While everyone has been hunkered down in Anchorage in response to the Covid-19 virus, Alaska’s real estate industry has been busy. Identified as an “essential business,” the industry took a deep dive into the real estate process to determine what measures could be introduced to keep everyone safe.
First and foremost, it is encouraged to conduct as much business virtually as possible. This means avoiding face to face contact and using all available online resources.
To interview mortgage lenders and Realtors, consider a simple conference call or call them to request that they set up a Zoom call.
To show homes, Realtors are encouraged to provide as much visual media for each listing and interested buyers are encouraged to view all the resources available online to rule out as many homes as possible and narrow down the homes they’d like to see in person.
To sign documents, buyers and sellers are encouraged to go over the documents by phone with their Realtor and use Docusign, an electronic signing service.
While showing homes is more restrictive, it is not impossible, but buyers must be serious. Before Realtors can request a showing appointment for their clients or attend an open house, every buyer must agree to comply with the following:
Obtain a preapproval letter or a proof of funds letter from their bank or mortgage lender
Complete and sign health questionnaires and a Covid-19 consumer disclosure
Research all available photos, videos, and any additional documents available and drive by each property ahead of time
Prepare to wear PPE (masks and gloves) during each showing
Only two buyers plus a Realtor will be allowed in a home at a time, this includes open houses
Avoid opening doors or cabinetry and touching anything (i.e. sitting on furniture and using the restroom)
Once under contract, an offer has been accepted and signed, buyers and sellers can expect to encounter additional new measures as mortgage lenders, title insurance companies, inspectors, and appraisers also adopt to Covid-19. By example, depending on the buyer’s loan type and information available, drive-by appraisals may be allowable.
As everyone involved in the real estate industry is working hard to re-evaluate which procedures can be done electronically, buyers and sellers can expect lasting changes to the industry resulting in a more streamlined process. In the end, this should prove well for the consumer as you can spend more time focusing on your next move, while your real estate team handles the logistics of your transaction in the background.