COVID-19 FAQ For Buyers

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has crept into every corner of our lives, real estate has been no exception. Gov. Bill Lee issued a “shelter at home” order Thursday, April 2, but real estate services are carved out as an “essential business”. So does this mean it is business as usual? The answer to that question is a simple no. As you may know from watching the national news or observing social media platforms this issue has a wide variety of opinions. Fortunately, the aim of this article is just to answer some frequently asked questions you may have as a buyer. We can leave the larger issues to be solved elsewhere. 

Can I go to an open house?

Realtors have received strong guidance from the National, Tennessee, and Central West Tennessee Association of Realtors to use virtual alternatives for open houses. It is unlikely you would find one to attend. 

Should I buy a property “sight unseen”?

People have purchased property “sight unseen” long before this pandemic. There are measures and disclosures in place to do this. I would strongly advise against buying a property without first personally viewing it.

Can we sign offers and closing documents remotely?

Yes, contracts are frequently signed remotely and there are now services available to close remotely. 

Can we still look at properties?

Yes, people are scheduling and viewing houses on a daily basis. There are a few precautions that you may want to take. There are also a few things you may want to be aware of so you aren’t caught off guard. 

  • Please do not schedule a showing if anyone in your party exhibits cold/flu-like symptoms or has been exposed to the virus.
  • It would be advisable to drive your own vehicle and not ride with your agent or others that you don’t reside with.  

  • Some sellers may ask potential buyers to take precautions such as wearing masks, gloves, using hand sanitizer, and not opening doors or turning on lights (basically not touching anything). While this doesn’t occur at every listing it will happen if you view several homes that are occupied. 

  • Some sellers may also ask for an agent to conduct a virtual showing as they don’t currently want others in their home. 

  • You should practice social distancing measures when viewing a home. Try to avoid shaking hands, standing close to others, etc. 

Do you have a specific question about viewing homes during the COVID-19 outbreak? Please contact me and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have.