In the last week or so, I have been getting the question: Can I still buy or sell a home during the COVID-19 pandemic and especially now that the State of Hawaii has issue a Stay At Home order? And the answer is yes.
Even during the current crisis, the City and County of Honolulu has determined that real estate is an essential service because they understand the predicament that people are in when comes to having to move. So while real estate transactions have been deemed essential we want to ensure that everyone is comfortable as either the buyer or the seller.
Some listings are owner occupied and that presents specific challenges. These listings require more communication and organization to make everyone safe. However, other homes are vacant and as a result are much easier to view. Regardless of status of the property, your primary focus should be on remaining safe throughout the process. To accomplish this we will practice social distancing and keep everything clean with wipes and hand sanitizer.
Some things that have changed are that there are no more open houses. Realtors will not be placing multiple people in a small space time. However, with some ingenuity and imagination; you can still have almost the same experience.
Virtual Tours. For years I have used virtual tours using my cell phone to take videos of homes for clients or walk them through a property with a live feed on an app such as Facebook Live or Facetime. During this tour I will walk through the house and show the client every aspect of the home. This process is just like being there and as a buyer you can direct me to go back and look at a specific room or feature until you are comfortable that you understand the home. These tours are very effective and I have had multiple clients buy homes simply using a virtual tour.
Private Showing. A private showing can be done safely but it does require some additional setup and a focus on safety throughout the tour. First, as a agent, I will go to the home and using wipes open all the doors, turn on lights and prepare the home so that you do not need to touch anything. If you do need to open something additional, we can use wipes to touch other surfaces. Additionally, throughout the tour we will be practicing social distancing at remain at least six feet apart.
Home inspectors are still inspecting homes. They are conducting the inspections by themselves and then conducting a video walkthrough with the prospective buyer at the conclusion of the inspection. And just like they have always done they will prepare a written report and send this to the client once they are complete with the inspection.
So if you need to buy or sell a home right now, remember that with planning it can be done safely even during the current COVID-19 crisis.
If you have any questions on the current process or any other real estate questions, please let me know.