By Matt Clements
No doubt, we’re operating under new conditions, helping clients buy, sell, and rent property during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the common questions you’re getting from customers and prospects might be the same as always, while others might be unique to today’s world. In the spirit collaboration, here’s how I’m answering the questions I frequently receive.
Q. How have showings changed?
A. Showings are now done in 30-minute windows, and everyone wears a mask. Optional booties and gloves are left on site by the listing agent. When representing the buyers, we always ask the sellers or listing agent to turn all the lights on beforehand and completely vacate the premises along with all pets. We are asking parties to not touch anything during the showings. Afterward, I’ll leave the lights on and simply close and lock the door.
Q. What are some other new common procedures in real estate as a result of COVID-19?
A. It’s becoming more common for agents and brokers to ask for preapprovals prior to allowing a showing. In California, the Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD form) changed everything. It’s used for any visitor, such a prospective buyer, who is entering a property where a tenant or seller resides. It allows for a 24-hour notice and for a proper amount of time for each party to have a full 30-minute showing to experience the home. It has streamlined the process.
Q. Is the market really that hot right now?
A. Yes! It’s stupid HOT. Especially here in SoCal where we have crazy low inventory. Buyers are also getting the lowest mortgage rates ever dreamed of. It feels like January or February again, pre-COVID-19!
Q. (From buyers) Can we do the inspection and ask the sellers to provide money through escrow for any repairs rather than have contractors go through the home?
A. Yes, definitely, especially if it’s a good deal for both sides. Usually, sellers are not comfortable having multiple people in the home after the showings are done, and neither am I.
On the listing side, we recently had deals where our clients give a $5,000 credit and another gave a $2,000 credit to the buyers. Easy. But repairs are being done when the lender’s conditions require that repairs be performed prior to the closing, unless the lender will allow the buyer to satisfy those conditions with a credit and fix it later.
Q. (From buyers) Are there moving delays due to COVID-19? (From sellers) Can I stay in the home just a little longer for no charge?
A. The delays we have now in the pandemic are actually allowing for a smoother transition process, as everything is getting cleared out of a home without such a rush.
Sellers are typically given a free 10-day period to move out after closing, and they don’t always use all 10 days. I am also seeing more sellers who are happy to have the home professionally cleaning prior to handing over the keys, as opposed to sweeping up the floors themselves.
Matt Clements is the immediate past-president of the Orange County Association of REALTORS® and CEO of the Clements Group at The Agency in Beverly Hills, Calif. Matt is the author of the YPN Playbook and was chair of the California Association of REALTORS® in 2016 when the group won the YPN State Network of the Year. Matt is on the board of directors for C.A.R. and NAR, and previously sat on NAR’s YPN Advisory Board. Connect with Matt: text/call 949-842-8797 or at MattClements.com.