that you have gathered much of the preliminary information, you need to get a sense of a few homes and neighbourhoods. It’s time to go for a walk.

Not only will you get a good feel for the communities that interest you, but it’s also a great way to get yourself moving during this pandemic!

Ask your Realtor to send you price comparisons of similar homes that interest you

Included in the vast supply of resources your Realtor has available is the ability to compare the prices of similar homes.  Don’t miss this step! 

When it comes time to write an offer to purchase, you need to be educated on what a fair price will be for your chosen home.  Your Realtor has this information for you.  Use it!

Request a virtual tour or live video tour

Virtual tours were available pre-pandemic, but now they’re becoming essential.  Viewing a pre-packaged video or conducting a live video tour has a couple of useful benefits:

1.  It’s a time-saver!  What a great way to preview a property that may be quite a distance across the city, on the other side of the country, or the other side of the world! 

2.  It’s the covid-safe way to preview a home.  Viewing a home by virtual technology eliminates the need for hopping from one home to another, as we all did “back in the day” (less than a year ago!).  This means that we limit our exposure to the coronavirus and protect others from exposure to us.

*A note of caution, however: it’s still very important to view a home in person whenever possible prior to purchasing. Video tours can be a great way to narrow down the selection and choose some finalists for your in-person tours.

Respect the homeowners’ covid protocols they have set for their home

Now that you’ve collected much of the information you need to make informed decisions on some houses you wish to view in person, there can be rules in place at these homes. 

Homeowners have varying degrees of requirements for buyers that visit their house. 

Some homeowners have pre-existing conditions and need to take extra care.  You might find hand sanitizer, masks, and signage at some homes indicating how the owner would like you to proceed.  Be prepared to bring your own sanitizer and masks, however. 

Your Realtor often has this information in advance of in-person home tours.  Your Realtor will advise you of the seller’s preferences, and your safety is also very much a priority.

Electronic signatures

The development of electronic signatures has to be one of the most significant technological resources in the Real Estate industry. 

During your offer process, there may be quite a bit of back and forth during the negotiations.  Signatures are required on certain documents, but they aren’t all required to be in wet ink. 

Your Realtor can arrange signatures via email through specialty software.  Digital signatures are legal, widely accepted, and easy to use!

Trust your Realtor’s guidance, and your life will be made more comfortable and safer.

A final thought

We can all admit that none of us, no matter our life circumstances or the industry we work in, has ever experienced the challenges that this pandemic has brought.  With creativity and respect, we can achieve great things.  Not the least of which is our dream of owning a home!

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