Maybe the first question should be, should I buy a house during a pandemic? If you are in a high risk group, or are otherwise uncomfortable with some of the aspects of the process, waiting until things settle down a little might be the best course of action. But if you are not in a high risk category, home buying can be safer than going to the store for a gallon of milk!
Step 1 – Find an agent to represent you who is tech savvy enough and market knowledgeable enough to guide you through the process. This is NOT a time to be working with anyone who does not feel comfortable with doing things like virtual showings and teleconferencing. Just an fyi, our team does this a LOT 😉
Step 2 – Get pre-approved for your loan with a reputable local lender. In times of uncertainty, have a lender who is local that the listing agent can count on to do their part. 800 # lenders are not a good idea in our current environment.
Step 3 – Start looking at property with your agent online. While some of the public sites are helpful in other times, working interactively with your agent using the MLS system will give you the best information, and help narrow things down. Even in a tight inventory market, because we can’t do physical showings, the field needs to be even more focused.
Step 4 – Have your agent help you get as much information as possible on your finalists. This should be no more than 3 listings typically. Normally we would wait for some of this information until after a house is under contract, but at the moment, we want to learn as much as possible for the next step.
Step 5 – Have your agent write a contract on your top choice. This may sound premature, but during the COVID crisis, it is necessary before the next step. The contract you write will be contingent on you viewing the home within a day or 2 and finding it still suitable to proceed.
Step 6 – IF your contract is accepted, view the home asap. This is only legal right now if you have the house under contract. Many precautions will be taken with your viewing to ensure the safety of you, the seller, and the agent. At this time, you should be looking closely for any potential ‘deal killer’ issues. You will not be allowed to attend your inspection except virtually, so this is one of the most important steps. You will have the option to terminate the contract at this time if the house is not what you expected.
Step 7 – You have now entered the normal ‘due diligence’ period. You will probably not be able to view the property again until final walk through, but any additional research, the actual home inspection, appraisal, title review, etc will all take place at this time. Your earnest money will be deposited, and your loan application will be finalized.
Step 8 – Final walk throughs are still permitted in Colorado, to ensure the property is being transferred in good condition. These typically are done after the seller is out of the property, and before closing.
Step 9 – Closing Day has finally arrived! You receive your keys at closing, and normally this is a time when you meet the seller, sign all the documents, bring the balance due etc. During this time, some of the steps are being done electronically. Funds are wired, some of the documents are being signed electronically ahead of time, and buyers and sellers are NOT typically at the closing table at the same time right now. In person signatures are being done in parking garages and parking lots to keep distancing, and masks and gloves, single use pens, etc are all being used to minimize risk.
A lot of what we are doing has not changed so terribly much, so if you are in need of a new home due to a change in life situation, lease expiration, more rooms needed to work at home, etc, let’s get you on the way to your next home!
If you have any questions, please contact us!