Can You Still Close on a House During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

A Story by Jerry Newman | Updated 05/13/2020 4:22am


Chances are, you’re reading this post while at home, trying to understand the ins and outs of what you can do in regards to buying a home during quarantine. Thankfully, the internet provides us with the ability to still move forward with real estate, albeit much differently because most of us can’t or don't want to leave their homes. San Antonio has slowly begun to reopen, but health advisors still ask people to stay home and social distance as much as possible. 

As a home-hunter, it’s important to know your resources regarding closing on a house as well as any hiccups that might come up in the process. Here are some tips on ways to navigate closing during the pandemic.

Contact your Realtor

Every state has different guidelines regarding what’s essential, nonessential, and how people can go about their business. It’s important to contact your real estate agent to get better insight on what steps to close on a house during the Coronavirus pandemic are possible. San Antonio is slowly starting to reopen, but that doesn’t mean processes are going to continue like they did back in January. There will still be strict rules in place to help keep residents safe.

Understand the rules regarding inspections

Inspections are a major part of the home buying process. They help to ensure that a house is up to standard, and it isn’t in your best interest to move forward on purchasing a home without one. Inspections still need to be done in person, but should be done in a way that protects the homeowner. The seller should ask that the inspector wear protective gear and ask them if they’ve experienced any symptoms or have been exposed at all to the virus. A seller has the right to turn away an inspector, but as a buyer, you would be granted the option to back out of the contract without being penalized. 

Schedule an Alternative Appraisal

 

Another important step in the closing process is to have an appraisal of the house conducted. Luckily, appraisals have more leeway than inspections, and can either be done via video walkthroughs or  by research at the desk. Alternative appraisals have been gaining a lot of popularity in the past few weeks and are meant to be equally as accurate as in person appraisals. A hybrid of a video walkthrough and desk research is normally the preferred method, and can help the one conducting the appraisal make an accurate estimate on the home’s value.

Conduct pieces of the process remotely

Thankfully, some steps in the closing process are granted permission to be done remotely, depending on the state of course. Two important steps include notarization and title search, which are normally conducted in person. Call up your local notary or title company and ask them what options they have in place and how you can safely move forward with closing on the house. If you need to conduct the closing in person, some home buyer precautions include keeping a safe distance from others in the room, wearing masks and gloves, and limiting the number of people in the room during the signing. 

 


 

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