If you’re one of the many consumers who are taking advantage of low interest rates and flexible work situations to shop for a new home—or a homeowner who is capitalizing on buyer demand and putting your home on the market—be mindful that the real estate process has changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to ask any real estate agent you’re considering working with the following questions:
How will you market my home? With online home search soaring to new levels, it’s more important than ever for a real estate agent to have an extensive online marketing plan for exposing your home to as many prospective buyers as possible. Find out what approach your agent intends to take and what technology they’re using—video tours of a listing are more critical than ever before.
How are you handling open houses? Social distancing guidelines have changed the traditional open house strategy for real estate professionals across the country. Find out if your agent is hosting virtual open houses, and ask what their safety procedures are if they’re holding open houses in person. For example, are they limiting the number of viewers at one time? Are they enforcing mask wearing? How are they ensuring hand sanitizing? Make sure your agent’s open-house game plan prioritizes safety.
Are you doing virtual showings? Many real estate transactions today are happening without a buyer ever stepping foot in the home. This is made possible thanks to live-stream virtual showings with buyers. Ask your real estate agent if they are showing homes virtually and what platform they are using, such as Facebook Live or Zoom. You’ll want to make sure that virtual showings are of the highest possible quality.
What part of the transaction can be handled online? Many parts of the real estate transaction have been transitioning to a digital process in recent years. The pandemic has now accelerated this movement. Ask your agent what steps, including which paperwork, can be accomplished online in order to avoid unnecessary meetings, such as processing your mortgage loan, submitting an offer, securing the title, the home inspection, etc.
While buying or selling a home right now may seem daunting in light of the health crisis, the real estate industry has responded rapidly and effectively. A professional agent will be able to guide you through this new—and more efficient—environment.