As COVID 19 cases spike again in Pennsylvania, agents should prepare for another shutdown. You remember when you could buy alcohol and wedge yourself into a Home Depot full of people, but you couldn’t show a house? Some agents fared better than others during that time. What did they do differently?
Buy PPEs – face masks, hand sanitizer, shoe covers and gloves NOW.
On the listing side, get your listings pre-inspected. By far this was the biggest catalyst for moving a deal forward during the shutdown. Listings with inspections already in place allowed buyers to see a legitimate inspection report. Additionally, we typically shoot hundreds of pictures during home inspections. Armed with that level of detail the inspector can walk prospective buyers through the home virtually. (I have come to dislike the word, virtually).
Next, shoot extensive video. Nothing fancy that will be on the listing. Just walk through the house with your phone and talk it up just as if there were buyers with you. Do not avoid the imperfections. That will come back to haunt you later. You don’t need to “Zoom” (another four-letter word) in on the faded flooring, but you can mention and show it. Buyers almost never get upset about what you tell them … they lose it when they see it later and assume you were trying to hide it.
A couple of tips for your video: speak loudly; put your phone in airplane mode to keep from being interrupted; have all the lights on and doors open before you start; do not capture any people or sensitive information; watch the video before you leave to make sure it’s what you want.
On the buyer’s side, if we’re not shut down, get into a listing that you may have clients for ASAP and shoot the video, discussed above. If your clients can’t make it right away go anyway. This way if things shut down you have something to work with.
Find a home inspection company that has a waiver to operate. Spotlight Home Inspection had a waiver during the previous shutdown. It is unclear at this time if existing waivers will be continued, or if we will need to reapply. While we could not get clients into homes, we could at least get the inspections done in most cases. This allows buyers to assess the property better. Additionally, the inspector can virtually walk them through the inspection later. Certainly, none of this is ideal, but it works.
Understand the documents that PAR has regarding COVID 19 deals. PAR has a lot of great information. Here is a link to some related to COVID 19. https://www.parealtors.org/coronavirus/#Latest-Content
A note of caution: Having buyers settle on a house without actually going inside it is a BAD idea. Even with all the steps above, there were some really upset buyers after they bought the house and got in. My recommendation is to get them through as much as you can and wait for closing until they can go inside. PAR has agreement paperwork that allows this to occur.
Wishing you all a great Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for you!
Owner, Spotlight Home Inspection, LLC