The coronavirus pandemic has many people wondering whether they should delay their home purchase or if they’re selling, pull their listing from the market. COVID-19 has required many industries to make adjustments, and real estate is no exception. Whether you’re in a situation where you need to buy or sell a home, or you simply want to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates, it’s essential to understand how the real estate landscape has changed.
What Should Homebuyers and Sellers Expect?
Despite the negative impact COVID-19 has had on the economy, the California Association of Realtors®1 hasn’t revised its current 2020 housing market forecast. The demand for housing in the state remains steady. This is good news for both buyers and sellers. Sellers are likely to get their asking price, or above asking price, for their homes. Buyers can take advantage of historically low mortgage loan interest rates to help make purchasing their dream homes more affordable.
While you can still book an in-person showing, expect to have a loan pre-approval in hand. Many realtors have advised sellers to limit showings to serious buyers who’ve already taken the virtual tour and have read the seller’s property disclosure statement.
Home appraisals and inspections can still be completed while following California’s social distancing requirements.
While about half of the states have authorized remote online notarizations that don’t require the notary and signer to be in the same physical location, California is not one of them. For the moment, a remote closing is not an option for home sales in California. However, mobile notary services1 are still available. This allows parties to notarize documents during California’s stay-at-home order.
Tips for Homebuyers
If you decide to continue your home search, be prepared to:
- Participate in 3-D virtual showings
- Schedule in-person showings in advance
- Wear a face covering, wash your hands with hand sanitizer and/or put on disposable gloves, and booties over your shoes before entering the home
- Adhere to viewing limitations, as some areas of the home may be marked off for safety
Tips for Sellers
If you decide to continue to keep your listing active, be prepared to:
- Limit viewing to a maximum of 10 people at a time and ensure visitors who are not in the same household maintain proper physical distance (or the current CDC guidelines)
- Offer hand sanitizer or protective gear, including disposable face coverings, gloves or booties to potential guests before they enter the home
- Try to limit the need for guests to touch items in the home, so turn on lights, keep doors open
- Post signs and provide soap to encourage hand washing upon entry and exit
- Wipe down high contact areas with disinfectant wipes after each showing
Buying or selling a home during COVID-19 requires patience and flexibility. A local real estate agent can provide additional guidance based on your specific situation.
Buying or Selling? Benefits of the Home Advantage Program
If you’re ready to get started on your homebuying journey, our Home Advantage program pairs you with an experienced SchoolsFirst FCU loan consultant and participating real estate agent who will guide you every step of the way; and you’ll enjoy valuable savings and benefits offered exclusively to program participants.
Members enrolled in Home Advantage receive a 20% rebate from the commission of the participating agent who represents them in their home purchase — or 25% rebates from the commissions when both a home sale and purchase are completed through a participating Home Advantage agent.2
1.When you click on external links, you are linking to alternate websites not operated by SchoolsFirst FCU, and SchoolsFirst FCU is not responsible for the content of the alternate websites. The fact that there is a link from SchoolsFirst FCU’s website to an alternate website does not constitute endorsement of any product, service, or organization. SchoolsFirst FCU does not represent either you or the website operator if you enter into a transaction. Privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by SchoolsFirst FCU, and you should review the alternate website’s policies.2. Rebate payment is made by First Team Real Estate or HomeSmart Evergreen Realty and is credited to your benefit at the close of transaction. Purchase price must be greater than $150,000 after all credit adjustments. All rebates are subject to limitations, lender guidelines, and other requirements. Certain properties may not be eligible for rebates. Rebate is 20% for purchase only of a residential property in California. Rebate is 25% for a residential property sale and purchase in California. In order to receive the 25% rebates, the home sale and purchase transactions must take place within six months of each other. Please consult a qualified tax professional for advice on tax implications from receiving a rebate. First Team Real Estate and HomeSmart Evergreen Realty are not affiliated with SchoolsFirst FCU.