Technology Help for Today’s Buyers, and Other Things to Know

Home Buying Tips and Advice

It’s a new world out there in real estate as a result of the coronavirus and the shelter-in-place order here in California, and around the country.

If you are looking for homes, or touring them, you probably already know about some of these changes. For those who are interested in buying but not yet actively searching or touring, here are some things to be aware of.

  1. Technology is being used more and more to facilitate home searches and provide information that buyers want and need – see the infographic below. There are more photos, more videos, more use of 3D video that’s like walking through the home itself, drone videos and photos (where it makes sense for the property). I recommend driving by homes of interest too, since location can be such an important issue.

2. Because of the CDC recommendations, and other requirements for real estate here in CA, some homes are not available to tour at all – these may be homes that are occupied – and you must use technology “to visit.” Some buyers are OK with this while others are not. Some agents, and sellers, are conducting live home tours via Facetime and other technology, or creating a walk-through video.

3. There are new forms required in California. The PEAD Form (California Association of Realtors Property Entry Advisory and Declaration) is to be signed by the seller, as well as anyone accessing a property – buyers and their agents, appraisers, home inspector – before a showing.

4. All parties are requested to follow the CDC guidelines for safety during showings – wearing masks, gloves, booties, using hand sanitizer, and social distancing, and everyone is advised to not touch surfaces, door handles, etc. While some homes may have these supplies (sometimes referred to as PPE or Personal Protection Equipment), or some of them, you should plan to bring your own. Some properties limit the number of people who can be at a showing to the buyer agent and no more than 2 others.

5. You may be requested to verify you have viewed all the information available on the property, including videos, virtual tours, and 3D tours, BEFORE you can move forward with an approved showing.

6. Some listing agents and sellers are requiring buyers provide a copy of their current pre-approval before a showing is approved. Presumably you are already pre-approved if you are planning to buy, or are in the process of getting pre-approved so this should not be a problem.

As far as making offers, the process is pretty much the same. Most agents talk with their clients over the phone, discuss the offer strategy, review comparables, and other details before making an offer.

And with the common use of Docusign these days, or some similar technology, to facilitate electronic signatures on required documents, submitting an offer is simple and safe, and puts no one at risk. The same is true once you are in escrow with that wonderful accepted offer, and have lots of disclosures to review and sign.

Some home inspectors are requesting buyers not attend and they will provide a video or Facetime review of the inspection issues, plus the reports and photos they always have shared.

In some cases appraisals are being waived, or they are only drive-by (exterior) appraisals. You will want to ask your lender about the appraisal process in this market.

If I can answer any questions or otherwise assist you with a home purchase now, or in the future, please reach out to me at (760) 840-1360 so we can get started. I want you to feel as comfortable as possible with all the new procedures we should follow.

For some now may not be the right time to buy, and that’s understandable. But we can certainly talk about your personal situation, your housing needs and budget, and anything else we need to cover to have you ready for your home search and purchase when the time is right for you!