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What You Should Know about Home Buying and Selling During the COVID-19 Crisis

NextHome SunRaye would like to share helpful resources that will help you navigate the new norms of real estate during this uncertain time, whether you are looking to buy or sell. Creativity and technology have been a tremendous help to agents, buyers, and sellers. Everyone is practicing health and safety measures while making deals happen, and it has been working well.

Many buyers are touring houses virtually. Others view homes in person but remain six feet from their agent. Sellers are hosting open houses on Facebook Live. Appraisers are conducting drive-by valuations. Buyers are watching inspections via video call, and closings are taking place safely as notaries get signatures on doorsteps outfitted in masks and gloves or via drive by closing services. While adjustments have been necessary and minimizing in-person interaction has been key, deals are getting done without much delay.

Buyers today are serious ones. Remember, there was a shortage of inventory across the housing market before today’s economic slowdown. With that stage being set and buyer choices already limited, some sellers have been removing their homes from the market due to the pandemic as well. This makes it a very opportunistic time for you to list your home for sale and appear on every buyer’s radar. As prices continue to hold steady in this low-inventory market, you can feel confident about selling today. Embracing the idea of selling virtually can result in your home making the top of an eager buyer’s list.

 

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VIRTUAL SHOWINGS and SAFE SHOWING GUIDELINES

Agents have been utilizing FaceTime and similar tools to conduct home tours for years. These platforms are now proving just how incredibly valuable they are in the process of home buying and selling during this health crisis. Zillow and other real estate sites have reported a 191% surge in 3D home tours and brokerages have reported a dramatic increase in requests for video home tours since March.

In-person showings are permitted in Florida, and agents have been diligent to wipe down door handles, spray lockboxes with disinfectant, while they open the house, closets, cabinets, etc. for their clients. Light switches stay on so no one touches switches. The National Association of Realtors recommends that only one buyer enter a home at a time, with six feet between each guest. NAR also recommends agents have potential buyers use hand sanitizer or wash their hands when they come in the door. Shoes should also be removed, and children should not be present at showings.

Mabél Guzmán, the vice president of association affairs for NAR has put together a video offering tips for virtual showings while we deal with these unusual circumstances.

MORTGAGE RATES and LOCKS and EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION

As mortgage rates have been fluctuating and closing times may take a bit longer, some lenders are extending mortgage rate lock periods. Grabbing a good rate and hanging on to it even if your lender takes a little longer to process your loan is quite possible. Check with your lender about its policy.

An important step in obtaining a mortgage is obtaining employment verification, and typically, lenders will call a borrower’s employer for verbal verification. Because so many business are not yet back up and running, the Federal Housing Finance Authority, which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and federal home loan banks, has relaxed the rules for loans backed by the federal government during this time. Lenders for these types of loans will now accept an email verification, a recent year-to-date paystub, or bank statement showing recent payroll deposit to meet this requirement.

SO, IS IT SAFE TO BUY OR SELL? 

The real estate industry is safely and creatively responding to these extraordinary times. Mortgage rates remain low and your agent is a great source of information about buying and selling during this health crisis to help you feel more at ease. Call NextHome SunRaye Realty today at (727) 343-8600 to discuss your options and how we can help you safely navigate selling your home or making your next home purchase during this time.