THE HOME BUYING PROCESS During COVID-19
From the initial home buying consultation all the way through the home inspection and closing, the home buying process has changed dramatically. But even with these changes, our full-time real estate agents can help you find your dream home while protecting your health as well as ours. We are constantly monitoring new rules and regulations from Washington State and Skagit County authorities as well as guidance from the CDC to modify our plans as things change.
Below you will find the changes we have implemented to adjust to the new real estate regulations:
HOME BUYER CONSULTATIONS
If you’re just starting to work with us, we’ll be “meeting” with you via phone, FaceTime, Duo or Zoom for the initial home buying consultation to discuss your home search. We will talk about your needs, wants, answer any questions you have and discuss our strategy to help you find your next home. The new listing alert we set up from the MLS will allow you to see your potential dream homes as soon as the home is listed. And you might have noticed, secondary real estate websites often have inaccurate or dated information.
HOME SHOWINGS AND OPEN HOUSES
The way home showings are done has changed drastically. In order to view an occupied home, you will need to have a preapproval letter or proof of funds before even making an appointment to go see the home. We can walk you through this process so it doesn’t seem so scary, but for everyone’s protection, including the seller’s, most listing agents won’t allow in-person showings unless it’s a serious buyer. Therefore, if you see a property you’re interested in please let us know and we can ask if the listing agent has a video tour or can set up a virtual showing for us. If you want to see the home after viewing the video or virtual tour and think this is “the one”, the listing agent will require a copy of your preapproval letter or proof of funds as well as ask you to sign a COVID-19 disclosure to make sure you aren’t sick and haven’t been in contact recently with anyone who has Covid-19. If the showing is approved, we’ll be asked to wear a mask and gloves as well as booties. At this time in Skagit county, only 3 people (including us agents) are allowed inside the home at one time. We will ask you to meet us at the property. Most listing agents are asking that we do “touchless” showings meaning that the sellers are leaving on all lights and opening all doors and we are asked to not touch anything in the home other than the front and back door handles.
As of right now in-person open houses are not allowed and our real estate agents are doing virtual open houses via Zoom or Facebook Live. When you find a home you like you can make an appointment for you to see it in person if you wish. Some home buyers are opting to make an offer and only look at the home when their offer is accepted. Others do not see the home until after closing.
There’s no magic formula to dictate what is going to happen in the next few months or next year. We do not anticipate that home prices are going to drop in Skagit, Island or San Juan Counties, and in fact home prices are continuing to rise. However, that doesn’t mean there are not good deals to be found because of COVID-19 – interest rates are at an all-time low.
ACCEPTED OFFER TO PURCHASE A HOME
The first major step after getting your offer accepted is the inspection. We suggest you attend the home inspection if you feel comfortable doing so and are not high-risk for Covid. We will provide a mask and gloves. If you are not comfortable attending the home inspection, our real estate agents will set it up for you to attend virtually. All documents can be signed virtually and secure via Authentisign for electronic signatures.
Before closing is the final walkthrough. We can Zoom or FaceTime you through the final walkthrough if you prefer not to come in person or can do it in-person with gloves, booties, and masks.
The last step is closing. A few days before the closing day, you will sign the final loan documents. This can be done electronically. The escrow company will also send you closing documents to sign electronically or by appointment only if it needs to be in person.
We have an entire real estate team dedicated to setting up appraisals, inspections, repairs, notary services, and everything in between so we will make sure you are taken care of from contract to close while following safe distancing. Our goal is to make this a seamless as possible in the safest way we can – most everything can be done electronically or with little to no contact with others.
Our full-time real estate agents are dedicated to finding you the home you want and need – sure, there are some modifications based on the current climate of the world, but we are confident that our process will be thorough and safe for everyone.
Let’s go find your new home!