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Real Estate During Safer-at-Home: What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

Updated: May 28, 2020

While Colorado real estate paused in April, the start to the metro area's buying and selling season wasn't as bad as many in the industry initially feared. In fact, real estate activity is now active, picking up quickly, and seems to be playing catch-up. The weekly average for home showings is now approaching 2019 levels. Pent up buyer and seller demand is expected to keep our local selling season strong, lasting late into fall.


Brokers and industry partners have had time to build a framework in which buyers and sellers cooperate and transactions successfully make it to the closing table. Lenders and title companies have created "contact-less" procedures with customers getting services they need as safely as possible. Other than some minor scheduling and processing delays, for the most part real estate is running smoothly and normally, under a very new normal. Whether you are a buyer or seller, expect to see a few major changes in how real estate operates this summer:

  • Most home shopping is done virtually. Traditional Open Houses have been tabled for the foreseeable future. Overlapping appointments are not allowed.

  • To protect customers, documentation is shared electronically without paper. Don't expect to grab property flyers out of yard boxes, at least for a while.

  • All parties are asked to provide disclosures regarding their health status before giving or granting access to a property.

  • On site, social distancing is required with masks and gloves worn at all times, and groups are limited by size and to essential persons only.

  • Respecting the shortage of PPE available in the state, those who need to enter a property are asked to come prepared. This usually means bringing their own masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.

You can read all of Colorado's current Safer-at-Home Guidance for Real Estate on the state's Covid-19 Portal. Thinking about buying or selling this year? Hear a few tips and ideas to make your journey as smooth, safe, and rewarding as possible.

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INFORMATION AND TIPS FOR SELLERS


Great news! Virtual solutions like 3D tours and video walk-throughs are working and being well-accepted by serious buyers. The services are now in extremely high demand. Let your broker know your target date for showings as early as possible so your services can be scheduled in time for your preferred listing date.


While professional photography has always been critical to any listing's success, it's more important than ever today. Buyers are doing most of their shopping on-line before requesting a showing and can no longer "kick tires" at open houses. Get your home in its best shape before your photo shoot. Paint, clean windows, stage showcase areas like the kitchen and master bath, and get your yard looking beautiful. (Need a game plan to tackle the job? SchwingState has you covered!)


If you decide to allow in-person showings it's a good idea to arrange to be away if you can, after it has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared for public visitors of course. Turn on all lights, open doors and cabinets, and pull back window-treatments to minimize the number of surfaces visitors need to touch while they are inside.


If you are not comfortable allowing in-person showings, work with your agent to provide video tours and virtual showings instead. With the right media, some buyers are willing to write an offer to buy without ever entering the home!


Once under contract, expect that an inspector will need to enter your home to complete a report for the buyer. Most inspections take between two and four hours. In many cases, lenders can do appraisals using on-line information and drive-bys of the property without requiring an appraiser to enter your home.

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INFORMATION AND TIPS FOR BUYERS


While it is always the first smart step in the home buying process, under Safer-at-Home many Sellers will not approve an in-person showing without submitting a letter of pre-approval or proof of funds in advance. Without an approval in hand, it is likely your home search will have to stay on-line with virtual tours only.


Extremely Important โ€”