Coronavirus Real Estate Guide – Here’s How to Buy or Sell Your Home in California During COVID-19

April 13, 2020

Coronavirus Real Estate Guide – Here’s How to Buy or Sell Your Home in California During COVID-19

Things are of course uncertain right now. Since the Sacramento area has extended the stay at home order until at least May, it can make it seem more difficult to buy or sell a home. The number one thing is to make sure we still do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Yet there is still a need for people to buy and sell homes at this time for many important personal, work, or financial reasons. 


Luckily, so many things can be done virtually today and we are still able to help you. Here is how you can easily buy or sell a home while practicing social distancing. 



What are the rules during the quarantine?


Real estate is an essential business, so it will remain open. Although the market has slowed down in response to the coronavirus and some have taken their houses back off of the market, there are still a significant number of people buying and selling this Spring. 


This is also an advantage in some ways, as any unsure buyers will back out and the very interested buyers may become more interested in closing on a home quickly. 


Here are the rules moving forward on how we can do our best to help you: 


View the homes you’re interested in online if you can. Then you can also ask your agent to take a video on their smartphone as a virtual tour of the home. You can also talk to them at the same time to make sure you get all of your questions answered about the property in real time.  If possible, all transactions should be done virtually. Virtual walk throughs, contract signings, making changes to contracts, accepting offers, and making payments can all be done securely online. 


If you do decide to do a walk through of a home, I suggest you check with your Realtor to make sure all of the proper precautions are taken care of. The sellers should not be present when realtors and potential buyers are at the home, to maintain social distancing. 


Your Realtor can only show the property to two people at a time at the most. A minimum of a six-foot distance must be maintained between people, and protective gloves and a mask should be worn by everyone. 


Check here for a complete list of rules that Realtors in California will be following.




Important steps to sell your home in California during Quarantine 


Reach out to your Realtor with a quick phone call or an email. If you feel a video chat would make you more comfortable to talk about selling your home while social distancing, ask your Realtor to do that via Zoom. 


You may want to enlist the help of a videographer that specializes in producing videos for virtual home tours. Or your Realtor may be able to use Zoom or Facetime on their phone to go through the home with potential buyers virtually. Ask your Realtor for advice on this. 


All necessary appraisals and inspections will still be performed. While normally the home buyer or their Realtor would be present while appraisals happen, the appraiser should now go by themselves and use Zoom or Facetime to communicate with the Realtor or home buyer during the process. Home repairs that are required because of the contract will also still happen too. 


Prepare for the potential home buyers to do a final walk through of the home. Buyers may ask that you leave all closets open so they won’t have to touch anything like door handles as a precaution. All contracts can be signed online during video conferencing, which is usually presided over by a title agent, where they can confidently lead you through the paperwork.  



What to do if you want to buy a home in California during the Quarantine


Realtors won’t be able to drive home buyers to showings at this time to maintain social distancing. More creative measures will need to be taken during the shelter in place orders. 


If there isn’t a virtual video tour of the home available, your Realtor can walk through the home you’re interested in on their own while either taking a video for you or talking with you over Facetime or Zoom on their phone. This lets you discuss the home while they are looking through it in real-time. 


Note: I suggest using Zoom so that you can get a recording of the video to reference afterwards.


For safety reasons, it’s not recommended that you physically go through every home you’re interested in. You should only be there in person for the final walkthrough on the home that you’re going to close on. 


Most necessary appraisals and inspections will still be performed as required for most loans, especially FHA loans. Ask your Realtor about what will be required for your situation. Home repairs that are required because of the contract will also need to be taken care of. 


All documents and contracts can be talked through and signed online. Closing on a home sale can be accomplished through a video conference, usually led by a title agent, where they can go through the paperwork with you in real-time. They’ll be able to share their screen and walk you through each step of the contract to address any questions you might have.


If you are planning to buy a new home build instead, know that home construction builders are also staying open and operating at this time as well. 






In order to make sure that you can buy the home you need or sell – we can maintain contact through phone calls, emails, and video conferencing. 


But, if you’re wanting to wait until the shelter in place orders are over to buy a home or put your home in the market, now is a great time to strategize with your Realtor on what to do about your real estate goals once this passes. 


This is a stressful time but we are here to help you. If you are looking to buy a home or sell a home in the Placer County area, contact us at Quantum Real Estate so that we can talk you through the process. 


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