Tips for Buying or Selling a Home During a Pandemic

Are you unsure of what to expect when it comes to buying or selling your home during coronavirus? Worried things might be drastically different or it’s a bad time? Angie answers several common questions when it comes to buying or selling a home in the middle of a pandemic. 

Selling or buying a home in the middle of a pandemic is definitely a new experience for everyone. What kind of questions should you ask your real estate agent to best prepare? 

For starters, what kind of safety measures are in place? Angie shares how she wears her mask, brings hand sanitizer, and keeps social distance throughout the process to keep safe. There are a number of options including a zoom call as well when meeting with your realtor.   

When considering the financial aspect of buying or selling a home, is this still a good time? Sellers may benefit from the limited inventory available whereas buyers may benefit from the lowered interest rate. Financially, you may still do very well buying or selling a home right now, despite the pandemic. 

What kind of restrictions are there on showings? This will come down to your town, county, and state orders. But there are still creative ways to make sure you get the home you wanted. Some people are more comfortable than others with buying a home without making a visit in person, especially since technology allows for things like virtual tours or video calls to get as close as possible to a walkthrough.   

When it comes time to close on the home and move, are there any changes to that process to be aware of ahead of time? What kind of options do you have when it comes to hiring a moving crew or signing on that dotted line? While there were some early fears that this could be disrupted, most of this part of the moving process has stayed the same. 

Listen to the full episode or click on the timestamps below to hear more about buying or selling a home during coronavirus. 

1:35 - What safety measures are you taking during the pandemic as a realtor? 

3:46 - Is now a good time to buy or sell from a financial standpoint? 

5:05 - Are home showings even allowed? 

8:53 - Which homes are easiest or hardest to sell right now? 

10:13 - What happens if you are now unemployed or temporarily furloughed? 

11:29 - Is the closing process still the same? 

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The Host:

Angie Cole - Contact - Call: 919-538-6477

Show Transcription:

Note: This is an automated transcription. Please forgive the robots as they tend to make some (a lot of) mistakes...

Speaker 1: (00:02)
It's time for the savvy real tour podcast. I'm Walter Storholt alongside Angie Cole, the owner and broker in charge of ACole Realty serving you throughout the triangle, teaching you about the ins and outs when it comes to buying or selling a home. You can find the team online by going to that's a C O L E or by calling (919) 578-3128 that's (919) 578-3128 and now it's time for one of the top realtors in the triangle. Angie Cole and the savvy realtor podcast. I know a lot of folks, Angie are, even though we talk each week, you're on the program about how the market is actually looking pretty good right now from a real estate standpoint and locally, things are strong still both from a buyers and a seller's perspective, but that doesn't always, not everybody hears our show all the time, time and so that doesn't eliminate all the fears that are still out there and a lot of the questions that I'm sure you're still getting on a daily basis from clients in the area wondering, you know, can I sell, what should I know about selling in the middle of the pandemic?

Speaker 1: (01:07)
This is the first time I've ever gone through this situation. You know, we only sell and buy homes a couple of times in our lives anyway. Now we're doing it in another very unique situation in the middle of this crisis and pandemic and all the ongoing changes that we have. So it kind of came up with a list of questions that clients are probably asking you and maybe ones that they should be asking an agent if they are thinking about buying or selling in the near future. So you ready for, I'm going to pepper you with a couple of these. How does that sound right? Let's do it. Alright, first one on the list is, um, what safety measures are you taking during the pandemic to help your clients get through the process and how has that changed the way that you do business?

Speaker 2: (01:46)
Sure. Um, you know, it, it really depends on the client and their comfort level. You know, there are some clients that we work with that everything's normal to them. You know, they're, they're just like business the same and there's others that are a little bit more cautious. So it really depends on the individual client. So for example, with our sellers, you know, I'm always proactive to make sure that I bring my face mess with me and I asked, you know, Hey, do you prefer for me to wear my mask or not? You know, I don't also want to wear it. And they were like, this is weird, you know? So I give them the opportunity to make that decision. And also it's a little awkward for me too, because I want them to see me smiling. Right. Um, it's hard to really upsell yourself and present yourself, um, as far as how you're going to market their home and all this good stuff when they can't even see your mouth talking.

Speaker 2: (02:30)
So, but it's completely up to them. Uh, so when, when it comes to, you know, our buyers, you know, it's all about a course, you know, keeping that distance. Right. Um, and I think social distancing is such a funny word. I would say more physically, you know, just syncing, you know, but keeping our distance, you know, it's great when the sellers, they go ahead and they have all doors open lights on so we don't have to touch anything. But of course, you know, we're always prepared with our Lysol wipes, you know, with our hand sanitizer. And so we're doing our part to stop the spread, you know, of germs, you know. But once again, it's, it's just explaining the process to both buyers and sellers and telling them what their options, you know, can be, you know, for example, a seller, if they don't want me to come into their home, we can do a zoom call, we can FaceTime, we can do a a listing presentation over the phone. But it really depends on them and you know, what makes them feel comfortable. But for the most part, you know, we're seeing that, you know, most people are just wanting to handle things as normal before the, I guess the norm before the pandemic hit. You know, they, they just want kind of like business the same.

Speaker 1: (03:34)
That's great. Glad to hear that people are still confident to get out there and sell homes and buy homes and that is certainly good and nice that you're able to kind of meet them where they're comfortable and adapt to them. That's helpful as well. Uh, what about this question, Andrew, from buyers and sellers? Have you gotten this one? Is now a, from a financial standpoint, good time to buy or sell?

Speaker 2: (03:53)
Yeah, I mean, from a financial standpoint, I mean, of course everyone has their own finances and so you personally need to decide that. You know, I know some people, um, th they decided to hang tight maybe because most of their money was in stocks just to kind of, because of the volatility, you know, of the market, they just didn't feel comfortable with making that investment, you know, in a home. Um, so we have had people who said, you know what, let's just hang tight for a moment. Let's really see how things will pan out. Um, but for the most part, you know, from a financial standpoint on the seller side, we're still in such a strong seller's market in the Tory levels are continuing to drop. And if you look at supply and demand, less inventory means prices are on the rise. But then on the buy side, you know, interest rates are still super, super low. The lending requirements did get a little bit stricter, but we're already seeing that being lifted. Uh, somewhat. Um, for a lot of the loans they were requiring a higher credit score in order to qualify. But we're already seeing that credit score limit be, you know, lessened. Uh, so again, a lot more people can get qualified so you know, it, it financially, you know, is still a wonderful time to buy and sell.

Speaker 1: (05:05)
Are home showings even allowed, I know some people kind of have this because the rules are different in every state, but also different even from town to town or County to County. So depending on where you are may vary that answer a little bit. Yeah, and definitely

Speaker 2: (05:19)
remember you have your state mandated rules and restrictions, but say for example, if a County or city was stricter than the state mandated, um, you know, requirements that would supersede and override the state. So it really depends on, you know, the smaller municipalities as far as what they're requiring. But for the areas that we cover, the triangle, the Fayetteville market, I'm the only hiccup we are running into is for Durham County, which actually just got extended again. Um, I don't remember until what date, but they are allowing showings on vacant homes, but they are not allowing showings on home still. Um, and so if you are thinking about selling your home in Durham, of course, I mean, we can, you know, think of some great options to still get your home sold. You know, they are, I know we're representing some buyers where we made an offer, a sight unseen offer there, a minimal due diligence money, which then gives us the opportunity then to get into the home, uh, because now we're officially under contract and then if everything looks as we expected, we then give more due diligence money. So, you know, there are ways around making this work. So it's a win win for the buyer and seller. Um, but yeah, showings are allowed and business again is just the same. The only hiccup we're running into a little bit is Durham County.

Speaker 1: (06:38)
Okay. So that's good to know that caveat. But it's not like you can't not see the home period before you buy it, but certainly during the, uh, during the offer process, you have to wait until you actually go under contract before you can step foot in that occupied home.

Speaker 2: (06:52)
You're exactly right. Yep. But, um, but luckily, you know, once you are under contract anything and everything can be done in order to make it to the closing table.

Speaker 1: (06:59)
So the clients ask you, Angie, you know, like, Hey, what's your opinion of buying a home without seeing it first? I mean, is it something you recommend that it's okay for people to do? Where are you mostly just leave it up to their comfort level? How do you advise folks on that?

Speaker 2: (07:12)
It's completely of course up to their comfort level. I mean, we, that's not up to us to make that decision. But before the pandemic, I mean we, we were selling home site on unseen. There's a lot of clients that we work with who are relocating to our area and they're not able to actually make a visit before they have to make their official move and they have to have a place to move into and they prefer not to rent. They want to go ahead and buy and have that home ready to go. And so they, for some coming years, typically the final day they're walked through in their closing. So that's not uncommon for us. Actually. We do it quite a bit. And once again, even before you know, the, the coven 19 breakout, so that's not uncommon, but again, it's up to the client and their comfort level. You know, we would never, ever once you, you know, advise or push to do that in any sense if someone did not feel comfortable, uh,

Speaker 1: (08:00)
you don't notice, you don't notice higher rates of, uh, people unhappy with their homes buying sight unseen.

Speaker 2: (08:06)
No. Knock on wood, actually, we've had a hundred percent success rate from it. I know it's always a little nerve wracking. Like, Oh, I hope they love it, you know, but you know, we, we do take a lot of pictures, a lot of videos, live videos, you know, we're FaceTiming them and you know, so they're getting a really good feel of their home even though they're not actually stepping foot in the home. So yeah, we, we've had, you know, we're, we're 10 for 10 or, you know, whatever number it is. Yeah. With people just being ecstatic about their new home.

Speaker 1: (08:37)
You're, you're batting a thousand, I think is the, uh, the baseball reference thing. Perfect. That's great to hear. And it makes sense with technology as it is these days, we can add a lot more context to a home digitally than we used to be able to. So that's certainly a big improvement. Uh, what kinds of homes you think will be the easiest to sell during this current environment? And then on the flip side, is there a style of home that you think is hardest to sell right now?

Speaker 2: (09:03)
Sure. You know, I would say the easiest homes to sell or the homes where we have least inventory, you know, whether it's during times, like now or just in general, you know, homes that are at a lot lower price point, uh, seemed to go quicker. They seem to fly off the market. So I'd say they're probably easier to sell. And then on the flip side, I would say the higher price point, the luxury end is probably a little bit tougher. You know, also we tend to find, you know, the more of the luxury price point is typically a move because they want to, right. It's not out of necessity. And so, you know, those showings have dropped somewhat and I would say people are not moving as quickly. Also, we tend to find, you know, for more of the luxury market that, you know, money used for down payments and for purchasing the home could definitely be, you know, money that was in stocks or retirement and maybe an individual doesn't feel a hundred percent comfortable right now with pulling that money from those avenues. So, but that's not to say that those homes still aren't selling. I mean, whether, you know, we were, you know, dealing with the coven 19 are not always the lower price points tend to fly off the market quicker.

Speaker 1: (10:13)
Yeah, that's a great point. Now we do have a lot of people, Angie, who have lost their jobs through this, even here locally, even though I feel like we're certainly not as bad off as some other parts of the country, um, we still have a lot of job losses. And so what about maybe somebody who had set aside money for a down payment, was getting ready to buy a home but is currently unemployed? Maybe it's just even temporary, a furlough for a little while or something like that. Is buying a home out of the question for those folks right now?

Speaker 2: (10:38)
Yeah, unfortunately, you know, if you're obtaining financing it will be out of the question just because you have to be currently employed receiving that income. You know, remember a lender is required to call into your employer and get employment and for verification, you know, in the beginning of the process and then right up until the closing date. So unfortunately if you've been, you know, are now unemployed or even been for load or whatever the situation is that you're not still receiving, you know those paychecks, you know, unfortunately we'll need to kind of take a halt and wait until you are back on board.

Speaker 1: (11:12)
Yeah, it's an unfortunate situation but when that does does happen, it does. Unfortunately, hopefully that will be coming less than less. If things do start to turn around and get a little bit back to normal, we can kind of STEM that tide a little bit and get more people still eligible to buy homes and move when they need to and want to. Uh, last question for you, Angie. On this topic, talking about Corona virus real estate buyer and seller questions, the closing process, is it still the same and also in addition to that, are there still resources in place for me to make a move? Rental trucks, moving companies, those kinds of things?

Speaker 2: (11:45)
Yeah. Um, we, you know, there were sad definitely that fear in the beginning. For example, you know, our lenders advised us to do longer due diligence periods. The appraiser count was dropping, you know, less people felt comfortable going into homes. So they didn't have as large of a vendor list for appraisers. But anyways, they, we have found actually nothing has changed. You know, there are still those people that are out there working, you know, the, the movers, you know, to move people to pack them. You know, the rental trucks are still available. So I haven't seen any issues or hiccups that our clients are running into. Um, which is wonderful. You know, we're, we're still hitting those 30 day closing dates, sometimes even shorter and still able to align just, you know, every step of the way as far as the process go. Just the line, everything up, just like normal.

Speaker 2: (12:32)
So thankfully, you know, uh, we, we haven't seen any issues where I know in other States, I know that can definitely be different, but you know, the, the state has done a wonderful job on making real estate in general, a central and all of the items that go along with it essential as well, you know, um, it as far as to make that closing take place. So whether you're thinking about buying or selling a home, I mean, like we've been mentioning, I mean now is still a great time. Our market is still thriving. You know, we have low interest rates, low inventory, and so it's a win win for both sides. So if you feel comfortable right now with making those transitions, I mean, now is the time. So, especially if you're thinking about selling a, we are in a very strong seller's market and that will only continue because we are seeing that inventory levels are tapering off some, you know there are some sellers that have decided to hang tight and not sell quite now.

Speaker 2: (13:24)
So inventory levels are dropping some. So what that means our prices are on the rise. You know, homes are continued to increase and appreciate. Um, so if you are thinking about selling your home and you want to get an idea of what your home is worth in today's market, I know that typically that's where most sellers want to start. We would love the opportunity to send you an idea of what your home is worth. So if you are thinking about selling your home and you want to get an idea of what your home is worth in today's market, just text the word listing to the phone number five five five eight eight eight. And from there our team will send you a link. Make sure that you click the link and you input your address. We do need your address in order to give you an idea of what your home is worth. So once again, if you're thinking about selling your home and you want to get an idea of what your home is worth in today's market, pull out your smartphone and text the word listing to the phone number five five five eight eight

Speaker 1: (14:21)
you've been listening to the savvy real tour podcast. I'm Walter store alongside Angie Cole. She's the owner and broker in charge of eight Cole Realty here in the triangle. And if you have questions for Angie, we invite you to go online to a cold listen to past podcast episodes on the website. Read the blog and all the great information, including the option to find a home right there on the website. That's a Cole and you can also call Angie with your questions. Nine one nine five eight 31 

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