Navigating the Home Buying Process During Quarantine
Updated: May 31, 2020
As Realtors, we are still able to work in NJ under certain conditions. Although our offices may be closed, we can make listing and buyer presentations in person and virtually. We can get homes ready for sale by meeting photographers and other marketing vendors. We can show listings to buyers, facilitate conducting inspections, appraisals, and final walk-throughs, as well as settlements under the common-sense guidelines listed below.
All meetings must be by appointment only (no open houses).
No more than 2-3 people can be at a showing or other meeting at any one time.
All parties must follow social distance rules requiring people stay 6 feet apart.
Buyers (and agents) should remove shoes or use booties to cover shoes.
Face masks and gloves are recommended.
Hand sanitizer (or soap and water, if available) should be used before and after leaving a home.
We totally understand our clients’ reticence to go out or have others in their homes, and respect the decision of homeowners, stagers, inspectors, and others who decline to participate as they would normally.
Given all that, and the fact that we are going stir crazy at home watching reruns of Friends and the Tiger King documentary, here are some things you can do now to make your (and our) lives easier when this is over and we all get back on track....or begin our new normal!
For Buyers – This is a great time to interview agents. Many will have a website where you can learn more about them and this is a great time to use your phone as a…wait for it…telephone to chat and determine which one suits you best. We’re like snowflakes – no two are exactly alike. You can also interview/meet them virtually on Face-time or Zoom meetings to see if you "click!"
If you haven’t already done so, check with a local lender to determine your purchasing power. Ask the lender about the various types of loans that work best for your personal financial situation. Make an online application and submit the paperwork the lender may ask for to get pre-approved.
Continue looking at listings. Ask your agent to send you those from the Coming Soon (CS) and Temporarily off the market (TO) statuses in addition to those that are Active (A) so you get a full range of what’s coming up, currently listed, or in a holding pattern.
For Sellers – Declutter, discard, and donate unwanted items. Put donations in a box or two out of the way for when your favorite charity is fully operational again. Clean your house. Bring out the antiseptic, Simple Green, Lysol, floor cleaner, and whatever else you may need. Don’t forget to wipe down the insides and outsides of kitchen cabinets and dust the tops of ceiling fans. (I totally need to do this!)
Paint the house or take care of other odd jobs you’ve been putting off. Cut the grass, pull weeds, and plant some flowers for curb appeal. The weather is finally taking a turn. Many photographers are working and can come to your home now to get ready for when the market is in full swing again. Stagers may be working and if not, your agent can virtually stage an empty room or virtually walk you through how to stage each room.
Be good to yourself – Try a new recipe. Sort through your favorite photos and send them off to be digitized. Scan important papers onto a flash drive or to the cloud. Exercise at home and get some Vitamin D by going for a walk, a jog, or by playing outside with the kids.
Take an online class, binge that show you’ve put off watching, or read that book sitting on your shelf. Give yourself a spa day with a bubble bath or hot, steamy shower, a cleansing mask, and cucumber infused water. Play silly Facebook games that you would normally ignore or take up a new hobby.
Think of others – Make masks to donate to hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Phone or use FaceTime or Zoom to keep in touch with friends while we’re isolated. Send cards to anyone you know who is sick or self-isolating and having a hard time. Order (and pay for) pizzas to be delivered to hospital workers, police officers and EMTs.
While you’re doing all that, I’ll be home-schooling (arguing) with my kids, failing miserably at another new recipe- I'm no chef, and probably hiding in my bathtub with a glass of wine and a face mask! Stay safe out there!
For more info or tips on how to navigate the market under current conditions reach out to us anytime at email@example.com.
Kimberly Brechka and Valerie M. Blake