Although the coronavirus has brought many businesses and industries to a stand-still, that’s not the case with real estate. Residential real estate was designated an essential business. As a result, mortgage applications have remained at about 75% of what they were at this time in 2019. Still, in order to remain virus-free and healthy, buyers, agents, and mortgage lenders have had to take certain precautions, as well as finding some creative ways to complete the steps involved in the process of real estate transactions. If you’re in the market to buy a home, check out our coronavirus precautions to take when buying a house in East Hanover and neighboring towns.
Find a Lender that Doesn’t Use In-Home Appraisals
Your lender will require an appraisal to ensure that the house is worth at least as much as you want to borrow. Almost always an appraisal entailed a licensed appraiser touring and inspecting the home in person. And often the buyer (and her agent) would accompany the appraiser to the home. But now that’s changing.
As one of the coronavirus precautions East Hanover and neighboring towns appraisers are “turning to computer algorithms to value properties instead of sending appraisers to inspect home in person . . . That’s partly because Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage giants, recently directed mortgage lenders to reduce the need for an appraiser to inspect the interior of a home for eligible mortgages.” Keep in mind though that for “non-conforming mortgages, such as FHA loans, an in-home appraisal is still required.”
Opt for a Virtual Home Inspection
And you can take similar coronavirus precautions for home inspections. Typically, if you are a East Hanover homebuyer, you would accompany the inspector during a home inspection. Now, however, an increasing number of inspectors are doing virtual inspections.
A “number of home inspectors,” industry insiders say, “are now using live video chatting apps like FaceTime or Zoom to let home buyers tag along remotely. This keeps buyers at a safe distance for home inspections.”
Take Extra Measures for Final Walk-Through
Still, there remains the final walk-through that allows buyers to make sure the home is in good condition. Before heading to closing, buyers typically inspect the home one last time to make sure all systems and appliances are in good working order and that all required repairs have been made. This is a step that really can’t be done any way other than in person. So you’ll need to take some extra coronavirus precautions.
As always, wear your mask and avoid coming too close to anyone else present at the walk-through. In addition, you can ask the seller to leave doors and closets open so that you can inspect everything without having to touch anything. If weather permits, you can also ask the seller to open windows to let in plenty of virus-free fresh air.
Do an eClosing
One of the real estate coronavirus precautions growing in popularity is the eClosing. Closing usually required several people to gather together in one room. But with an eClosing, you can avoid the close-contact risk.
“Digital real estate closings, or eClosings, give buyers the ability to sign settlement documents electronically – meaning parties don’t have to meet in a room to close the deal. Most eClosings are orchestrated by title agents, who often lead individuals through the required paperwork via video conferencing.”
Do be aware, though, that eClosing are not legal in all states. To find out more about this, contact your local agent at (973) 887-2500.
Observe the CDC’s Recommendations
Finally, you should always observe all of the CDC’s coronavirus precautions and guidelines.
First, determine whether you are in a high-risk category. According to the CDC,”[o]lder adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 illness.”
Then, just do what the CDC recommends to avoid exposure to the virus – which is mainly spread from person to person and for which there is no vaccine yet.
- Keep a minimum of six feet between yourself and other people.
- Stay far away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t assume someone is virus-free simply because she is displaying no symptoms.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place.
- If you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face, especially mouth, eyes, and nose.
- Wear a cloth face cover when you go out in public.
Talk to Your Local Agent
These are indeed challenging times, with a lot of lives have been majorly disrupted. But we have also come up with more than a few creative solutions and workarounds – as you’ve just seen in this coronavirus precautions for East Hanover homebuyers. Your local real estate agent can also help you stay safe by suggesting other solutions and more precautions. So don’t overlook this valuable resource and partner. To discover more about how our agents can help, contact us today at (973) 887-2500.