Even though the number of homes on the market has been restrained by coronavirus, demand for housing remains high.
While some homebuyers may be able to delay purchasing, others are on a tight schedule and have no choice but to move forward. Plus, they may want to lock in today’s low mortgage rates.
If that describes you, you may be wondering how you can safely tour homes during the coronavirus outbreak.
You basically have two options: a virtual guided tour or an in-person solo tour.
As CNBC explains, “A lot of potential buyers have been shopping online, using new virtual technology. Real estate agents have offered “live” showings, where they will walk around the house while the buyer watches and asks questions over a smartphone or tablet. Some agents have offered solo showings of empty homes, giving the buyer a code to open the lock box.”
The safest option is of course to take a virtual tour since that entails no risk at all in terms of exposing yourself to the virus.
The drawback of a virtual tour, however, is that you cannot inspect every aspect of the house in detail at your leisure. Also, you cannot entirely get a feel for what it is like to be inside a home simply by watching images on a screen.
So, it makes sense to schedule virtual tours of houses that you are interested in. But when it comes to narrowing down your options, you probably will want to tour in the house you are seriously considering purchasing in person.
Tips for Touring Homes Safely
Here are some tips for staying as safe as possible when touring homes:
- Go alone. As referenced by CNBC, you should opt for a solo showing of a home where you are given access with a lockbox code. If you tour the house with the agent or homeowners present, you expose yourself and them to unnecessary risk. There is no way to maintain proper social distancing in close quarters. Instead, you can communicate with the agent on your mobile device as you walk through the home, asking any questions you might have.
- Wear a mask. You should always wear a mask when you are touring a home for sale. In the case that you are asymptomatic but infected, with a mask, you are less likely to transmit the infection to the homeowners, other potential homebuyers, or anyone else who walks through home after you.
- Bring hand sanitizer with you. That way, if you come into contact with any surfaces (which is pretty much unavoidable, see below), you can immediately sanitize your hands.
- Avoid touching things. Aside from doorknobs and the lockbox code buttons, try and touch as little as you can as you tour the home. Be particularly mindful of metal surfaces, where the virus may live longer than on more porous substances.
- Wipe down surfaces in your car. When you are done touring the house, sanitize the handle to your car door, your steering wheel, and anything else you touch in your car (you should always be doing this when you go out).
- Wipe down your mobile device when you get home. Since you probably were using your smartphone to communicate with the agent while you were touring the house, be sure to sanitize it upon your return to your current residence.
- Follow standard hygiene protocols when you arrive home. When you get back indoors, immediately wash your hands, change out of your clothing, and follow your usual sterilizing routines.
Now you have some recommendations to help you stay safe when you are touring homes during COVID-19. Try and do most of your tours virtually if possible and follow the safety recommendations above if you need to check out a home in person.
Maureen Martin for a Purchase Home Loan
Need help finding a competitive mortgage to finance your home purchase? Please give me a call today at (619) 857-7191 to schedule a consultation. Let’s get you into your new home in San Diego.