The Online Dating Way to Meet Your Future…House?

There’s never been a weirder time to buy or sell a house.

But sell and buy, we are!

Let’s begin with buying. Think of it like online dating — a lot more work done in front of the computer than in front of the house itself. A little more scrolling, a little less strolling around houses for a personal look-see.

In addition, there will be more qualifying. Buyers who aren’t pre-approved for a mortgage will likely not have much luck actually seeing the insides of houses since showings are being curtailed and open houses eliminated entirely. If you’re a serious buyer, call a local mortgage guru and get approved before attempting this market. Think of this like you would a background search — just making sure you’re real and, well, reputable, right?

Most searches begin with the listing service search – it’s something your Realtor will set up for you, so that you’ll receive an email every time there is a property that fits your requirements and budget. This part isn’t new. Because there is so little on market currently, your Realtor may also network with partners to see what properties might be either coming soon, or available without being advertised. Either way, you’ll get details on each property and photos you can expand on your screen and study thoroughly.

Additionally, instead of making a showing appointment after seeing photos, you’ll carefully review a walk-through or 3-D tour provided online. One of the obvious lacks in our usual video offerings is the ability to understand the floor plan. The new tours actually tour the house for you. Look good? Great, let’s move on.

Next step: Background search. Your Realtor will provide data on zoning, land-use restrictions and CCRs so any deal-breakers associated with those issues can be eliminated before any physical tour is attempted.

Lastly, permission to stalk. Yes, stalk at will. Drive by the house, investigate the neighborhood, time the commute to work, the walking distance to schools or commercial areas. Knock yourself out. Just don’t actually knock on the door!

If everything comes up aces, we negotiate a date with your future house. This will be a no-hands date! No touching! We observe sanitation like a 1950s personal hygiene movie. Clean, freshly sanitized hands, shoe covers. Your buyer’s agent will open doors for you and sanitize his or her way back out, finishing with the front doorknob and lockbox.

Please do not bring children into the house unless you are able to carry them or they are old enough that the “keep your hands to yourself” adage can be reliably followed. So, most kids, that’s 10 and up. Other kids, it’s 26. You be the judge.

Done? Ok, return home and Rate Your Date!

Let’s imagine you make a deal with the seller. What about inspection? Inspection is negotiated so that as few people as possible are in the house. Ideally, this means the inspector via Zoom/Facetime, who will sanitize his or her way out of the house as the buyer’s agent did.

Sellers are facing significant changes in showing routines as well. It is still like preparing for a date that only your house actually attends, only with that 1950s personal hygiene twist.

It still needs to look good and smell good but it also must be Sanitized for the Buyer’s Protection. This assumes the buyer will be handsy even though he Should be on his best behavior. It’s never wrong to assume bad manners! So, sanitize doorknobs and countertops. Leave all interior doors ajar and all lights on so that there is little or no need for folks to use their hands.

Do not leave treats for buyers, either in the form of drink bottles or snacks. In normal times, it’s a nice touch. In a pandemic, it’s a germ-management debacle.

Most importantly, do not be the awkward third wheel on this date. Let your house flash its window sashes at the buyer in some privacy. Besides, maintaining the approved distance can be challenging.

When you arrive home, sanitize beginning at the front door knob as if the buyer’s agent didn’t just do it. Again, if you assume bad manners, you’ll never be disappointed!

If you are ill or immuno-compromised, you can bet that your agent will halt your home search/sale until the crisis is over! Don’t worry! We’ll find something great for you Soon!

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