Today’s everyday reality is pretty different than it looked just a few weeks ago. We’re learning how to do a lot of things in new ways, from how we work remotely to how we engage with our friends and neighbors. Almost everything right now is shifting to a virtual format. One of the big changes we’re adapting to is the revisions to the common real estate transaction, which all vary by state and locality. Technology, however, is making it possible for many of us to continue on the quest for homeownership, an essential need for all.

Here’s a look at some of the elements of the process that are changing (at least in the near-term), due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing, and what you may need to know about each one if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home sooner rather than later.

1. Virtual Consultations – Instead of heading into an office, you can meet with real estate and lending professionals through video chat. Whether it’s your first initial needs analysis as a buyer or your listing appointment as a seller, we can still get the process started remotely and create a plan together. Your trusted advisor is still on your side! We have been conducting video meetings through Zoom and phone consultations. Our Zoom meetings are password-protected to ensure confidentiality. 

2. Home Searches & Virtual Showings – According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Internet is one of the three most popular information sources buyers use when searching for homes. We can send you listing information and help you request a virtual showing when you’re ready to start looking. This means you can virtually walk through the homes on your wish list while keeping your family safe. As a seller, you can still have virtual open houses and virtual tours too, so as not to miss those buyers looking to find a home right now. We offer virtual tours on all our listings and on homes you may be interested in seeing even if this means we record a tour for you or do an online tour together. In our area, we are still doing in-person showings, following a strict protocol for the well-being safety of all involved. 

3. Document Signing – Although this is another area that varies by state, today more portions of the transaction are already being done digitally. In our area, your loan officer and title company can set up an account where you can upload all of the required documents and sign electronically right from your computer.

4. Sending Money – Whether you need to pay for an appraisal or submit closing costs, there are options available. Depending on the transaction and local regulations, you may be able to pay by credit card, and most banks will also allow you to wire funds from your account. Sometimes you can send a check by mail, and in some states, a mobile escrow agent will pick up a check from your home.

5. Closing Process – Again, depending on your area, a mobile notary may be able to bring the required documents to your home before the closing. If your state requires an attorney to be present, check with your legal counsel to see what options are available. Also, depending on the title company, some are allowing drive-thru closings, which is similar to doing a transaction at a bank window.

Although these virtual processes are starting to become more widely accepted, it does not mean that this is the way things are going to get done from now on. Under the current circumstances, however, technology is making it possible to continue much of the real estate transaction today.

Bottom Line

If you need to move today, technology can help make it happen; there are options available. Let’s touch base today to discuss your situation and our local regulations, so you don’t have to put your real estate plans on hold.  We are closely monitoring the situation and as it evolves, we will continue to update our policies to safeguard everyone. We understand that everyone’s situation is different. 

You probably have a lot of questions. A popular question I’ve been asked is How is the coronavirus affecting the real estate market so far?  Sales that were under contract are closing as scheduled. Homes that are priced competitively are selling quickly and buyers who are looking with protective measures and purchasing now are serious buyers. There is still a high demand for homes in the Washington DC Area. Please see the graphs for our are below this email.  Inventory is still low and we are still seeing multiple offers on homes in the best conditions, with the best prices and the best locations. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns regarding your property, the market, or the real estate industry or need anything. You can reach me directly by phone or text at 703-328-3434.