As you probably know if you’ve been keeping up with my blog recently, realtors never went away during this crisis – we just had to stay home. Now, of course, staying home while trying to help people buy and sell homes was a challenge to say the least…but now we’re back! Real Estate is reopening and tours of homes are now allowed to proceed – and there are plenty of homes for sale in the Paoli area to look at!
This is great news for everyone, but things aren’t totally back to normal quite yet. There are certain rules and regulations that we all must comply with in order to keep ourselves and others safe. These regulations will probably frustrating to people on both sides of the coin: Some think we should all still be staying home, and others think that there should not need to be restrictions at all anymore. But, unsurprisingly, in this case as in many others, the correct answer is some middle ground. Following these guidelines will help to keep us all safe while we gradually begin to return to our normal lives.
So what are these new rules for reopening Real Estate? Well, there are some that are set by the state, and those are standard all over, but others are different from house to house, as sellers are also allowed to let buyers and realtors know what they are comfortable with. I’ll explain what these are, and which is which, below.
State Rules for Reopening Real Estate
These are the rules that everyone must abide by when going to view or buy a for sale home in Pennsylvania, set by Governor Tom Wolf. These will be the same no matter where in the state you go, until the governments say otherwise or we move into a new color zone. With your help in abiding by these rules, we can all ensure that reopening Real Estate goes as smoothly as possible.
- All buyers must be pre-approved for a mortgage. This will ensure that anybody who goes to look at a seller’s home is truly serious about buying and won’t begin the process and then suddenly have to stop. This is just as much to ensure that people don’t catch the virus as it is to make sure you don’t waste your own time – better to know early on in the process if there are any issues you need to take care of. If you need information on how to get pre-approved, you can see my post on qualifying for a mortgage for help.
- All buyers must have watched the virtual tour video before requesting an appointment. This is helpful for everyone – yes, it’s hard to tell if you like a home from a video tour, but if you watch the tour before going to see the house, you’ll already have a general picture, and you can free up some of your attention to focus on smaller details, like walk-in closets and crawlspaces. Honestly, I can see this measure continuing well after we return to complete normalcy – it’s helpful to everyone involved. (My standard practice has always been to have a video home tour, which you can find under my featured listings on my homepage. A lot of people recently have been asking, “do video tours work?” I believe they work tremendously: It’s much better than getting by with static photos from an iPhone, which don’t show you the whole picture.)
- All buyers & agents must wear masks & some sellers request gloves and booties. This is to help keep the virus from spreading. It’s a precautionary measure meant to keep everyone safe.
- No more that 3 people total in the house at one time. These are to help us stay compliant with the social distancing guidelines we’ve been practicing for so long.
- Sellers should try to space showings so that they are about 30 minutes apart, and sanitize in between. This is another small measure to keep everyone safe.
- All buyers and agents must sign a COVID-19 form ahead of any showings. This form contains a symptoms questionnaire to fill out, to ensure that nobody entering the home has any symptoms of the virus. If you’re not feeling well, you should just stay home – that’s just good sense. No matter what you have, it’s more polite not to go out and risk infecting your agent or the sellers.
There is one crucial thing that you need to note, of course, and that is this: Things are changing every day. That’s good! None of us liked where we were, so it’s good that we’re slowly returning to normal – but it’s going to take a lot of day-to-day, gradual adjustments to get us there. As such, the information here could change by next week, it could change by tomorrow, or it could stay the same – but know you can trust that I will do my utmost to keep you up to date, and I will follow whatever guidelines are current to the letter.
So is now the time to buy and sell, or should I wait a little longer?
If you’re looking to buy or sell your house, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me about your options – as I said previously, things are changing all the time, but as much as we see them changing for the better now, there’s always a chance things could reverse. This goes especially as we head into the fall and flu season begins anew. They are saying there’s a chance there could be a second wave, and while some may see that as a reason to avoid moving, I’d like to urge you to reconsider.
The rates for mortgages are extremely low right now, for a number of reasons. As reopening Real Estate progresses, right now, we’re right in the sweet spot: You still have these unbelievable rates, but you can actually go look at the homes in person now, which was one of the main concerns holding buyers back before. These two factors are creating a huge win-win situation for buyers. Since none of us truly knows what will happen next, time is of the essence to claim these deals while you still can. If you wait, one of two things could happen:
- We could begin to see a resurgence of cases, causing the reinstitution of harsher regulations and stay-at-home orders, meaning you couldn’t come out to see potential homes the way you can now.
- Things could continue to return to normal, including rates – meaning you would have missed an opportunity to save yourself thousands of dollars on your mortgage.
When it’s all laid out like that, it’s pretty clear: Now is the perfect time to buy, and, since buyers are coming out in droves, the perfect time to sell too. If you’re thinking of doing either, I’d be more than happy to help you – I’m just as eager to get out there as you are! There are plenty of great homes for sale in the Paoli area, and there are sure to be even more in the coming days.