Since the Governor issued the 'Shelter-in-Place' order (about March 19th - but don't quote me here) believe it or not, the real estate market in Riverside has been pushing forward despite the various challenges we have had to adapt to in order to continue selling homes. Before we get started on how we are handling the current situation, let me first say - our primary focus has been the health and well being of not only our clients and ourselves, but those in our community who are considered more vulnerable and who would be easily compromised. We follow social distancing guidelines - first and foremost.
So how it works - Initially when we have a buyer who would like to see property, we first make sure they have spoken with a lender and have secured a lender commitment letter in order to purchase. In fact, this step is customarily common practice in any kind of market, but even more so today! Along with the lender commitment letter, we verify the source of funds for the buyers down payment and closing costs associated with the loan.
Second, once we have the range of properties the buyer is qualified for to buy, we send the MLS listings of the homes that are within this range for the buyer to narrow down the list. Most of these homes will have professional photographs and some sort of virtual tour included with the listing. So if the buyer likes what they see online, then we contact the agent representing the seller to hopefully schedule an appointment to view the property.
Lastly, we tour the home! All the while, following the guidelines set forth by the State to ensure the safety of both the buyer and the seller.
What are some of the guidelines you ask?
1. Both the buyer and the seller sign a Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD). A California Association of Realtors (CAR) document stating how to properly tour properties during the pandemic. It covers the potential risks of exposure, the ’Stay Home Orders’, and how real estate services were deemed essential under both Federal and State guidelines. By signing this form, the signer is declaring that they have not had any COVID-19 symptoms (or have been around anyone who has) in the last 14 days.
2. Only the buyer and the agent are allowed in the property during a showing. This means the kids, the parents of the buyers, the aunts, the uncles, etc. are staying in the car or even staying home. Even the seller is not allowed in the property while the buyer is viewing it.
3. The buyer and the agent should have on gloves, a mask, and protective shoe coverings when entering the home.
4. The buyer is instructed not to touch anything! No opening of the pantry or the closets...nothing is touched. If seeing inside of the pantry is a must, the agent is to ask the seller ahead of time to have these things open for the buyer to see. The front door knob and the back door knob is the only thing that should be touched during the showing.
Once the showing is completed, the seller returns to their home and it is up to them to wipe down/sanitize door handles, etc.
And there you have it! Touring property the safe way during the Coronavirus pandemic!