Shopping for a Home During a Pandemic?  Here Are Some Tips.

One good thing within this coronavirus pandemic: people aren’t dropping like flies all around us.  There is an actual virus, and it is causing serious problems for some people.  But it’s not laying to waste America’s overall population.

One thing about the virus that’s a definite concern: it truly exists, and we’re always better erring on the side of caution until we fully understand its scope, power and trajectory.

Earlier in the year, virus-panic dealt quite a blow to the home market.  It’s not that people didn’t want to buy or sell their properties, but rather people didn’t want to risk their lives doing it.  You can’t blame them.

But as we move along, we see that we’re likely not at risk of death simply by leaving our houses and breathing the fresh air.  And as the panic eases, more home-buying and home-selling activities are starting to take place throughout Fort Smith and the rest of the nation.  Still, we have to enter this process wisely and take the necessary precautions.

Virtual home tours

One of the greatest real estate technologies in recent years is virtual home tours.  This allows a homebuyer to use a computer or device to “virtually” walk through a home for sale.  When the buyer turns, the camera turns inside the home.  Wherever the buyer goes, the visual of the rooms of the home also goes.

With a virtual home tour, many buying decisions can be made without ever having to meet in person with Realtors or sellers or having to physically enter the home.  Obviously, there is a need for in-person activity at one point, but much of the initial work can be done in the safety of your own home.

Many real estate agencies offer virtual home tours for many of their properties, so take advantage of this great technology.

Open houses

A lot of areas throughout the U.S. are opening up, and that means more open houses.  A good open house has always been one of the best ways to learn about a property you’re interested in.  I know a lot of people are squeamish about going into a “foreign” home during this coronavirus business, but if the right precautions are taken, the risks will be greatly reduced.  Precautions include:

  • Wear a face mask, if you feel safer.
  • Request that your Realtor or the Realtor representing the home mask up (this may already be happening).
  • Stay out of open houses where you see huge numbers of people going in and out – social distancing is always a smart idea.
  • Find out if the people running the open house are using sanitary wipes on doorknobs and surfaces.  It never hurts for you to wear rubber gloves (like surgical gloves) to the open house.
  • If you’re sick with any kind of “bug,” avoid going to open houses.

Take advantage of online property listings and descriptions

Even if no virtual home tour is available for properties you’re interested in, you should still be able to use Realtor’s websites to shop till you drop for all the homes you like in your area.

Doing plenty of your own investigation will arm you with a lot of knowledge and allow you to jot down your questions before making “public” contact with an agent or home seller.

Also take advantage of your phone.  Real estate agents spend a lot of time on their phones, and so should you when searching for a new dwelling.  Ask your questions, talk about home features, inquire about neighborhood amenities – you can do all this and more before you actually come into contact with the property.

These are just some ideas.  It’s up to each of us to decide how cautious we want to be during these unusual times.  The point is, the virus situation as it stands right now in June 2020 shouldn’t prevent us from looking for a new home or selling the one we have.  We just need to go about it wisely.

Nick Glidewell