We are living in uncertain times right now, and COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we live, work, socialize, make money, and spend money. We’ve been instructed to practice social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus. This has meant limiting the contact we have with friends and family, closing schools, pubs, and changing the way we shop for food. It has also changed the way we buy and sell property.
Buying and selling property is about communication and connection with other people, and social distancing has changed the way we do this. But it is still possible to build and diversify your portfolio while still following mandates and health guidelines to keep your family and your community safe.
Buying A Home While Social Distancing
Buying a home usually means touring many different properties, which means exposing yourself to different environments and potentially exposing yourself to the virus. There are a few ways you can tour and explore a potential new home and still keep yourself safe:
- Ask for a virtual tour. These days, we have the technology to create impressive 3D virtual tours that allow you to experience a walkthrough without leaving the comfort of your home. If you are working with an Agent, he/she can experience the virtual tour with you and answer any questions you have about the layout or details of the home in real-time
- Keep Proximity In Mind. In our pre-COVID-19 world, it was customary for investors, property agents, and buyers to discuss the sale in close quarters or even drive out to property tours together. Now, it is important that you drive your own car and maintain six feet of distance between you, the seller, the agent, and anyone else involved in the sale.
- Look, Don’t Touch. As you tour a potential home, don’t touch anything. You can walk through a property without touching things, and if you do have to touch something (such as a doorknob or light switch) make sure to wash your hands immediately. Bring hand sanitizer if you can, or wear gloves. Remember, wearing gloves only works if you replace them once you touch something to avoid cross-contamination.
Selling A Home While Social Distancing
As a seller, you want to make potential buyers feel as comfortable in your home as possible. This means taking extra precautions to sanitize surfaces and limit the number of people who are touring the property at one time. As a seller, you can create a social distancing friendly home your experience in a few ways:
- Open up the space. Keep as many doors open as possible so buyers don’t have to touch doorknobs to get into the home, from one room to the other, or to look into wardrobes.
- Focus on sanitation. Provide hand sanitizer by the front door, preferably the pump kind, so buyers can wash their hands upon exiting and entering the property.
- Stagger the showings. Open houses are a great marketing tool and can help you get your property in front of as many interested buyers as possible. But social distancing means that large groups can be dangerous. Stagger your showing times so that there aren’t more than 5-7 people in the home at once. This may mean hosting more frequent showings to accommodate smaller groups.
- Clean thoroughly. Whether you choose to be present during your showings or not, the first thing on your agenda when the buyers leave should be the cleaning and sanitization of all surfaces. Take the time to wipe down light switches, doorknobs, and other surfaces in high traffic areas.
You may not realize how much contact there is in buying and selling property until you are being intentional about being contact less. Other things you can do to stay safe and socially distant while selling and buying properties include:
- Move any meetings you would have with agents, contractors, or other professionals in-person to a virtual setting
- Implement ways to sign contracts online
- Arrange a way to transfer keys without meeting in person
We are living in uncertain times, but social distancing won’t last forever. However, while we’re spending more time at home and more time apart, we can find innovative and creative ways to buy and sell property while limiting our exposure and following safety guidelines.
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